essay about authorbibliographyartist's influences
10. March 1949 - 17. July 2006
Ex Yugoslavia

The artistic practice of Željko Jerman was marked by experiments in the medium of photography. Focusing his interest on exploration of alternative possibilities of this medium, Jerman is not burdened with a perfect technique, but on the contrary, he intentionally makes blurry photographs that then become a surface for intervention with photochemicals, distemper, and in some works he also uses multiple negatives. Balancing between the two opposite points of creativity and destruction, Jerman moves toward the elementary, experimental photography, manipulating its expressive potential, often without using the camera.
After completing a photography course and running his own studio Blow up, in Voćarska Street in Zagreb, in the mid-seventies he became a member of an informal group Grupa šestorice autora (The Group of Six Authors), whose artwork was characterized by a distinct individuality of each of the artists, a conceptual approach to art, emphasised processuality and direct contact with the audience in the form of exhibits-actions. In 1975 at the City beach on the river Sava, within the exhibition-action of the Six Authors, one of the most significant Jerman's works was created. For an hour the artist layed on the sun and let sunlight make his mark on photographic paper.
Krepaj, fotografijo! (Drop dead, photography!) is Jerman's work exhibited at the solo exhibition Subjektivna fotografija (Subjective photograpy) at GSU (The Gallery of Contemporary Art) in 1974, where the artist's destructive sensibility and the desire to create new expressions by the destruction of basic principles of the old is reflected. Jerman wrote a clear and direct statement Ovo nije moj svijet (This is not my world) with the photographic developer on a roll of photographic paper in 1976 and exhibited it in one of the streets in Belgrade. The characteristics of Jerman's artistic expression are simplicity of the communicated message, its meaning, which contains recognizable generational postulates like speaking in "I" form and "great rejection of everything found as unexceptable" (Denegri), as well as the use of photographic material for sending a message, i.e. experiment and deconstruction of the medium of photography itself.
Moja godina (My Year) is a work that was created during the year 1977. The artist added simple diary entries to the photographs that were made every day. A year later the work was exhibited at GSU (The Gallery of Contemporary Art). In the late seventies he performed a series of performances along with the artist Vlasta Delimar, such as Vjenčanje (The Wedding, 1982) and Pokušaj poistovjećivanja (The Attempt of Identification, 1979). Slike (iz)umrlih albuma (Photos from the deceased Albums) is an unfinished cycle created in the period from 2003 to 2006. He made interventions on old family photos with household chemicals, i.e. cleaners and an ordinary toothbrush, so Jerman, in his own words, "destroyed" the characters from the album so that he could enable them to become "artifacture" and to "outgrow the insignificant sensuality that was only present in the souls of close, but no longer existing persons ".
Since the eighties Željko Jerman had intensively published reviews and columns in "Polet" ("Uplift"), "Danas" ("Today"), "Studentski list" ("Student Paper"), and later the column Egotrip in the magazine "Zarez" ("Comma"). In the period from 1998 to 2001 he lectured at Slobodna umjetnička akademija (Free Academy of Arts) in Split, where he had been living during the last years of his life. He died in 2006.
J. Bubaš

essay about author