Exhibition of the Croatian Conceptual Artists in the Arton Foundation, Warsaw
In association with the Arton Foundation, the Office for Photography will on 20th April 2020 present, under the title Phony Smile. Language of Photographic Interpretation and Aesthetic Speculation, the neo-avant-garde art practice of the second half of the 20th century in Croatia. The exhibition will be held in the exhibition space of the Foundation in Warsaw. This collaboration started in 2016 during an international research project Forgotten Heritage – European Avant-garde Art Online, financed by Creative Europe.
The exhibition will present the work of Edita Schubert, Petar Dabac, Željko Jerman, Vlado Martek and Željko Borčić, directed at a radical examination of photography which mostly happened in a national context in the 1970s. That is precisely when the ontological questioning of the meaning of photography started, a time when the practices which examine the medium through an analytical approach appeared, as well as those which deal with the transformation from a two-dimensional surface into a photographic object. It seems that almost all existing Croatian photography was being questioned. And while during the 60s media research in Croatia was sporadic, that decade still served as a kind of platform for what happened in the 1970s (M. Susovski). In New Art Practice, which changed the art paradigm of the time from the ground up, photography is thought of outside of the limitations of its historic role of reproducing reality. By bringing in a series of innovations to the understanding of this medium, both in a formal, content and meaning sense, individual authors inaugurate a special speculative-poetic system into photography. In such a “widened” field, photography becomes a polygon for the redefinition of the very nature of art and artistic work.
There are numerous parallels between the domestic and Polish artists who were active at that time – researching, experimenting, examining the nature of the photographic a film medium – which testify to the existence of a certain Zeitgeist, present throughout Europe, as well as to the mutual influences, the exchange of ideas, knowledge and information.
The organization of this exhibition will contribute to developing transparency and knowledge about Croatian art production of the aforementioned period, as well as to the intensifying, updating and stimulating the continuity of information exchange with the public, curators, artists, theoreticians, researchers etc. The curator team consists of Sandra Križić Roban, Lana Lovrenčić and Jelena Pašić.
The exhibition space is in the historic centre of Warsaw, the famous Foksal street which has an important place in the cultural-historical context of contemporary Polish art. Arton itself is one of the most important foundations in the area of Poland which continually explores contemporary local and international art practice, especially conceptual and new-media art; it has great connections with leading Polish museums and galleries, but also with a series of private archives of artist themselves or their heirs, with which it achieves significant results in both exhibitions and publications. Apart from curating and publishing, Marika Kuźmicz is a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, with numerous international collaborations to her name.
Through this exhibition the Office for Photography will contribute to the programme marking Croatian Presidency of the Council of the EU. The exhibition is financed by Ministry of the Culture of the Republic of Croatia and it will be open until the 28th of May 2020.
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