curators: Dorotea Fotivec, Ivana Janković
Varaždin City Museum coordination: Elizabeta Igrec
The exhibition is organised by the Institute for the Research of the Avant-Garde, the Marinko Sudac Collection, and the Varaždin City Museum.
A retrospective review of the activities and creation of Radoslav Putar and Miljenko Horvath, with works coming mostly from the Marinko Sudac Collection, shows the importance of their activity to the public - their Varaždin fellow citizens, but also to a wider public.
The exhibition presents works by Miljenko Horvat, as well as the work of Radoslav Putar, one of the most significant art critics of the post-war period in the region.
During the first post-war decades, in the field of art criticism, as well as his other professional responsibilities, Radoslav Putar was a person at the heart of events, whose views and positions on the domestic art scene left many direct effects. They were often followed with the occasional polemical opposition that he provoked and had to endure precisely because of a determined and uncompromising adherence to and public expression of his beliefs. His firm stance is also evident in the support he gave to naïve artists, in whose creation he saw authentic values. He wrote articles on various new appearances on the domestic scene, some of which were banned and published only years later (EXAT 51). Among other functions, he was a director of the Galleries of the City of Zagreb (1972-78) and the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb (1979-83). Putar was a member of the Gorgona group and one of the founders and theorists of the international New Tendencies movement. He was the editor of the Bit International and Spot magazines.
Both Putar and Horvat were members of the Gorgona group - a conceptual group of artists and intellectuals that was active in Zagreb between 1959 and 1968. The members were Dimitrije Bašičević-Mangelos, Miljenko Horvat, Marijan Jevšovar, Julije Knifer, Ivan Kožarić, Matko Meštrović, Radoslav Putar, Đuro Seder, and Josip Vaništa.
Putar took the role of "secretary" within the group, that is, the person who schedules the meetings of the group and keeps minutes of them. Today, Putar's carefully crafted and consistently conducted correspondence is quite legitimately regarded as his contribution to the artistic behaviours inherent in the spirit of Gorgona.
The connection between these two contexts is Putar's writings of support for exhibitions and analyses of the works of Gorgona members Vaništa, Kožarić, Knifer, Jevšovar, Seder, Horvat, and Gattin and Feller, who were close to them.
Miljenko Horvat's first period of work relates to the atmosphere of Gorgona, which he became a member of during his studies of architecture, where he became a demonstrator in the class of Josip Vaništa, the founder of the group. Horvat made his most direct contribution to the group in 1965, with the publication of the seventh issue of the Gorgona anti-magazine, a book as a work of art, published by the members of the group in 11 realised issues (and more unrealised templates) from 1961 to 1966. Horvat moved to Paris in 1962 and then to Montreal in 1966, but remained in contact with members of the Gorgona group, especially Josip Vaništa, through letters. Thus, his photographs taken during the Gorgona period, as well as those from Paris, and in the 1970s (especially of New York or Boston), as well as early works of art, bear the characteristics of what was referred to as the "Gorgona spirit".
We thank the Museum of Arts and Crafts (Zagreb), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Zagreb), the Vugrinec Collection and the Tomislav Gotovac Institute for the loan of works.