I am not an artist, I am a bad sculptor. I have explored and reached the point where I can say that I am on art’s trail and that is enough for me.
(Ivan Kožarić, 1971)
Today I went to the HAUS DER KUNST, München, were I amongst other things visited a marvelous exhibition of the work by the Croatian sculptor Ivan Kožarić. This exhibition, covering more than fifty years of Kožarić’s complex oeuvre, represents the first in depth international examination of his artistic practice outside Croatia.
Ivan Kožarić, Glava djevojčice [Mädchenkopf], 1956 © Ivan Kožarić
Kožarić was one of the founding members of the Gorgona Group, active in Zagreb between 1959 and 1966. This informal group of avant-garde artists and art historians developed ephemeral works of “anti-art,” in which attitude takes precedence over form. I guess the notion of “attitude” could be compared to the Duchamp’ian “idea”, even if attitude seems like a more fluid concept.
in 1971 Kožarić suddenly decided to paint everything he had made, including his own studio, golden. In this way he tried to show that everything could be made into art, and also; that the value of art always could – and should – be called into question.
IVAN KOŽARIĆ, Shape of Space and other sculptures, 1962–1987 © IVAN KOŽARIĆ
Gold is an exclusive material, but more often than not Kožarić uses materials that are easily accessible or found material, like in this little sculpture:
IVAN KOŽARIĆ: Privremene skulpture, 2005, © Ivan Kožarić
Kožarić work is well worth studying, especially for one interested in the origins and role of conceptual art.
Ivan Kožarić (born 10 June 1921 in Petrinja) is a Croatian artist who works primarily with sculpture but also works in a wide variety of media, including: permanent and temporary sculptures, assemblages, proclamations, photographs, paintings and installations. He lives and works in Zagreb, Croatia.
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You have no idea how happy your last two posts have made me! I am in the middle of writing a series of fictional dialogues with artists, including Duchamp. Both grandparents on my mother’s side were Croatian, and my mother still speaks the language with her many siblings who still live in Germany. For me, it’s a pleasure to learn about any Croatian artist, but one with roots in conceptual art is fabulous!
I guess me not knowing about Kožarić is a typical example of how little we in the West know about the East – . I’m very happy to have gotten to know his work!
There is a publication following the exhibition:
Ivan Kožarić. Freedom Is a Rare Bird