Goran Trbuljak. From Self Ironic to Self Sardonic (with 40 years of non-painting)


From Self Ironic to Self Sardonic
With 40 years of non-painting

Opening: September 17, 2021 | 6 – 9pm
September 18 – November 20, 2021

Gregor Podnar is pleased to present the gallery’s third solo exhibition by prolific artist, Goran Trbuljak (1948). Based in the significant avant-garde city of Zagreb, Trbuljak has been a pioneer of conceptual art, whose oeuvre dates from the late 1960s and continues to this day. Trbuljak has repeatedly adopted procedures of painting throughout his practice which question his own position as an artist, as well as art in the context and perception of contemporary society. His work examines the mechanisms by which something is accepted as art and confronts the autonomy of the museum-gallery system. With Trbuljak’s reductionist painting exercises he explores the concrete processes of creation that make a work of art. His methods, without any emotions, illusions, symbolism, narration or literature, examine the very essence of the painting and reduces art exclusively to its basic functions. With his experimentations of “non-painting”, Trbuljak challenges the discipline of painting as the ultimate expression of art. For the artist, a simple gesture can function as a contribution to an artistic or social system, an action for which is compounded with traces of humour and self-irony.

The exhibition presents works from Trbuljak’s early career from his infamous “Sunday Painting” (1974) to more recent works, such as „Easel Paintings“ (2016-2018) or “Sketch for sculpture” (2019). In these later works Trbuljak imitates the formalised still life scenes typically found throughout the canon of art history, creating sculptural compositions that feature traditional tools of painting. However, the apparatus Trbuljak depicts are generic in nature inherent of mass-production, with brightly coloured and reflective plasticised surfaces, juxtaposing the manufactured with the unique – the hobbyist with the master.

Goran Trbuljak was born in Varaždin, Croatia and lives and works in Zagreb. Trbuljak’s most recent solo exhibitions were held at Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rijeka (2019); Villa delle Rose, Bologna (2019); Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva (2018); Muzej-Museo Lapidarium, Novigrad (2016); and P420, Bologna (2014) amongst others. Trbuljak has been included in a number of group exhibitions at internationally renowned institutions, such as Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana (2017); Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea, Milan (2016); Museum of Modern Art – MoMA, New York (2015); Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2015); Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro – MAM Rio (2014); Moderna galerija, Lubljana (2013); and Pompidou Centre, Paris (2010). Additionally, he represented Croatia at the 51st (2005) and 47th (1995) Venice Biennials.