The oeuvre of Ivan Kožarić is on display in some thirty three-dimensional pieces spanning the period from 1953 to 2005. Close to the floor of the exhibition space, they occupy a zone in which spatial constellations supplant chronological sequence. Just how the works stand in relation to one another seems random, unintentional. As if pieces that are separated from one another by great temporal distances and have no stylistic relationship to one another had come together of their own accord ... . Papered over the walls are the prints and photocopies of Carla Filipe’s multi-part workAs Primas da Bulgária [The Cousins from Bulgaria]. One sheet of paper follows another, preserving from oblivion a noteworthy and perplexing episode of recent history. Seemingly, the works of Kožarić and Filipe have nothing in common – neither the nationality nor the generation of the artists concerned, nor again the aesthetics, thematics or historical context of their works. Nevertheless, there is an atmosphere or attitude which runs pervasively through all the differences in time, space and ideology that the works reveal without levelling them out – a pervasive delight in the things of the world.
Ivan Kožarić was born in Petrinja (Central Croatia) in 1921 and now lives in Zagreb. He can look back over decades of artistic production, in the course of which he has received great recognition and acclaim in his home country. His early sculptures are the expression of a subversive attitude to his academic training (heads standing on their heads); in the 1960s he was a member of the 'anti-art' Gorgona group and worked on seemingly abstract impresses of the spaces between objects (Spatial Forms); subsequently, he was happy just to collect everyday things and to make them the objects of his art (1996: "As a sculptor, I live nowadays almost exclusively on the streets"). A critic has spoken of the "anarchic creative discontinuity" (Želimir Kožčević) of his work, the oeuvre being stretched between two extreme distances – the cosmic, which makes things appear spiritually transfigured, and the immediately close, in which even the most banal assumes the significance of greatness.
Carla Filipe was born in 1973 and lives in Porto, Portugal. In various of her works, the railway network gives her the possibility of engaging with the history of industrialization and colonialism, with economic, political and social issues within Portugal, with non-organized ways of ensuring a livelihood, and with her own biography.
She derives material evidence concerning her particular object of investigation from a variety of sources, in the form of texts, illustrations and objets trouvés. The individual work is the product of her idiosyncratic working over of this archived material – the work being, in equal measure, a report on a given situation and the catalyst of Filipe’s own personal approach and access. Using collages of photos and graphic signs linked via handwritten commentaries in Portuguese and English, As Primas da Bulgáriareports on the forgotten students who, in the wake of the Portuguese revolution of 1974, emigrated to Bulgaria in search of a socialist society.
Carla Filipe’s As Primas da Bulgária and Ivan Kožarić’s sculptures created over five decades encounter each other in the briefly illuminated tableau of a possible connection between art and things.
The exhibition is curated by Ulrich Loock (b. Braunschweig, 1953). Between the years 1985 to 2010, Loock was successively Director of the Kunsthalle Bern and the Kunstmuseum Luzern and Deputy Director of the Museu de Serralves in Porto. He currently teaches at the Hochschule der Künste in Bern, living and working as a critic and curator in Berlin.