Julije Knifer's book: Collages for Meanders, published by the New York publishing house OSMOS Books had been presented for the first time at the National Museum of Modern Art in Zagreb on September 19. It is a book which focuses on a group of collages, produced in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and rediscovered in 2014, that illustrates the development of the meander motif at a pivotal moment in Knifer's career and can be understood as a vocabulary of forms through which the artist would develop his unique formal language of repetition and difference. Along with the introductory speech of Branko Franceschi, director of the National Museum of Modern Art, art historian Zvonko Maković, PhD and Christian Rattemeyer, independent curator, writer and translator spoke about the book. The event was attended in front of the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia by the director of the Administration for the Development of Culture and Art, Nevena Tudor Perković. After Zagreb, the monograph will be presented in Paris and afterwards in New York.

About the book: Julije Knifer: Collages for Meanders
Edited by: Cay Sophie Rabinowitz
Essays by: Zvonko Maković, Christian Rattemeyer
Publisher : OSMOS Books, New York 2022.

Croatian artist Julije Knifer (1924–2004) is recognized as one of the most prominent artists related to concrete art after 1945, as well as a founding member of the 1960s avant-garde artists’ group Gorgona. Over a career spanning five decades, Knifer developed a singularly restrained practice focusing on the variation of a single visual motif: the meander. Knifer's meanders have been interpreted differently depending on the period in which they appeared: first in the context of geometric abstraction and neo-constructivism of the “New Tendencies” of the 1960s. Later, they were more often understood as a gesture of resistance against political cooptation of culture, and today, with their asceticism and interest in the absurdism of anti-art, they speak to the dedication and individualism of a single artistic vision.

This book focuses on a group of collages, produced in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and rediscovered in 2014, that illustrates the development of the meander motif at a pivotal moment in Knifer's career and can be understood as a vocabulary of forms through which the artist would develop his unique formal language of repetition and difference.

About the publisher OSMOS is an ambulant and integrated concept for curatorial and editorial activities by Cay Sophie Rabinowitz (former Senior Editor of Parkett and Artistic Director of Art Basel). With OSMOS Magazine, OSMOS Books, and OSMOS exhibitions and collaborations, Cay-Sophie Rabinowitz has established a multivalent international program for the exchange of ideas and images. OSMOS is based in the Western Catskills town of Stamford, NY, and a storefront in New York’s East Village that was once a saloon where, according to Emma Goldman, "radical writers and artists … would argue the world's problems far into the night"

About the authors of texts
Christian Rattemeyer is an independent curator, writer, and translator. He served as Executive Director of SculptureCenter in New York from 2019 to 2020, and as Associate Curator of Drawings and Prints at the Museum of Modern Art in New York from 2007 to 2019. At MoMA, Rattemeyer curated and co-curated nine exhibitions, including SURROUNDS: 11 Installations (2019); Transmissions: Art from Eastern Europe and Latin America 1960-1980 (2015), Alighiero Boetti: Game Plan (2012), and Compass in Hand (2009). Previously, Rattemeyer worked as Curator at Artists Space (2003-2007) and has worked for Documenta11 (2002), documenta X (1997) and documenta IX (1992) in Kassel, his hometown. He has published many essays and books on contemporary art, including Exhibiting the New Art: When Attitudes Become Form and Op Losse Schroeven, 1969, Afterall Publishers, 2010. Rattemeyer lives and works in upstate New York.

Zvonko Maković (1947) graduated in art history and comparative literature at the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb, where he also received his doctorate at the Department of Art History. He spent his working life at the same department, from 1975 until his retirement in 2012, and for many years was the head of the Department of Modern Art and Visual Communications where he taught numerous courses. He was a mentor at postgraduate and doctoral studies at his home university and abroad, and head of several scientific projects. He published many scientific and professional papers and books, mostly in the field of modern and contemporary art, such as the monographs Miroslav Šutej (1981), Ljubo Ivančić (1996), Vilko Gecan (1997), Julije Knifer (2002), Ljubo Ivančić: In Praise of Painting (2017), etc. From 1970 until now, he has organized hundreds of exhibitions in the country and abroad, independent, thematic and retrospective, among which stand out the Fifties - Fifties in Croatian Art (2004), Avant-garde Tendencies in Croatian Art (2007 ), Prague Four (2013), Passion and Rebellion: Expressionism in Croatia (2011), Ignjat Job: Fire of the Mediterranean (2017), Sixties in Croatia: Myth and Reality (2018), Vladimir Becić (2018). At the 49th Venice Biennale (2001), he was the national selector and organized the Julije Knifer exhibition.

Images: From the presentation of monograph Julije Knifer: Collages for Meanders published by OSMOS Books at the National Museum of Modern Art in Zagreb. Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2022

 

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