essay about authorbibliographyartist's influences
Ex Yugoslavia

The artistic work of Braco Dimitrijevic, a pioneer of conceptual art in Croatia, from its beginnings characterizes an exploration of traditional values whether they be in the context of art history or history in general. Incorporating coincedence as an important element in the creation of artwork and affirming anonimity through his own work, Dimitrijevic renders accepted values realtive in nature and incorporates the ordinary in the sphere of art. Utilising observation and selection of existing facts and objects, instead of creating new artistic interpretation or objects, Dimitrijevic with his work suggests the arbitrariness of generally accepted values.

Braco Dimitrijevic's first works questioned the notion of authorship. He believed that the artist acts as a catalyst for the artistic act by creating preconditions for artwork. For instance, in 1968 he placed a package of plaster on the road and photographed a cloud of dust created by a car which ran over it. The cloud of plaster dust was named Accidental Sculpture. The same year an accidental driver, Kresimir Klik, crossed over a milk carton with his car. Dimitrijevic stopped Klik and other car owners and if they acknowledged the resulting stains as works of art, they would sign the artwork as their own art creation. In this way the artwork Painting by Kresimir Klik was created. 

A year later, together with Goran Trbuljak, Dimitrijevic created the Tihomir Simčić Group. The group was named for a retiree who opened a door and unknowingly, left an imprint on the doorknob in a pile of clay the artists positioned on the doors interior. The group's manifesto stated that memebers of the group are all those who knowingly or unknowingly create visual change.

The method of appropriation Dimitrijevic used from 1970, when he handed out red glasses to the audience of  Bergman's play at the Belgrade International Thetre Festival. Dimitrijevic informed the audience that by wearing glasses, they could change the colouristic value of the play at their discretion. In the same year, at the opening of the exhibition of J.R. Soto at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, Dimitrijevic handed out popcorn, creating an ironic detachment from the art establishment's usual rhythm of the proverbial opening ceremonial. 

Aiming to distance himself from traditional gallery spaces and exhibiting strategies, Dimitrijevic together with his wife Nena in 1970, co-curated the exhibition At the Moment at the Frankopanska 2B Gallery where he held several one-day exhibitions. The most important was a three-hour long, highly attended exhibition including artists such as Anselmo, Barry, Brown, Burren, Burgin, Dibbets, Dimitrijevic, Group ER, Flanagan, Huebler, Group KOD, Kirill, Kounellis, Latham, LeWitt, Trbuljak, Weiner and Wilson

In 1971, on the facades of the Republic Square, Bourse Square and Square of Marshall Tito, in positions typically reserved for large portraits of communist leaders during the national holidays, Dimitrijevic installed large photo-portraits of accidental passers-by. Undermining the cult of personality and at the same time affirming everyday life, Braco Dimitrijevic thus began his famous cycle of passers-by. These works became a global media hit in the following years and were exhibited in London, Paris, Naples and elsewhere. With titles such as This Could Be a Masterpiece, This Could Be a Place of Historical Importance, John Foster Has Lived Here, a project which named streets for passers-by, Dimitrijevic continued the same principle of questioning assumed historical values and replacing them with ordinary and everyday content.

Dimitrijević's theoretical work Tractatus Post Hystoricus, published in 1976, presented his views on the relativity of history and art history. The same idea was expressed in the installation cycles Trypticus Post Hystoricus, which combined three categories of values: a famous work of art (mainly from renowned museums and galleries such as the Louvre or Tate Gallery), everyday objects (hat, a stick) and elements of nature (apples, leaves), thus negating the historical hierarchy of values in favor of harmony and unity in which all of the elements were equal. Post-history is in this sense the state of openness, equality, and refutation of historically imposed culture.

Braco Dimitrijevic was born in 1948 in Sarajevo. In 1968, after studying physics and mathematics, he enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, and in 1971 he went to London to pursue postgraduate studies. He has exhibited in most nationally and globally renowned museums and galleries, the Venice Biennials of 1976, 1982, 1990, 1993 as well as Documenta 5 (1972), Documenta 6 (1977), and Documenta 9 (1992).

J. Bubaš

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