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Tomislav / Tom Gotovac (aka Antonio Lauer) was one of the leading Croatian conceptual and multimedia artists. In 2011 his work was shown in the Croatian pavilion at the 54st Venice Biennale.
2017 works of Tomislav Gotovac are part of Documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel.

Gotovac began his career with his first photographic works in the late 1950s until he eventually turned to collages, performances and movies in the early 1960s. His artistic starting point was always the task to uncover the conditions of everyday life and to re-interpret historical and political facts and political manipulations.

An important aspect of Tomislav Gotovac's work is the interaction of life and art. He always worked with his body and put himself into the centre. His actions usually feature everyday deeds, e.g. in Breathing the Air (1962). He chose public spaces for his performance acts, thereby putting the life we are used to into a new focus and at the same time allowing us to gain new perspectives. An integral part of his work are quotations by and homages to other artists, such as Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Jacques Prévert or Jean-Luc Godard.

The use of colloquial language adds a hitherto unknown sense of radicalness to his movies, which already embraced socially critical issues in the early 1960s. In 1967, he organized the first happening in Yugoslavia and turned his photo series into movies, which shall be seen as documents of his performances.

Successfully recycles visual images in his recent films.  By using stills and inserts from his own films and from films important for him or his art (e.g. films by George Stevens, Lazar Stojanovic', the Vasiliev brothers), but also from famous paintings (by Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo) and popular songs, Gotovac's films (Tomislav Gotovac, Dead Man Walking, Proroci) transcend the borders of cinema as much as his performances and exhibitions transcend borders of every medium of artistic creation. However, certain general questions are raised by such artistic procedure: broadly speaking, today's conceptual art is institutionalized in some sort of artistic 'genre' and Gotovac/Lauer seems to be a true master of that genre

From the very beginning of his career in the early 1960s, Gotovac concentrated on changing the definition of the artist prevalent in Yugoslav socialist society. Crossing the boundaries between several types of visual, audio-visual and performing arts, this pioneer of conceptual art in Zagreb has very often used the imagery of 'revolutionary' (communist) ideology in order to challenge aesthetic and other social norms. In the 1990s, Gotovac's films became more frequently structured around recycling his previous artistic experience, which often includes the political imagery of the past.

Starting his career with conceptualist ideas (probably to a great extent intuited rather than fully thought out), Gotovac also worked in the era in which film critics and directors were widely embracing authorial politics (Wollen 1972; Naremore 2004) of French nouvelle vague greats such as Truffaut, Chabrol and Godard. If we simplify things a bit, we might be allowed to say that these critics-turned-directors made for a radically modernist group of film buffs with a penchant for classical Hollywood cinema, shared by Gotovac as well. It is no wonder then that Gotovac has managed to become one of the best examples of auteurism in Croatian cinema: in his work the boundaries of a single film are becoming less and less significant, so that his entire oeuvre becomes one giant piece of work. Sadly Gotovac passed away 2010 but his work and spirit lives in his performance documentation and films.

Review of shows by Tomislav Gotovac/galerie michaela stock:
Pin me up – Turn me around
Affectionate Terms Of Abuse & Archive in Words

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