Petar Dabac’ Archive TD Gallery

23. 11. – 11. 12. 2020.



Foto: Bojan Mrđenović


For cultural practitioners, embarking on the “adventure” of running a private gallery sometimes seems like the only option in order to be able to operate within their community. In other times, it is the result of a synergy between their environment, a particular moment in time, opportunity and the cultural climate in the society. Perhaps it was an amalgam of conditions between these two poles, a unique set of circumstances existing in Zagreb in the early 1980s, that led Petar Dabac, together with a group of collaborators to launch a photography gallery. Many years later, he will write: “In early 1980, a group of artists came together at the Tošo Dabac Archive in Ilica 17, with the aim of setting up a photography gallery, the Archive TD, in one part of the space. The group consisted of photographer Petar Dabac, writer and editor at the Graphic Institute of Croatia Albert Goldstein, painter and visual artist Ivan Picelj – who came up with the name Archive TD, editor and publisher Nenad Popović, photographer Slobodan Tadić and another photographer Mladen Tudor.”
In a narrow corridor in Ilica, the Zagreb audience had a chance to see almost 50 exhibitions by domestic and foreign authors of different generations, from the regularly organized ones by Tošo and Petar Dabac, to exhibitions of, say, Josip Klarica and Mladen Tudor, to exhibitions of foreign guest such as Chris Bell and Manfred Willmann. Today, at a time when the gallery is just one of the cultural spaces that have been almost forgotten, we come back to it once more. Through the exhibition organized in another private space dedicated to photography, we raise the question of what it takes for culture and the arts to develop in a particular community, how many cultural spaces we have lost, and why it is so important to remember the ones we have lost, treasure the ones we have and conquer new ones.

The exhibition featured a portion of the rich documentation related to the gallery’s activities, numerous photographs taken at various exhibition openings, along with a series of curatorial and other texts that accompanied the exhibitions, as well as works by some of the authors who exhibited at the gallery, such as Manfred Willmann, Miro Švolík, Josip Klarica and others.

Petar Dabac (Zagreb, 1942) is one of the most important Croatian photographers. His involvement with photography began in 1960, in the atelier of his uncle Tošo Dabac. His work, spanning a period of over half a century, reveals him to be a versatile artist, endowed with endless curiosity and love of photography. He is important not only as an artist, but as a cultural worker as well. After Tošo Dabac’ death, he took over and care about the atelier and his vast photographic archive. He is one of the founders and a member of the editorial board of the specialised photography magazine SPOT (1972-78). From 1990 until his retirement, he taught photography at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana. He has exhibited in numerous group and solo exhibitions in Croatia and abroad and has received a great number of awards for his work.

Photography gallery Archive TD was founded in 1980. It operated in the Ilica Street space until 1998. During that period, it featured 48 photographic exhibitions of domestic and foreign authors.

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