GT: Monogram, monograph, monochrome, monologue…
Born in Croatia in 1948, towards the end of the 1960s Trbuljak was already active in the avant-garde movement known as New Art Practice. One of the most interesting Conceptual artists, Trbuljak was immediately convinced that research based on traditional stylistic conventions would be fruitless. In 1971, at the Student Centre Gallery of Zagreb, he showed a poster with the message “I don’t want to present anything new and original.” Trbuljak does not formulate paradigms, and does not present his work as a new formal alternative. He simply – and brilliantly – puts the accent on the dilemma of the artist, who in the same moment accepts and rejects all the characteristic aspects of any work he might produce. In the 1970s and 1980s, in the context of an art scene of profound changes, Trbuljak embodied the figure of the artist in crisis, skeptical, conscious, disillusioned, “an artist more for what he does not do than for what he does.”
His work is also a profound reflection on the art system and the dynamics involved in the attribution to an object of the status of an artwork. The questions around which his over forty years of research gravitate involve the factors that make a certain activity or a certain attitude classifiable as art. And who is the artist? In a performance in 1972 Trbuljak distributed a sheet of paper bearing a question to passers-by: “An artist is an artist when he is granted the possibility of being one. Is Goran Trbuljak an artist, or not?” One year later, having obtained the chance to hold an exhibition of his works at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Zagreb, Trbuljak stated “the fact that someone has a chance to make an exhibition is more important that what is shown in that exhibition.”
Simultaneously ironic and profound, Trbuljak challenges the principles of Modernism, the cult of the auteur, the notion of originality, and the channels of the art system like galleries, exhibitions and monographs.
The exhibition has been organized with Galerija Gregor Podnar, Berlin. For this occasion, Goran Trbuljak has produced the artist’s book White monograph/Monografia bianca, available at the gallery.
Goran Trbuljak, 150 hand-made monographs, 2010-2013, variable dimensions, detail
Goran Trbuljak, Malerwochen, 1972-1973, series of 6 b-w photographs, cm.30,3x50,6 each, ed.of 2
Goran Trbuljak, Self portrait , 2001, 4 b/w photographs, cm.30,5x24 each, ed.of 3
Goran Trbuljak, Self portrait , 1996, b/w photograph, cm.46,5x58, Ed.of 3+2AP