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Gorgona – Digitizing Ideas

Gorgona Group was active in the period from 1959-1966. Its initiator was artist Josip Vaništa, while other members included painters Julije Knifer, Đuro Seder, and Marijan Jevšovar, sculptor Ivan Kožarić, architect Miljenko Horvat, and art theoreticians Marko Meštrović, Radoslav Putar, and Dimitrije Bašičević Mangelos.

The group’s artistic activity was closely related to a craftsman’s shop in Preradovićeva Street in the centre of Zagreb, which under the name of “Šira” functioned as a workshop for framing pictures, but at the same time served as an exhibition venue called “Salon G”, which exhibited not only Gorgona’s artworks, but also those of other artists, mostly participants of New Tendencies, such as Pietro Dorazi or François Morellet. Gorgona was associated with intimism and hermeticism, anticipating conceptual art and redefining the borders of painting and sculpture. Its members emphasized their detachment from the traditional idea of art by using the prefix anti-, creating anti-paintings and anti-sculptures which were, in terms of both form and content, contrary to the academic idea of what an artwork should be. Under the influence of existentialist philosophy and nihilism, they cultivated the notions of paradox and absurdity, focusing on the process of creating rather than the end result. With his conceptual reflections on the nature of artwork, his exhibitions of descriptions of paintings instead of the paintings themselves, his artistic actions consisting of leaving a painting in the forest, and his processual work, Josip Vaništa had a great impact on Gorgona as a whole, for which reason it has become known as a proto-conceptual art group. Their importance was recognized ten years later, at the pinnacle of conceptual art, after a major retrospective organized by Nena Dimitrijević in 1977 at the Gallery of Contemporary Art. Besides anti-paintings and anti-sculptures, Gorgona also published eleven issues of their anti-magazine, artworks in the form of newspaper that the group members edited with the help of invited external authors and editors such as Dieter Rot or Victor Vasarely.


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