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30 Jun 2014

Tomislav Gotovac at Galerie Michaela Stock/Vienna

Tomislav Gotovac, PUN MI JE KURAC, artist book, silkscreen on paper, 1978, 20,5 x 28,5 x 1,2 cm, Photo: Matthias Bildstein, Courtesy Galerie Michaela Stock / Collection Sarah Gotovac, Zagreb

Galerie Michaela Stock


TOMISLAV GOTOVAC | PURE WORDS 27th June – 30th August 2014 Catalogue presentation TG - PURE WORDS with contributions by Suzana Milevska and Darko Šimičić. Tue-Wed: 4-7 pm, Thu-Fri: 11 am-7pm,
Sat : 11 am-3pm

Michaela Stock
0043 699 19207778

Galerie Michaela Stock
Schleifmühlgasse 18
1040 Vienna

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27th June – 30th August 2014

Exhibition opening: Thursday, 26th June 2014, 6 pm
Galerie Michaela Stock, Schleifmühlgasse 18, 1040 Vienna

Catalogue presentation Tomislav Gotovac TG - PURE WORDS with contributions by Suzana Milevska and Darko Šimičić.

In the exhibition titled Pure Words works from the late 1970s to 1990s of Tomislav Gotovac will be on display at the Galerie Michaela Stock.

The art exhibited challenges traditional assumptions that text (language) is the primary and most efficient communication medium. Words are abstract visual forms as well as forms that represent written (or spoken) language. They represent an irrepressible urge to picture language and evidence of the writer's use of words and images to amplify the form and effect of a message. Tomislav Gotovac is a perfect example of a conceptual, multimedia artist who used words in various media. He has produced works in which words are not the form, but the content of his expression.
(excerpt from the text Words, Words, Tomislav Gotovac by Jadranka Vinterhalter/Words & Images, ed. by Branka Stipančić, 1995, p.73)

Suzana Milevska | Tomislav Gotovac's Embodied Violent Speech Acts as a Counter-discourse and Institutional Critique

[...] The analysis of curses and other expletives takes a very important part in any analysis of countercultural discourses but I want to emphasise that Gotovac had created a certain idiolect out of the pre-existing phrases that was not pre-existing and already available in the dominant culture at the period of the works' emergence but it was his unique artistic and conceptual practice that constructed it in a response to the dominant art scene at the time.

It is important to state that the artist himself was aware of the usual affects associated with the phrase but he denied the negativity and aggression that is usually affiliated with any curse and other swearwords. He put emphasis on the meaning that relates this statement rather to disappointment, despair, resentment and one could say even with frustration. And truly, if one watches the documented performance when the statement 'I've fucking had it' originally occurred in Gotovac's work for the first time it is obvious that there is no place left for ambivalence and confusion: Gotovac's revolt towards the predominant officially accepted art and culture in the late 1970s in former Yugoslavia is the target of his expletive. In a way his intention is to offend in return, to respond to the official art scene with obscenity available in the language in the same way in which he as an artist feels hurt, offended because of the ignorance, disinterest and indifference with which art and artists have been treated by the officials. In the artist's own words
'In my opinion, 'God screw me' in this context is neither an anti-religious nor foul curse, it is a folksy curse, a phrase of a characteristically passive character that accurately reflects the spirit of us Croats; this is not an aggressive curse, just as 'I've fucking had it' and 'I don't give a fuck' are not aggressive. These curses are an expression of metaphysical despair, not of aggression.' [...]

Read the whole essay >