Announcing the opening of an exhibition at the SPOT Gallery: Goran Trbuljak, Sketches for a Sculpture


Office for Photography announces the opening of a new exhibition at the SPOT Gallery:

Sketches for a Sculpture * (stone, marble, iron), 1993 –2015


21.10. – 16. 11. 2015.

The exhibition opening and the interview with the artist
Wednesday, 21 October 2015, at7 p.m.




Ten Questions on Photography

A few years ago, I read your interview in one of your catalogues where you discuss about drawing on photographs.
You have now changed that story about drawing on photographs with claiming that these works are actually sketches for a sculpture, why have you done it?

You’re right, and at the same time, you’re wrong. I spent years drawing on photographs when it was forbidden on the basis of hygienic reason, for preserving the purity of the medium, or however it was called.
And then, with the emergence of digital photography, the purity of the medium was forgotten, and now everybody is drawing on photographs by making additions, retouches, cut-outs, and that is something which became completely normal. Drawing and painting on photographs is no longer surprising, and a lot of people can’t even tell that the photos have been changed in anyway, so I began to wonder if you could create a sculpture through photography. In that same catalogue you’re referring to, I already mentioned that idea.

 So, are these photographsof yours even photographs?

I don’t believe they are. They are sketches for a sculpture. All the photographsmade by all photographers throughout history are indeed some kind of a sketch for a sculpture.
The photographs turn something which has three dimensions into something which has two. They find shadows and light particularly important and delightful and they sculpt that which delights them.
All the other photographers are doing the opposite of what I do. They make photos of three-dimensional objects, something that is plastic, sculptural in nature – faces, houses, trees (i.e. sculptures) – and through their photography, they change them into the “sketches” of what these objects actually look like.
I’m interested in the reverse process – to create a three-dimensional object from a two-dimensional sketch. I would like to create a sculpture on the basis of that sketch.

Does that mean that, for example, a 3D printer would presentfor you an ideal solution for creating a sculpture?

No, but a 3D printer could perhaps help photography in general, i.e. photographers, to give back to three-dimensional objects what photography has taken from them throughout history. Everything which these printers produce through photopolymerization or some other technique, are actually 3D “photographs,” i.e. copies of a real object, just in a 3D format. Photography has been previously described as a copy of real objects, and now, we have the same thing with 3D printers.

Why do a lot of your photographs come in pairs or in sequences of four photographs? Are they group-sculptures or are you telling a story in sequences?

Sure, you could say these are group sculptures. Some things are grouped on the basis of their formal similaritiesrather than their content.And sometimes, I get so absorbed by individual objects that I shoot them several times in different ways. ConsideringI rarely throw anything away, because negatives are expensive, I wish I could exhibit even the completely black photographs or spoiled negatives.

Are you familiar with Walker Evans’ photography– his photographs of objects and various tools? With William Wegman’s photographs of a dog he obsessively recorded? Or with the Fischli & Weiss’photography? Man Ray’s?

I’m not.

Towards which style in photography are you most inclined?
In that same catalogue, you said that your photographs look surreal.
Do you still hold that belief?

Yes, it seems that I’m still most inclined toward surrealism. It is the photographic style closest to my own. Everything, or almost everything, looks cheerfully surreal to me.

Are you one of those who were influenced by the photography of Polet?

Yes, absolutely.

In what way?

These photographers taught me that every photograph can be used – even the ones which were not well exposed, poor in technical quality etc. That is also what I do; I never throw away anything.

Is that all?

Yes. It was the age of punk in everything – from music to politics, even photography.
Furthermore, they were ahead of their time. After having completed their assignments – concerts, interviews and the like – they brought their photographs – still wet and recently shot– straight to the printers, almost as though they were polaroids. Many of them didn’t even use a camera before, but they weren’t stressed about it. Everybody is doing it today. You don’t need to be educated to use your camera phone. We are all users of such instant photography. It is their legacy. However, they weren’t at all interested in the aesthetics, while cell phones are programmed to record everything as nicely as possible.

 What about the black border around your photographs?

Well, Hokusai invented it long before they did. On the example of my graphics, especially on the “margins” – in small format booklets – it is obvious how this black border helps to frame the drawing and prevent it from “losing”itself within the whiteness of the page.

I have a distinct feeling that your view on photography is a bit twisted or are you deliberately talking to me in that way?

I’m actually really trying to be serious. Every answer that I’ve given to you is well thought-through.


The interview with Goran Trbuljak was not signed on the author’s request.


* gelatin silver print on baryte paper,enlarged by hand, 40 x 30 cm, 18#, edition 1/2


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