Julije Knifer / Tomo Savić-Gecan: Bez naziva / Untitled / Senza titolo


01-06-2024 – 13-07-2024

Postponing time and place is the fundamental theme of the exhibition Untitled… by Julije Knifer and Tomo Savić-Gecan. Although generationally almost half a century apart, both find the starting point of their artistic activity in absurdity and void, as well as in the freedom defined by the infinity of temporal and spatial duration. They are objective, precise and consistent in the minimalist visual expression, but every work entails complex preparations and duration of the execution. Apoteka is presenting their third joint exhibition. The first was curated by Miško Šuvaković at Ješa Denegri’s initiative at HDLU in Zagreb, early in 2005, soon after Knifer’s departure. Savić-Gecan, Knifer and Goran Petercol exhibited at the Galženica Gallery in Velika Gorica in 2022 on the topic of void. At previous exhibitions, Gecan’s object directly obstructed the view of Knifer’s paintings or followed up on his work distantly. Gecan’s every piece is accompanied by a statement which is an integral part of the work.

In Apoteka, Tomo Savić-Gecan directly intervenes into Knifer’s work. Gecan’s work is based on the data he received for the needs of representing the Croatian pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2022. Exactly two years later, using the same data, a new algorithm was made; in Vodnjan it will define the pace of the changes, the arrangement and number of Julije Knifer’s works in Apoteka’s gallery space. Over the course of one month of the exhibition’s duration, the arrangement of Knifer’s works, whose number will also vary, will change. A total of twelve drawings will be exhibited. The changes in the set-up will be announced on Apoteka’s website. The starting point of the Vodnjan work is the same as the one in Venice two years ago. In executing the series of drawings in an A4 format mathematical notebook, Knifer uses classical materials and means, while Gecan for his works uses technological tools and AI. However, both focus on calculations and postponement, making time the subject of their expression.

In 1988 in Tübingen, Knifer used pen and paper to draw the outlines of a model for his future paintings. A year later, with a remark of the time and place of the making, he upgraded the ‘sketches’ by shading, which then no longer serve just as models, but become a work in their own right. He on occasions even draws more works on the same piece of paper. The artist returns to these works once again, marking the exact date and time of transferral to the canvases.

In the case of these two artists, postponement means the deferment of the end and the transferral of action through time, by no means the deferment of the action itself. In his journal from 1986, Knifer writes about work on graffiti, and his multiply repeated idea is applicable to other areas of his work: “I began working. Finishing a drawing is not my goal. Sounds absurd, because simply these drawings cannot be finished.”

Although both Knifer and Gecan are reserved in visual expression, this is a very dynamic project addressing seemingly marginal, but in fact very significant segment of their activity, a specific treatment of time.

Ana Knifer

“During the exhibition ‘Untitled’ at Vodnjan’s Apoteka, in 2024, the work process data results “Untitled (Croatian Pavilion) 2022” will affect the set-up of Julije Knifer’s works, including the time of change, the number of exhibited works, the choice of works and their arrangement.”

Tomo Savić-Gecan, Untitled 2024

Julije Knifer was born in Osijek, Croatia in 1924 and died in Paris in 2004. His work was focused over the exploration of a single form-the meander which started in the late 1950’ and later developed into the single central point of his artistic production. He was a member of Croatian artistic collective Gorgona. Knifer represented Croatia in the 1976. and 2001. Venice Biennale, and, in 2014, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb mounted a major retrospective exhibition of his work. He has exhibited at the Centre Pompidou, Paris; MAMCO (Musée d’art moderne et contemporain) in Geneva and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. His works are in numerous private and public collections around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Tate, London; the Centre Pompidou, Paris and the National Gallery, Berlin.

Tomo Savić-Gecan was born in 1967 in Zagreb and lives and works in Amsterdam. He studied at the School of Applied Arts in Zagreb and the Academies of Fine Arts in Venice and Milan, followed by postgraduate studies at Ateliers Arnhem, the Netherlands. In 2020 he was the subject of career-spanning retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb. Solo shows have taken place at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rijeka (2017); Zuidplein, Amsterdam, and Van Abbemuse- um, Eindhoven, the Netherlands (2016); Jeu de Paume, Paris, and Bergen Kunsthall, Norway (2010); Etablissement d’en face, Brussels (2005); De Loge, Haarlem, the Netherlands (2000); Gallery PM, Zagreb (1998); Kapelica Gallery, Ljubljana (1994); and Gallery SC, Zagreb (1994), among others. Selected group exhibitions have taken place at Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland (2017); Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, the Netherlands (2011); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb (2011); Apex Art, New York (2007); De Appel, Amsterdam (2006); MoMA PS1, New York (2004); Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany (2003); Arti & Amicitiae, Amsterdam (2002); National Gallery of Art, Tirana, Albania (2002); and Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna (2001). He has participated in major perennial exhibitions, including the Sculpture Garden Biennale Geneva (2020), the Taipei Biennial (2012), the 51st Venice Biennale of Art (2005), and Manifesta, Ljubljana (2000), and various artist residencies, including Art Explora, Paris (2021); Accelerate Croatia with Arts, CERN, Geneva (2017); 1646 Experimental Art Space, The Hague (2012); and PS1, New York (2004).

Drawing: Julije Knifer, Bez naziva 1988-90
Technical production lead: Ela Đimoti
Thank you: Martijntje Hallmann, Tomislav Pokrajčić

Supported by Ministarstvo kulture i medija Republike Hrvatske, Zaklada Kultura nova, Grad Vodnjan – Dignano, Istarska županija – Regione Istriana, TZ Vodnjan – Dignano, Medea vina.

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