Julije Knifer began his career with a series of sketched self-portraits in ink and mixed-media, making them into a kind of diary from 1949 to 1952, during his studies at the Akademija likovnih umjetnosti (Academy of Fine Arts), Zagreb (1951–57). While developing his own style, he experimented with abstraction, gradually abandoning recognizable imagery. Within two years of completing his studies he defined the basic elements of his lifelong artistic approach. He radically reduced his formal repertoire to the meander in ever-changing variations through the opposition of black and white, horizontal and vertical. In 1959 he co-founded the Gorgona Group and between 1961 and 1973 he participated in four New Tendencies exhibitions at the Gallery of Contemporary Art, Zagreb. Knifer explored the meander in different genres, including geometric abstraction, neo-Constructivism, anti-art, and neo-avant-garde, but his work consistently focused on the element of time. Although Knifer mostly exhibited in Croatia, Germany, Italy, and France, his works are included in important international collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. He represented Croatia at the Venice Biennale in 2001, and a major retrospective was presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, in 2014.