• Everything we see could also be otherwise (My sweet little lamb)
    20 September – 11 November 2017

    The Showroom (63 Penfold St, Marylebone, London NW8 8PQ, UK) Curated by: What, How & for Whom/WHW, in collaboration with Kathrin Rhomberg, co-curated by Emily Pethick Preview: Tuesday 19 September, 6.30–8.30pm Exhibition opening hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 12–6pm The Showroom presents the epilogue of a long-term project which took place over several months in Zagreb (November 2016 to May 2017), which contextualised and rethought the Kontakt Art Collection. It was curated by What, How & for Whom/WHW in collaboration with Kathrin Rhomberg. This final exhibition is co-curated by The Showroom Director Emily Pethick. Taking selected works from the Vienna-based Kontakt Art Collection as its point of departure, including seminal pieces by some of the most prominent artists from Central, Eastern and South-East Europe since the 1960s, the exhibition stages an interplay between these and other historical, contemporary and newly produced works that interpret and critically examine the collection. The project unfolded in six episodes in Zagreb, each iteration influencing, contradicting and reinforcing each other. It took place in a number of smaller art spaces, artists' studios, private apartments and other locations related to artistic production and the broader cultural landscape of the city. This final stage of the project at The Showroom continues to reframe and expand the context of the collection. Interlacing geographically and poetically heterogeneous artist practices, the project attempts to punctuate standardized presentations and interpretations of works that have dominated international art circuits over the last few decades, with more disorderly and experimental arrangements. The project title is taken from a work by Croatian artist Mladen Stilinović (1947–2016), to whom the project is dedicated. Stilinović's life-long anti-systemic approach, his quiet but shrewd rebellion against social conventions and the conventions of art, and an artistic practice that trenchantly and humorously engages with complex themes of ideology, work, money, pain and poverty, inspired a generation of artists worldwide. The project is a cooperation with Kontakt Art Collection and is supported by Erste Group Bank AG and ERSTE Foundation.


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Dimitrije Bašičević Mangelos

Dimitrije Bašičević was an art historian, critic and curator at various Zagreb galleries. At the same time, though less famously, he was also an artist who worked under the pseudonym Mangelos (after a village near his birthplace of Šid). His oeuvre, according to later periodizations by Mangelos, starts in the postwar period with a number of work groups: “Paysages de la mort”, “Paysages de la guerre”, “Paysages”, and “Tabula Rasa” (black and white monochrome surfaces with text written underneath), which he used to express a state of oblivion and the setting for a new beginning. Taking up positions embodied by the “anti-art” of the Gorgona Group, Mangelos denied painting in the series “Pythagoras”, “Anti-peinture” and “Abecede”—accentuating the rational as the compositional factor in art. He later wrote ideas, poetry (No-stories) and manifestos in black, red and white color, in calligraphy between drawn lines, in a hybrid form of writing and painting in notebooks, on wooden boards and on globes. During the ’seventies, Dimitrije Bašičević the curator followed conceptual and media art, especially photography, but Mangelos the artist was inclined more toward defining terms and conceptualizing ideas. Simultaneously supported by a younger generation of artists, he tended to show his work in alternative, artist-run exhibition spaces. Just as before, Mangelos was in dialog—or rather in dispute—with everything he was studying, and his spectrum was broad, running from philosophy and art to psychoanalysis, to biology… Texts represented a specific form in which to express highly subjective stances dominated by the theory of the “machine civilization” and “functional thought,” with which he affirmed his ideas about society’s development and art’s non-development, i.e. about the crisis and death of art, explaining this in light of the rift between two civilizations: the “handmade” and the “machine,” the former being based on “old, naïve and metaphoric” and the latter on “functional” thought. Humor and irony were always present—in exhibiting ideas, in the discrepancy between a pretentious message and a banal sentence, in scorning authority, and in mixing various foreign languages (particularly German, French and English). Aware that such writing did not reflect the precision of the functional thought they were advocating, his manifestos became increasingly succinct (especially those written on globes). He wished to reduce information to the shortest possible form, to a clear and precise thought—a “super-Wittgenstein” thought, as he himself put it.

Chronologically, Mangelos’s work coincided with the feeling of the absurd in existentialist nihilism, the independent intellectual spirit of Gorgona, the overstepping of medium-entailed framework as practiced by Fluxus, and conceptualism in the use of language and philosophic deliberation. But taken as a whole, his oeuvre was quite authentic and created a specific realm of freedom that Mangelos conquered for himself and called NO-ART.



Born in Sid, Croatia, 1921. Died in Zagreb, Croatia, 1987

Mangelos studied Art History and Philosophy in Vienna (Austria) and Zagreb (Croatia), where he graduated in 1949. Between 1959 and 1966 he was active in Gorgona, an informal artistic group named after one of his poems. Other members of the group were artists Marijan Jevšovar, Julije Knifer, Duro Seder, Ivan Kožarić and Josip Vaništa, the architect Miljenko Horvat and the art historians Matko Meštrović and Radosav Putar. Mangelos himself worked as artist, art historian, art critic, poet, and curator. His oeuvre is an extraordinary combination of writing and painting.

Solo Exhibitions (selected):

2012     “Mangelos: Pythagoras”, Peter Freeman, Inc., New York City, USA       

2005     “Mangelos: Les lettres et les mots”, Peter Freeman, Inc., New York City, USA

2004     “Mangelos”, Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona, Spain

2003     “mangelos nos. 1-91/2”, Neue Galerie Graz; Künstlerhaus Graz, Graz, Austria

Group Exhibitions (selected):

2012     “Museum of Affects”, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, Slovenia

2011     “Museum of Parallel Narratives. In the framework of L’Internationale”, MACBA Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Spain

2010     “Les Promesses du passé”, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

2009     “All That Is Solid Melts Into Air”, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerpen, Belgium

2008     transmediale.08, Transmediale Berlin, Berlin, Germany

2007     “Eye on Europe”, Museum of Modern Art, New York City, USA

2006     “Living Art on the Edge of Europe”, Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, the Netherlands

2005     “Open Systems”, Tate Modern, London, UK

2004     “Arteast 2000+”, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, Slovenia

2003     “In den Schluchten des Balkan“, Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany

2002     “In search of Balkania” Neue Galerie Graz, Graz, Austria

This bibliography provides a list of books available in the
ERSTE Foundation Library

Books/Exhibition Catalogues


Sudac, Marinko, ed. 2011. Podrucǰe zastoja = Standstill: kolekcija Marinko Sudac = Marinko Sudac collection. Zagreb: Avangarde Research Institute.


Mangelos nos. 1 - 9 ½. 2003. Texts by Laura Hoptman et al. Porto: Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves.

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