Residency Unlimited

The Virtual Museum of Avant-Garde:
Aleksandar Srnec & The Neo-Avant-garde

Presentation and Film Screening by Branko Franceschi

Films by Srnec: “Beginnings”, “Lines” and “Man and the Shadow”

Date & Time: Thursday, November 3, 2011, 7:00 PM
Location: Residency Unlimited, 360 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231 (F/G Train to Carroll Street) Big green church doors

Through the lense of the oeuvre of Croatian artist Aleksandar Srnec (1924 – 2010), Branko Franceschi will highlight the extraordinary level of creativity present in Yugoslavia’s neo-avant-garde scene that began in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Franceschi is the director of the Virtual Museum of Avant-Garde, a platform to exhibit the extensive Marinko Sudac Collection. Srnec’s work is included in this major collection devoted to avant-garde art and culture from the former Yugoslavia and to advancing its international visibility and understanding.

For the purposes of this presentation, Franceschi has selected 3 films that Srnec produced in the early sixties, namely “Beginnings”, “Lines” and “Man and the Shadow”. These films are a manifestation of the contemporaneous artistic production in Croatia and reflect Srnec’s close affiliations to avant-garde groups such as EXAT 51, Gorgona, the series of exhibitions New Tendencies, GEFF (Genre Experimental Film Festival) and the Zagreb School of Animated Films.

As the lead instigator of Southeastern European avant-garde art today, the Marinko Sudac Collection has organized and produced two major solo retrospectives highlighting Srnec’s pivotal importance as a groundbreaking multidisciplinary artist. The first opened in 2008, in the City of Varaždin, followed by the opening exhibition of the new building of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb in 2010. In addition, the Marinko Sudac Collection published a comprehensive monograph on the artist entitled “Present Absence”.

A key artist of the second half of the 20th century, Aleksandar Srnec’s influence has had a large impact throughout Croatia, Yugoslavia and the entire region. Since the early 50’s, his art practice spanned painting and drawing, interactive and kinetic sculpture, lumino-sculpture, prints, animated films, graphic design (book covers, poster, and magazine cover design), architectural design, advertisements and branding design. In each of these categories, Srnec introduced innovative concepts and technical solutions, which made him one of the most influential artists of his time. As cofounder of EXAT 51, an art group and movement that proclaimed the first Manifesto opposing social realism aesthetics (1951), he participated in the organization of the first exhibition of abstract art (1953, Zagreb) in the socialist world. He was also an active participant of New Tendencies, an international movement and exhibition series organized in Zagreb between 1961 – 1973. Finally, Srnec’s application of neo-constructivist aesthetics in visual arts, design and architecture enabled him to achieve a realization of the utopian concept of total design in everyday life.
Bio: Branko Franceschi

Branko Franceschi is currently Director of the Virtual Museum of the Avant-garde in Croatia. He was curator of the Croatian contributions to the 16th Sao Paulo Biennial (2004), 2nd International Biennial in Prague (2005), 52nd Venice Biennial (2007), 11th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice Biennial (2008), and was co-curator of the 2nd Biennial of Young Artists, Bucharest (2006). He created a residency for Croatian artists at MoMA PS1 in New York from 2001-2007, at Art in General since 2004. He is currently the president of AICA Croatia.

RU TALK: The Virtual Museum Of Avant-Garde: Aleksander Srnec & The Neo-Avant Garde

Branko Franceschi’s residency at Residency Unlimited is made possible by the CEC ArtsLink Awards Program.

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