Goran Trbuljak

Goran Trbuljak, a conceptual artist, photographer and cinematographer, embarked upon his career in the late 1960s. He was interested in the idea that anyone can be an artist, in the notions of authorship and an artist’s anonymity, in originality, and in the context of art—especially the mechanism of the gallery, which defines an artwork’s specific status. Four posters, respectively entitled I do not wish to show anything new and original (Student Center Gallery, Zagreb, 1971), The fact that someone has a chance to make an exhibition is more important than that what will be exhibited at that exhibition (Gallery of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, 1973), With this exhibition I show the continuity of my work (Studio of the Gallery of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, 1979), and Retrospective (Salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, 1981), serve to represent Trbuljak’s four solo exhibitions (which featured posters and nothing else) and provide what is probably the clearest indication of his artistic strategy during the 1970s. He studied the artistic context in order to demystify the “institutions of art” and act subversively within the system of culture. His works have taken various forms: visiting cards he left to art gallery owners, questionnaires that had to be filled in, and even a referendum (in Zagreb, 1972) in which the people in the street had to decide whether Trbuljak was an artist or not. In this respect, humor and self-irony played an important role. In 1974, he commenced his work as a painter with the humorous action of painting on the display window of a shop selling art supplies. This event of Sunday Painting triggered the creation of a series of objects—a box in which he placed canvasses that he then protected with glass, making numerous interventions and using various materials. With his witty analysis of the conceptual taboo – the painting – Trbuljak raises the pertinent issues via the medium of painting, which in turn blatantly and ironically reveals its endurance. Trbuljak was the first artist in Croatia to raise the issues of what it means to exhibit and of the artist’s status within the gallery system, and he had an important impact on the generation of post-conceptual artists that appeared in the mid-1970s. In Trbuljak’s art, each new step is always an ethical question.



1948, Varaždin / HR, at that time Jugoslavija

Please follow this link for a selected bibliography available at the ERSTE Foundation Library
Courtesy KwieKulik Archive (Zofia Kulik and Goran Trbuljak, 1974)
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