oil on canvas
Active from the late 1960s to the present, Braco Dimitrijević (1948) is one of the pioneers of the international Conceptual Art movement. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1971. In the same year, his wife Nena and he organised At The Moment, the first ever exhibition of Conceptual Art in Yugoslavia in a passageway on Frankopanska Street in Zagreb.
From his rich conceptual practice, his Casual Passers-By are the most famous. These are series of photographs, which he took over a long period of time, and which marked the beginning of the art form of critical interventions in public space. He premiered his Casual Passers-By in Zagreb in 1971, and then exhibited them in Paris, Venice, New York and other cities around the world. After 1976, he started developing a world-famous series of installations under the name Tryptichos Post Historicus. By using the innovative method of appropriation, his Tryptichos Post Historicus series interrelate three categories of objects: a famous work of art, an everyday item and fruits of nature.
The Leopard painting is an example of the way in which Dimitrijević’s model of post-historical triptych and method of appropriation work in the medium of painting. The walking leopard’s fur patterns blend in with the background which is done by dripping and spraying paint onto the canvas, which is a reference to the painting method of Jackson Pollock, the founder of Action Painting. This painting series heralded a series of installations in which Dimitrijević brought animals and works of art together, the highlight of which took place in 1998 at a solo exhibition at the Paris Zoo. In 1976, he published Tractatus Post Historicus, his most famous theoretical work. One of the most famous of his statements expressing his conviction as an artist is: “Louvre is my studio, street my museum”.
The purchase of the painting for the Collection of the National Museum of Modern Art was made possible by a donation from the Adris Foundation
Text: Željko Marciuš, museum consultant of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Ana Janković
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb