Born in Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) in 1948, Braco Dimitrijević studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb before moving to Paris, where he would live and work for much of his career. He was one of the first artists to explore conceptual art in the 1970s, challenging traditional conventions and opening up new horizons of expression.

Around the mid-1970s, the artist experienced his first significant artistic transformation by incorporating original paintings borrowed from museum collections into his installations. Thus came about the project Triptychos Post Historicus, held in museums such as the Tate Gallery in London, the Louvre in Paris and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, to name but a few. In this project, artworks merge and coexist with everyday objects.

One of Braco Dimitrijević’s most famous works is the series entitled This Could be a Place of Historical Importance. In this series, the artist positions commemorative plaques in random places, such as walls or stones, giving them imaginary historical significance. With this gesture, Dimitrijević questions the ephemeral nature of artworks and our perception of history.

A new artistic turning point came in the 1980s, when Dimitrijevic began making installations with wild animals. This project would lead him to stage a major solo exhibition at the Paris Zoo in 1998, where the artist set up installations in the cages of lions, tigers, crocodiles, bison, and camels. The exhibition was to be visited by more than a million people.

Braco Dimitrijević has made a major mark in the field of contemporary art. His work is distinguished by the use of profound concepts and ideas, often exploring themes such as identity, history, and the relationship between the individual and society. More specifically, Braco Dimitrijević’s works are characterized by strong conceptual engagement. The artist explores themes such as identity, memory, history, and the relationship between the individual and the collective. He often uses iconic images and symbols to communicate his messages, referencing works of art, historical figures, and cultural archetypes. His work invites viewers to reflect on their own position in the historical and social context.

Braco Dimitrijević was one of the first artists to explore public art. His works often extend beyond traditional art gallery spaces and engage the public in urban contexts. For example, in the series Casual Passer-by I Met At…, the artist presents portraits of ordinary people on billboards, challenging the distinction between the anonymous individual and the subject of artworks.

In addition to numerous solo exhibitions at the institutional level, Braco Dimitrijević took part in Documenta 5 and 6 (1972 and 1977) and the Venice Biennale (1990 and 1992). His works are held in some of the world’s most prestigious collections, including those of the Tate Galleries (London), Centre Pompidou (Paris) and in the Terrae Motus collection at the Reggia di Caserta.

M77 Gallery had the honor of hosting Travelling to Post History: a solo exhibition by the artist curated by Danilo Eccher. For the occasion, the artist created two new works designed almost to desecrate the very idea of artwork and the very concept of the artist.

Gallery Exhibition

M77 Gallery presents a new exhibition which from 10 June will animate the gallery: Traveling to Post History, a solo exhibition by the internationally renowned artist Braco Dimitrijević (Sarajevo, 1948). The exhibition, curated by Danilo Eccher, follows the style of the latest shows presented by M77, where artists are invited to freely interact and dialogue with the spaces of the gallery, each time creating true site-specific projects.

The exhibition marks the triumphant return of the artist to Milan following his participation in the important collective show “Arts & Foods” by Germano Celant at the Triennale on the occasion of the Expo, with a presentation that offers an examination of the main themes of Dimitrijević’s work without losing the powerful dimensional strength of the installations.

Drawing inspiration from his work in the 1970s, the artist examines the relationship between chance and creativity with two never-before-seen large-scale works created especially for the exhibition, which question and almost desecrate the very idea of works of art and the concept of the artist. In that period, ahead of his time in his theories of relational aesthetics, Dimitrijević referred to the role of the artist as an “arranger”, setting up an initial situation for which the public is co-author and the final result is unpredictable.

Visitors are welcomed by an imposing installation centred on two boats with sails that portray the faces of artists and intellectuals such as Tesla, Modigliani, Malevich and Goncharova, who all shared alternating critical success and were recognised only many years after having produced the works for which they are now considered masters. As well as the casual nature of fame, in these works in which the portraits are accompanied by an organic element – in this case coconuts -, Dimitrijević also focuses on nature and its capacity to rebalance the forces in play. It is a recurrent presence throughout the artist’s work.

The exhibition continues with two series of works by the artist set around the large installation Heralds of Post History, a piece that was previously presented in Arts & Foods. The Balkan Walzer series consists of portraits of famous composers “defaced” by pickaxes that break the glass surface and remain wedged in the picture, with a red chilli pepper evoking a trickle of blood. This series introduces other themes dear to the artist, such as the continuous blending of nature and artifice (fruit and everyday objects), the references to historical figures that have a particular meaning for him, to be honoured or stigmatised, thus expressing ethical and aesthetic judgements on Culture, Art and the role of the artist.

The second selection of works is dedicated instead to another important body of the artist’s work consisting of installations which create magical encounters between wild animals and works of art. Silent dialogues in which nature and culture come face to face in a suspended dimension.

As suggested by the title of the exhibition, the work of Braco Dimitrijević originates from a critical standpoint with regards to History. The artist developed the concept of “Post History” in the treatise Tractatus Post Historicus from 1976, a few years before the creation of the term Postmodernism, defining it as a coexistence of different concepts and models, a pluralism of the truth and time of a multi-angular vision.

“In reality, chance is hidden determinism, as nothing really happens by chance, everything needs to be seen from a cosmic perspective” – explains the artist. “This is demonstrated by the many errors of history, which pushes people to the side-lines as though they were “passers-by”, to then re-propose them as heroes. One only has to think of Kafka, El Greco forgotten for 300 years, Van Gogh and many others. I tell this story”.

The exhibition will be open to the public until 28 September 2019 and will be accompanied by a catalogue in which the curator Danilo Eccher converses with the artist.