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Ješa Denegri

GORGONA


Gorgona is the name of the artistic group which existed in Zagreb, Croatia from 1959 and was active until 1966. It's members were painters Josip Vaništa (1924), Julije Knifer (1924-2000), Marijan Jevšovar (1922-1998), Djuro Seder (1927), sculptor Ivan Kožarić (1921), architect Miljenko Horvat (1935-2012) who was also a painter and photographer, art critics Radoslav Putar (1929-1994), Matko Meštrović (1933) and Dimitrije Bašičević (1921-1978) who used the pseudonym Mangelos while in the group.

Activities of the Gorgona group consisted of periodic publications of anti-magazines of the same name  - "Gorgona" (eleven editions between 1961-1966), the exhibitions of the Group members and their guests in a modest workshop for making and selling of painting supplies (which will be renamed to "Studio G" at the time of these exhibitions) and a number of events which were barely perceptible in public, such as meetings and gatherings of members, their visits to certain places in the city and outdoor in nature, photo-sessions regarded as artistic actiona, written works such as "Thoughts for Months" that members of the group exchanged between themselves and with their friends, conversations on a variety of topics... All this activities (and many more) have been regarded under the term "Gorgonic behavior". At the same time, these artists engaged individually in painting, sculpture and photography which were, according to linguistic characteristics and meaning, substantially different compared to any other art practice at the same cultural environment.

Discrete at the time of its existence, Gorgona has subsequently been recognized and interpreted as a very complex and important art phenomenon, revaluated today not only in local but also in the international art context. Some members of the Gorgona were personally related or in correspondance with artists of great repute such as Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg. François Morellet and Piero Dorazio had solo exhibitions in "Studio G" which was organized by the Gorgona group members. Dieter Roth and Harold Pinter had their own authorial editions of the Gorgona anti-magazine. There is even evidence that Marcel Duchamp knew about existence of this art group and that he was, allegedly, willing to collaborate with the Gorgona group.

All this suggests that the thematic and historical context for the emergence of the Gorgona group can be marked by the phenomena of Post-War international Neo-Avant Garde practices, such as Neo-Dadaism, Minimalism, Neo-Constructivism, Fluxus, the announcement of Conceptual art, temporary art actions and their photographic documentation, the use of mail for the purposes of artistic communication (mail-art), and a number of other forms and methods of "artistic behavior". Finally, it should be noted that all of these, at the time unusual events, had taken place in the setting of the Yugoslav social and political order within which members of the Gorgona had worked, carried by aspirations and the need of the ultimate freedom of artistic and life manifestation.


Translation

Jelena Lazarević

Belgrade, 12.01.2016.