Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb is opening an exhibition, titled Ascending Descending Genealogy, to celebrate conceptual pioneer and native son Tomislav Gotovac (1937-2010). Gotovac experimented in photography, film and his actions and happenings influenced the development of performance art in the former Yugoslavia. This newest retrospective exhibition has been organized by Vesna Meštrić (Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb) and Darko Šimičić (Tomislav Gotovac Institute), in conversation with the French art critic and independent curator Pierre Bal-Blanc.

The exhibition is centered around works by Gotovac which were featured at the National Arts Gallery in Tirana in 2021, in a show curated by Bal-Blanc titled Non-Canonical Gospel according to Tomislav Gotovac also known as Antonio G. Lauer, which consisted of a series of video installations and photographs that document the artist's performative acts and his cinema. Throughout his career the artist explored issues of identity, gender, and the limits of artistic expression, with his performances also serving to provide biting commentary on the state of Socialist Yugoslavia.

Bal-Blanc decided to utilize two levels of exhibition space available at Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb to arrange works by Gotovac into five conceptually distinct parts which are connected to each other through sequences of association. In the curator's interpretation photographs and films which were created by the artist, and accessories and costumes that belonged to and were used by him in his performances, are presented in a sequential manner. Bal-Blanc highlights the unity of Gotovac's artistic oeuvre, who frequently performed under the alias Antonio G. Lauer.

Bal-Blanc included the works of other Croatian and international artists whose style matches Gotovac's experimental creations. Film projections are being screened at Gorgona Hall in the museum as part of the programme. The artist's daughter, Sarah Gotovac, has kindly loaned most of the materials which are being displayed from her own personal collection, in cooperation with the Tomislav Gotovac Institute. These are exhibited alongside representative works from all phases of the artist's activity which the museum has in its own collection. The organizers of this exhibition have also edited a publication containing texts by Bal-Blanc, Meštrić and Šimičić.

Gotovac's art can be found in prestigious collections in Austria, Hungary, the Netherlands, France, Poland, Croatia and Serbia and has most recently been displayed in Tirana and Vienna. More information about the show can found on the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb site.

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