organizers: Institute for the Research of the Avant-Garde, Poreč Open University, Marinko Sudac Collection
curator: Ivana Janković, Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb
Živko Grozdanić Gera (Vršac, 1957) is one of the key Serbian radical art artists. He finished the Sarajevo Art Academy in 1983. Alongside his continuation of solo artistic career, in 1991, Grozdanić started and participated in the publishing of the Košava magazine, a magazine for visual art ArtKontext, programmes of the Centre for Visual Culture Konkordija, and the public especially remembers him as a director and founder of the Youth Biennial, an international event which left a permanent trace in Serbian contemporary art life in Serbia, and it was organised from 1994 to 2005.
In the Konkordija Gallery, over 800 artists exhibited as part of the I., II., III., IV., V. and VI. edition of the Youth Biennial. Some of the artists and curators who partook in programmes of the Konkordija Gallery are Achille Bonito Oliva, Rene Block, László Beke, Richard Rorty, Katalin Keserü... As well as many historians and art theorists from Europe and America. Some of the projects he organised include: „Sintakse smrti“ (1997), „Rumunjska suvremena umjetnost“ (1998), „Suvremena umjetnost u Srbiji / Prijestupničke forme“ (200.), „Slikarstvo ponovo“ (2001), „Kanadska Suvremena umjetnost“ (2002.) etc.
From 2005 to 2011 he was a director of the Vojvodina Museum of Contemporary Art in Novi Sad. As the director of the MSUV Novi Sad, he had produced over 150 exhibitions and projects with his team. As a selector of the Republic of Serbia Pavillion for the 54th international art exhibition - "La Biennale di Venezia 2011", with the presenting artist Dragoljub Raša Todosijević, the Republic of Serbia Pavilion and the artist received the prestigious UniCredit award. Živko Grozdanić Gera exhibited on over 200 group and 50 solo exhibitions.
Since 2012, he has been the owner and director of Geramuseum in Veliko Središte, near Vršac.
Grozdanić does not see himself only as a "creator" in the autonomous world of art, but as an anthropologist or a conceptual artist who acts in a set historical and geographical culture with the materiality of the culture as a specific social practice. His allegoric work is a project of intervention into the world of objects of culture and from culture, and his objects, sculptures or installations, his work and cultural texts of disturbances and shaping of everyday life become a practice of "art in the epoch of culture". The Allegorian works similarly and close to conceptual artists of the previous century who worked with ideas, he analyses his ideas and reworks them through material into an allegoric setting. For an Allegoria, the idea is a material of artistic expression, but it is also a pile of material which hides the idea, and in that sense help it stay drowned in the form.
In everyday life, he continually makes transfers between culture and art through institutions which he creates (a political party, Rotary Club, Youth Biennial, Košava and ArtKontext magazine, Centre for Contemporary Art Konkordija, and finally the Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina and Geramuseum). If he is not working through institutions, he claims that he falls into the trap of the artist-genius myth, and his epochal work in the 20th or 21st century. The political crisis in society goes to his favour, for it enabled him, and it still does enable him to further define his artistic ideology, and not to asceticly, revolutionary, change that society. This deconstruction of the acquired position is done on purpose, as he does not believe in the dialectal relationships inside art, but does this believing art is only a body of culture. Grozdanić stands for culture which is based on permanent transfers, which is in continual confrontation of new hybrids of culture, transgression...
Grozdanić's art is provocative. Installations "Meteor Shower", "Bishop Pahomija on Sunset Boulevard", "Four Patriarch Pauls are Looking at Two Thousand Lines of Raša Todosijević", and "Made in China" are, according to the writings of the theorist Miško Šuvaković, "showcases and figurative constructions of a political narrative on the intensity of public and secret, metaphysical and fetishist, religious politics in the transition society".
As Grozdanić states: "I am not a proponent of the theory that the artist is a source of the work. An artist is only a substation, a conductor of the societal energy in which the society is deeply rooted in individuals and defines them. When, for example, I recreated the work "Meteor Shower" or "Made in China", then I verify the relationship inside the society, I crystallize the essence of that society, and not my artistic privilege. The process of this translation must be freed of myself. This are the reasons I used allegory as a transmitted way of expressing notions in which the artistic is, actually, the allegoric meaning. Allegory is a discrete form of prolonged sensibility or deepened cognition. An artwork still is what it was in its essence, but now it is its reinterpetation which can be a fairytale or a fable. Allegory is a game of hide-and-seek which frees the artist from art by covering the confusion or the discrepancy which haunt me everyday."