ANTONIO LAUER TOMISLAV GOTOVAC, Zameo ih vjetar / Prohujalo sa vihorom / V vrtincu / Gone With the Wind

Cleaning of public spaces, performance, Zagreb, 1981, photo: Ivan Posavec

24 September - 25 October 2009
Mala galerija, Slovenska cesta 35, Ljubljana

Curated by Bojana Piškur
Text by Stevan Vuković

Tomislav Gotovac was born in Sombor, Vojvodina, in 1937. From 1955 to 1956, he studied at the Faculty of Architecture in Zagreb. In 1967, he enrolled in the film-directing programme at the Academy of Performing Arts in Belgrade, but in 1972, he came under political fire for his participation in Lazar Stojanović's film Plastic Jesus and so was not allowed to graduate until 1976. Gotovac began his "anarcho-film" career in the early sixties with a series of photographs, performances, actions and experimental structuralist films such as the trilogy Straight Line (Stevens-Duke), Circle (Yutkevich-Count), Blue Rider (Godard-Art). He did his first performance piece in Mostar in 1954, his first photographic series in Zagreb in 1962 (Showing Elle, which is part of the 2000+ Arteast Collection of the Moderna galerija), and his first amateur film, Death, at the Cine Club Zagreb, also in 1962.

Gotovac is viewed as an artist whose innovations had a major influence on later generations of visual artists and filmmakers. He has shown his work at numerous exhibitions both at home and abroad, including as a performance artist and the author of "happenings"; his films, too, have been screened at many film festivals (e.g. the Genre Film Festival in Zagreb, 1963-1970, and the Third Avant-Garde Film Festival in London, 1979), and has also featured in many anthology film programmes (e.g. "The Other Side: European Avant-Garde Cinema 1960-1980", at the American Federation of Arts, New York, 1983; and "Avant-Garde Films and Videos from Central Europe", at the Festival of Central European Culture in London, 1998). Tomislav Gotovac is an artist whose multifaceted works combine visual art practices with avant-garde, experimental, acted and documentary film, performance art, body art and conceptual art. With the exception of an eight-year hiatus in his thirties (from 1967 to 1975), he has lived in Zagreb since he was a child. In 2005, he changed his name to Antonio Lauer.

The title of his exhibition in Mala galerija refers to the film Gone With the Wind, not conceptually but as an idea, which has been present in his oeuvre since the beginning of his career.

Stevan Vuković wrote in a catalogue text:
"At the age of nine he started making a reference system centred on film spectatorship. He and a friend, who in 1946 was already ten, were not only obsessed with watching movies but also became involved in collecting data about films and filmmakers, as well as samples of material culture related to the world of cinema. This is something he has never stopped doing. The only thing that changed was the way he used the collected materials. This became much more diversified. The samples from the material culture he might paste together, in collages or assemblages, or he might install them as an exhibition display, pack them up and store them away, or make a performance out of collecting them. He used the collected data to reference the various activities he became involved with, which were later coded as artistic. So whatever he did became an homage to a certain movie, film director or group of directors; because he refused to believe there was any difference between art and life, he even coded his job as a bank clerk as a form of art, calling it Employment Action."

At the exhibition in Mala galerija, Gotovac Lauer will present, among the films and his performance also ready-made objects: the remains of the performance Cleaning Public Spaces, which he did on Cvjetni Trg, a major public square in the centre of Zagreb, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on 28 May 1981 and which include a pile of fallen leaves, empty cigarette boxes, cigarette butts, scraps of paper and a lot of other nondescript matter such as one might have found back then on any street in town. In the same show, next to this installation, there will be a set of plastic garbage bags filled with Zagreb newspapers from the period 1981-1989: Vjesnik, Večernji list, Polet and Studentski list. This work is entitled Homage to Christo.

Vuković writes: "Just as the lens of the camera freezes time as it focuses on small mundane objects, passers-by and local figures everyone knows, these installations also preserved the material culture of everyday life as a fragment of a particular time, place and social environment. If for Tomislav everything is a movie from which he can "sample" whatever he likes and make it into installations, then why not sample garbage from the street, especially if he himself happens to be in the frame, performing in his own script as a street cleaner? Or why just cut things out of magazines and newspapers to make collages when the complete magazines and newspapers can be readymade collages and exhibited as such, preserved in garbage bags?"

Related events:

The performance and the opening of the exhibition on Thursday, 24 September at 8 p.m. at the Mala galerija.

The project has been supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia.

Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday 10.00 - 15.30 & 16.00 - 18.00. Free admission.

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