Miljenko Horvat. Gorgona and After. Photographs | Marinko Sudac Collection
Photo Gallery LANG, Samobor, Croatia
12. March 2017 - 16. April 2017


curator: Želimir Koščević

"Forget all the leant babble on photographic means, methods and rules on photographs we had talked about. Think of them as messages, not media. Forget the medium."

This sentence by Douglas Davis was written down decades after Gorgona, and the photographic practise used not only by Miljenko Horvat, but Josip Vaništa and Ivan Kožarić as well. This practice was, from the organised art scene standpoint, "discrete" - as characterised by Nena Dimitrijević - unobtrusive and ,in fact, uninterested in gaining wider recognition. Besides, of course, their personal and intellectual close circles. A photograph of the lighthouse and  the dead seagull from Skagen, which Miljenko Horvat shot in 1963, during his visit to the further most north point of Denmark, was sent to Josip Vaništa and used as a photo-contribution to the anti-magazine Gorgona no. 7 from 1965. Correctly perceiving the importance of the photographs (two versions of it), Nena Dimitrijević included is an image in her text on the Gorgona group in the "Primary Documents" publication, published my New York's MoMA. This enigmatic, but almost emblematic image contains within itself the basic principle of not only Gorgonian photography, but also of Horvat's personal approach to the medium. And this is firstly a thought, and only far after it an actual photograph of the seaside with a lighthouse and a dead seagull. The photograph unambiguously has the built-in component of the "mysterious reality". This would later become crucial for creating the photography collection, which Miljenko Horvat and his spouse Lucija collected for years. It will, as well, become an aura encompassing his entire photographic oeuvre.

Distant from all the photography centres in Croatia, Horvat was only marginally recognized as a photographer, also due to his short real presence in the Gorgona group, having only occasional mention in study texts and photography critiques. There is, of course, a thin and discrete relationship with Josip Vaništa. Now, when thanks to the efforts of his spouse Lucija, and the fact that a part of his photographs is in the Marinko Sudac Collection in Zagreb, Miljenko Horvat, the photographer, has become an important and unavoidable mention in each further examination of Croatian photography. Horvat had discretely, but also from the far away Paris and later Canada, enriched the chapter of Croatian photography with the poetics of the then very current problematics of the photography medium. This is, of course, related to the deep layer of the surreal, a visible layer taken from Fluxus and joint to the New Realisms and New Topography, all filtered through Gorgonian wit.

Želimir Koščević

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