Gorgona’s “Please Attend”
by MARA TRAUMANE
January 18–March 2, 2013
The current exhibition at ŻAK | BRANICKA introduces visitors to one of the most elusive and imaginative phenomena of the Eastern European neo-avant-garde: the creative quests of the Croatian artist group Gorgona. The show is indicative, indeed, of a new stage of recognition of regional avant-gardes from the 1960s–1970s, with exhibitions of Romanian artists Geta Brătescu and Paul Neagu (at Galerie Barbara Weiss) and Ion Grigorescu (at Galerija Gregor Podnar) to be seen in Berlin recently, posing questions, likewise, about productive ways of reconciling radical artistic gestures that were almost always conceived in disregard of the art market. In this respect, the exhibition “Please Attend” is an interesting case study.
Active between 1959 and 1966 in the former Yugoslavia, specifically Zagreb, Gorgona was made up of a group of loosely associated artists: Marijan Jevšovar, Julije Knifer, Đuro Seder, Josip Vaništa, and Ivan Kožarić; an architect, Miljenko Horvat; and art critics Dimitrije Bašičević (aka Mangelos), Matko Meštrović, and Radoslav Putar. Following the wave of contemporary formal and perceptual explorations of proto-conceptualists such as John Cage and Yves Klein, Gorgona’s invigorating creative search was injected with a good dose of tongue-in-cheek humor stemming from Dada and Surrealism. In fact, Gorgona anticipated some aspects of conceptual art that were later developed by artists internationally. (More …)