Ivan Picelj

  • Born 1924 in Okučani, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
  • Died 2001 in Zagreb, Croatia

After studying at the Akademija likovnih umjetnosti (Academy of Fine Arts) in Zagreb from 1943 to 1946, Ivan Picelj co-founded EXAT 51 (short for Experimental Atelier), a Croatian avant-garde group that operated from 1950 to 1956. Influenced by Russian Constructivism and the Bauhaus, the collective advocated geometric abstraction, spatial innovation, and synthesis of all visual art forms. Picelj developed a clean, modular style that translated from gridded painting and sculpture to graphic design. EXAT 51’s first painting show was held in Picelj’s apartment in 1952. That same year, Picelj was among the EXAT 51 members who showed at the seventh Salon des réalités nouvelles in Paris. With EXAT 51, Picelj helped organize the first Zagreb trijenale (Zagreb Triennial) in 1955 and establish the Studio for Industrial Design in 1956. From 1961 to 1967 Picelj was a member of the art movement New Tendencies, the first group in Yugoslavia to survey cutting-edge international contemporary practices such as conceptual, kinetic, environmental, and computer art. A successful designer of graphics and international pavilions for Yugoslavian artists, Picelj founded the publication A in 1962. In 1965, Picelj’s work was included in the so-called op art exhibition The Responsive Eye at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Artworks by Ivan Picelj in the exhibition