After the considerable success of “L’Inarchiviabile/The Unarchivable” about Italian art in the 1970s, FM Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea’s exhibition program turns to the art of the Eastern European countries between the 1950s and the 1980s, with more than 200 works from one of the most important and complete collections of avant-garde art from Eastern Europe, the Marinko Sudac Collection in Zagreb that includes not only works of art but also the complete archives of artists and galleries that tell the story of a ‘lost chapter’ in twentieth century art history.
Through his art collecting activities, Marinko Sudac, the founder of the Museum of the Avant-garde platform, turned to the exploration, research into and promotion of the avant-garde practices which, from the beginning of the twentieth century through to the fall of the Berlin Wall, were marginalized or rejected due to the various historical, social and political circumstances. In this way, the collection has become an inexhaustible resource for the study and research into European avant-garde movements for experts, art historians and artists from all over the world. Works form the Marinko Sudac Collection have been lent to museums such as the Tate Modern in London, the Warsaw Museum of Modern Art, the Zagreb Museum of Contemporary Art, the Ludwig Mύzeum – the Budapest Museum of Contemporary Art, the Haus der Kunst in Munich and the Nottingham Contemporary.
This is the first time that the collection will be on display in its entirety outside Eastern Europe, with paintings, photographic and conceptual works, documents, books, graphics, films, sculptures and installations.
The exhibition itinerary begins in the Yugoslavia of 1948 – an ‘unaligned’ state that was neither East nor West insomuch as it sided with neither of the two Cold War blocks. It was precisely because of this, that it was the first reality within the system of Eastern European art to provide an abstract and neo-avant-garde culture.
It is sufficient to consider the modernist monument that Tito commissioned from Vojin Bakić on the Petrova Gora mountains, or the first abstract art movement in Eastern Europe, EXAT 51, with Aleksandar Srnec, Ivan Picelj and Božidar Rašica, and also the luminous-film experiments of Antun Motika, one of the precursors in this field.
The central nucleus of the exhibition is the production by the Gorgona Group (Marijan Jevšovar, Julije Knifer, Đuro Seder, Josip Vaništa, Ivan Kožarić, Miljenko Horvat, Dimitrije Bašičević-Mangelos, Radoslav Putar and Matko Meštrović) that aimed to overturn the rules of the rigid art system of the period, exploring various areas of experimentation: impossible projects, conceptual works, meetings and actions, the exchange of letters. The group greatly influenced subsequent generations of artists and enjoyed mutually beneficial relationships with the Italian art of the time. Just consider Piero Manzoni’s contacts with Gorgona, the participation of Enzo Mari and many other Italian artists in the international exhibitions Nove tendencjie in Zagreb and the ‘At the Moment’ exhibition generated by Nena and Braco Dimitrijević, again in Zagreb, in 1971, which brought together the most important conceptual artists in the world, amongst whom was Giovanni Anselmo.
Therefore, at the heart of the exhibition lies Zagreb, Croatia, but also the rest of the ex-Yugoslavia, with works by significant artists such as Mladen Stilinović, Sanja Iveković, Goran Trbuljak, Tomislav Gotovac, Vlado Martek, Željko Jerman, Braco Dimitrijević, Bálint Szombathy, Bogdanka Poznanović, and the groups OHO, BOSCH+BOSCH and the Group of Six Artists.
The path subsequently expands from Yugoslavia to include the Czechoslovakia of the time (with Július Koller, Milan Grygar, Rudolf Sikora, Stano Filko, Ladislav Novák, Petr Štembera, Jiří Valoch and others), Hungary (Dora Maurer, Endre Tót, Géza Perneczky, Katalin Ladik, Sándor Pinczehelyi) and Poland (Jarosław Kozłowski, Zdzisław Sosnowski, Andrzej Lachowicz, Jerzy Bereś, Natalia LL).