Retrospective exhibition gives an overview of the sixty-year practice of Tomislav Gotovac a.k.a. Antonio G. Lauer (Sombor, 1937 – Zagreb, 2010), a pioneer in many different media, from experimental to structural film, from happening to actions and performances.
Beginning with his first photo series, films and collages (dating from 1960 to 1964), and ending with his final actions and performances from 2009, the retrospective follows Gotovac identification with marginal characters, all of them eccentric mavericks who confirm the artist’s settling on the fringes of society. We meet Gotovac’s artistic personas, from the urban nudist, elated preacher, embittered curser and witty agitator to the paranoid artist and relentless obstructer of public peace and order.
Along with Gotovac’s anthological works, the retrospective includes documentations of his actions, from court records to newspaper articles. These are presented here as the ways of expanding an artistic act into extra-artistic spheres, but also as a confirmation of Gotovac’s broadened understanding of film. With an aim of getting closer to the artist’s feeling of reality, this exhibition approaches film as Gotovac’s model for the creation of art and for directing his own biography, where the line between reality and fiction becomes blurred. This retrospective traces the author’s directing approaches in cinematic and non-cinematic media – from collages and photographs to actions and performances in intimate, public and media space.
In line with Gotovac’s approaches and instructions for reading his art, which are found in his statements, interviews, titles of his works and films, the exhibition is captioned with the titles of some of his works, with his mottoes and his intimate footholds. The questions of artist’s autonomy, the ways of playing with predetermined roles, the examination of the relationships between an individual and the dominant majority, the artist’s reckoning with official stories and mass media depictions – all this is interwoven at eight ‘stations’ of the City Art Gallery, from the initial room named "I’m innocent!", and all the way to the retrospective within the retrospective called "PARANOIA VIEW ART". The specific architecture of the Ljubljana City Art Gallery, with its circular direction of viewing the works, highlights the circle as the favorite form of Gotovac’s works. Moreover, it points to his ever-present principle of upgrading, continuing and recycling of the existing works and his insistence on the open form of their interpretation.
As he stated in several interviews, some also reprinted in this publication, Tomislav Gotovac did not have an exhibitionist’s easy attitude to nudity. He found it quite hard – even ...
Production: Museum and Galleries of LjubljanaExhibition curators: Ksenija Orelj & Nataša ŠukovićArtist: Tomislav GotovacTexts: Ksenija Orelj & Nataša ŠukovićCoordination: Eva BolhaDesign: Ajdin BašićPhotography: Andrej PeunikIn collaboration with: Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rijeka; Tomislav Gotovac Institute, Zagreb; Slovenian CinemathequeExhibition installation: Technical services of MGMLThe exhibition was made possible by: City of Ljubljana
Acknowledgements: Sarah Gotovac Collection; Tomislav Gotovac Institute; Croatian Film Association; Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana; Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb; Archive of My Land Štaglinec; Vuk Ćosić; Igor Prassel; Miško Šuvaković; all the authors of the interviews
Special thanks to: Zora Cazi Gotovac, Darko Šimičić, Slaven Tolj
During the exhibition "Don’t Ask Where We’re Going" at the City Art Gallery Ljubljana, the Slovenian Cinematheque
will be hosting an accompanying film programme. The programme of films of Tomislav Gotovac was done by Diana Nenadić in collaboration with the Croatian Film Association and Tomislav Gotovac Institute.
1 January, 1 November, 25 December: Closed
24 and 31 December: 11:00–14:00
As a film auteur, we automatically connect Tomislav Gotovac with four of his early films from his first period, which began in the late 1950s and lasted for two decades. "Afternoon of a Faun" (1963) was declared by Gotovac to be his “flagship” work, while others called his Belgrade trilogy from 1964 – "Direction" (Stevens-Duke), "Blue Rider" (Godard-Art), and "Circle" (Jutkevič-Count) – as his most important work.
“He is best remembered by how he ran naked down a street, strolled around, laid on a sidewalk, and kissed the asphalt. He would consciously use mass media to establish himself as an uncompromising artist, as well as consciously triggering polemics, scandals, police interventions. With these actions, he conveyed his belief that for him there is no difference between everyday life and artistic interventions, between the private and the public.”
“On Thursday, the City Art Gallery Ljubljana opened the exhibition ‘Don’t Ask Where We’re Going’ by the Croatian artist Tomislav Gotovac. Works by this pioneer of experimental film and performance, which are also in the MoMA collection, will be on view until 10 June.”
"As he stated in several interviews, Tomislav Gotovac did not have an exhibitionist’s easy attitude to nudity. He found it quite hard – even shameful – to bare all, to the point where on a number of occasions he demurred, at the last minute, from undressing before an action or performance. Vocally, however, he had no such reservations. In his interviews, he spoke openly and without mincing words about everything – the art system, art, Zagreb, his childhood and growing up, his body, sex, religion, his friends and acquaintances and, last but not least, again and again, film."
Gotovac is securely placed among the most important contemporary artists. His works are, among others, part of the Arteast 2000+ International Collection at the Museum of Modern Art of Ljubljana and of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City.