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Igor Grubić

*1969 in Zagreb, Croatia, lives in Zagreb.

Missing Architecture

'Missing Architecture' was realized in 2012 in collaboration with the Islamic community of Modica in Sicily as part of the festival 'I Vespri. Civic Forum in Five Acts'. From 827 until 1061 Sicily was under Arabic rule. The local dialect, the names of many villages and even family names bear marks from the Arabian language. Also the kitchen in Sicily shows many influences of the high Arabic food culture.

Starting point of the work was the fact, that despite its large Muslim community, quintessential places for worship like Mosques no longer exist. Igor Grubic recreates the conditions for a delicate architecture: foundations, walls, a minaret, and above all a dialogue with the muezzin, who thanks to 'Missing Architecture' chants 'Adhan' for the first time since centuries in public – for a new and expanded audience – 5 times from dawn to dusk during the time of the festival.

366 Liberation Rituals

In his '366 Liberation Rituals' – an entire series of staged interventions and performances in public areas – the artist works through the experiences of his childhood and youth in the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia. He plays with the insignia of proletarian revolution, the red flag and the red neckerchief worn by countless Communist youth organisations. Grubić’s staged rituals of liberation, no doubt, include the liberation from his own past, the liberation from the restrictions of his youth, but also from those imposed by the transformation of society.

The '366 Liberation Rituals' are also an hommage to the action Red Peristyle, which took place in January 1968 at the Roman Peristyle in Split, when the ancient courtyard of the Diocletian Palace from the fourth century A.D. was painted in red by an anonymous group of artists and activists. 30 years later, in January 1998, Igor Grubić painted over night a black circle in the courtyard, 'Black Peristyle'. In a corner the artist left a message, that the black circle reflected "like a magic mirror the state of social consciousness". Ten years later, and 40 years after the 'revolutionary' 1968, Igor Grubić decided to dedicate each day of the year 2008 to a certain 'revolutionary' activity.

The acts of civil disobedience and political artistic activism are documented in several hundred photographs and arranged on 33 individual boards. Each board carries a text written by the artist, which gives a short explanation of the liberation ritual.

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Angels with Dirty Faces

At the end of 2000, miners from the Kolubara Mine in Serbia went on strike. The coal they normally produced covered virtually half of Serbia's energy needs. The strike forced the last Communist president of Yugoslavia and Serbia, Slobodan Milošević, to resign. While still in office, he was charged with genocide during the Kosovo War by the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. In reference to Wim Wenders 'Wings of Desire', Igor Grubić dedicated an entire group of works, 'Angels with Dirty Face, to the miners, the real 'working heroes', who brought the Communist regime in fromer Yugoslavia down.

East Side Story

After Croatia declared its independence in 1991, the Erdut Agreement finally brought an end to the Croatian War which lasted almost four years. There was and is discrimination against homosexuals in many of the former Eastern Block countries. The first Gay Pride parades took place in Belgrade and Zagreb in 2001 and 2002. Around 300 activists and official representatives of the government took part. However, there were violent clashes between the parade-goers and organized neo-Nazis and others who were against those taking part and anyone who sympathized with the cause. One half of the screen of 'East Side Story' shows documentary footage of the outbreaks of extreme anger and violence. On the other half of the screen, dance theatre performers can be seen imitating these outbreaks of hatred, with a slight time delay, at the same locations in Zagreb a couple of years later. Although the Croatian state strengthened the legal rights of homosexuals in 2003, there were outbreaks of extreme violence against those taking part in a Gay Parade in Split as recent as 2011.

'East Side Story' received the T-HT Award from T-Hrvatski Telekom in 2010. The prize is awarded in conjunction with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb.

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