Ivan Kožarić

  • Born 1921 in Petrinja, Croatia (former Yugoslavia)

Ivan Kožarić is a leading conceptual artist of his generation. He creates humorous work in a variety of media, from sculpture to textual propositions, often rearranging previous works or returning to earlier ideas. After completing his studies at the Akademija likovnih umjetnosti (Academy of Fine Arts) in Zagreb in 1947, Kožarić focused on the human figure. Osjećaj cjeline (A Feeling of Wholeness) (1953–54), marked a turn to the abstract. In 1960, following a short stint in Paris, he joined Gorgona, a loosely organized group with such artists as Dimitrije Bašičević (Mangelos) (1921–1987) and Josip Vaništa (b. 1924). Gorgona’s activities included ephemeral actions such as completing absurd questionnaires, taking group walks, and creating an “anti-magazine” of artist projects. During the 1960s, Kožarić created sculptures of negative volumes. For the Venice Biennale in 1976, Kožarić created Hrpa (Heaps), piling his previous objects carelessly. For Documenta 11 in 2002, he exhibited the entire contents of his studio. In 2007, the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb acquired his studio collection—more than 6,000 works—which he has reinstalled multiple times. In 2013, Haus der Kunst mounted Freedom Is a Rare Bird, Kožarić’s most comprehensive survey exhibition to date outside of Croatia.