Matko Meštrović

Matko Meštrovic was a leading figure in the international New Tendencies (in Croatian: Nove tendencije) art-movement in the 1960s. His publications cover inter-disciplinary critical theory, art criticism, and new information technologies.
His books Dispersion of Meaning - The Fading Out of the Doctrinaire World? (2008) and Towards a New Orientation (2012) are published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

 

Art historian, former professor at the Faculty of Architecture, University of Zagreb, interdisciplinary oriented, he is today emeritus senior research fellow at the Zagreb Institute of Economics. He was a leading figure in the international New Tendencies movement in the 1960s. His publications cover inter-disciplinary critical theory, art criticism, and new information technologies. He was director of the Institute for Culture of Croatia for five years (1987-1992). His interest in technology and information science goes back to activities in the Croatian Sociological Society and the International Association of Mass Communication Researchers (IAMCR) in the 70s. Being the consultant to general manager of Zagreb Radio and Television, he tried to introduce the most advanced professional and theoretical know-how concerning public information. The 60s were the period of his life completely devoted to the newly established Centre for Industrial Design. Then, he was also very close to ICSID (the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design). He already had gained a reputation among avant-garde artists and scientists as the organizer of the international New Tendencies movement (Donald D. Egbert, Social Radicalism and the Arts - West Europe, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1970). He was also a member of Zagreb art group Gorgona.

As recently documented by a huge book about New Tendencies and Bit International, 1961-1973, ed. by Margit Rosen, The MIT Press, 2011, that was a short but intense artistic experiment which took place in Yugoslavia some fifty years ago, but whose impact has been felt far beyond that time and place. It was through the activities of that movement, known as Nove tendencije, and its supporting institution, the Galerija suvremene umjetnosti, Zagreb, that the “thinking machine” was adopted as an artistic tool and medium.

As Darko Fritz has explained, during the late 1950’s and early 1960s group of artists start to resist the notion of individual artists’ expressions of than-dominated informel and abstract expressionism. The new approach was rational art that appropriated scientific working methods and start to employ new technologies, materials and methods in art practice. Discourse in art changed: artists shift to researchers or workers; intuitive art process shift to rational structuralized experiment following the terminated program; paintings and sculptures shift to objects, multiples and installations often using light as material; an individual artist creation shift to the subject of group work and art groups itself shift to interdisciplinary teams.

Recognizing such activities around the world an umbrella network was established in Zagreb, that presented pluralistic scene of such art practices. The Gallery of Contemporary Art organized five New Tendencies [NT] exhibitions in Zagreb from 1961 to 1973; in addition, large-scale international exhibitions were held in Paris, Venice and Leverkusen, West Germany. The movement was truly international, both transgressing Cold War blocs and including South American and, later, Asian artists. That situation, unique within the Cold War context, was possible due to Zagreb’s position in then-socialist but non-aligned Yugoslavia.

With their exhibitions and conferences on the theme of computers and visual research and the launch of the multilingual, groundbreaking magazine bit international in 1968, the New Tendencies transformed Zagreb, already one of the most vibrant artistic centers in Yugoslavia, into an international meeting place where artists, engineers, and scientists from both sides of the Iron Curtain gathered around the then-new technology.




Computer and Visual Research - Ways of Thinking and Scope of Acting

An essay by Matko Meštrović from his book Dispersion of Meaning - The Fading Out of the Doctrinaire World? (Cambridge Scholars Publishing):

In his letter addressed to the Zagreb Museum of Contemporary Art, in June last year, Frieder Nake asked a curious question: How did it happen that Zagreb for a few years became a very important place for this kind of art and visual research … (Frieder Nake, June 16, 2003).
When I recently received a copy of his letter I was quite embarrassed: How a man who visited that city for several times and regularly participated in activity of its museum from 1968 to 1973 could ask such a question? But trying to react, I found myself uncertain of what really was happening there in those five years.

New Meštrović's book published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing

After having published his book Dispersion of Meaning - The Fading Out of the Doctrinaire World? (2008), the same publisher CSP - Cambridge Scholars Publishing has just published a collection of nine inter-linked essays by Matko Meštrović under the title Towards a New Orientation. A Croatian version of the book, Prema novom usmjerenju, was published by Zagreb publisher Antibarbarus.

A Little-Known Story about a Movement, a Magazine, and the Computer’s Arrival in Art

New Tendencies and Bit International, 1961–1973

published by ZKM / Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe and The MIT Press, documents a short but intense artistic experiment which took place in Zagreb fifty years ago, but whose impact has been felt far beyond that time and place.

review

How Are You? by Barbara Matejčić, a review

LIT LINK FESTIVAL 2017

"From time to time, a literary work would appear that would succeed in giving a voice to the voiceless ones. How Are You?, an excellent collection of short stories by a Croatian journalist and writer Barbara Matejčić, is one of these literary works.
The author has spent a period of her life with her characters, being with them, helping them and listening to their stories, and her method is hence intrinsically one typical of investigative journalism."
Saša Ilić, eurolitnetwork.com

prose

Tea Tulić: The Hair is everywhere (Selection)

LIT LINK FESTIVAL 2017

Tea Tulić was born in Rijeka (Croatia) in 1978. Her work was published in various Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian and Slovenian literature and cultural magazines including McSweeney’s from San Francisco. In 2011, she won Prozak, a literary award for the best young author’s manuscript, which resulted in publication of her first book, a fragmentary novel Kosa posvuda (Hair Everywhere). The novel received numerous positive reviews and was included in the top five prose books of the 2011 by Vijesnik daily newspaper, The Croatian Ministry of Culture awarded it as one of the best prose books in 2011. Hair Everywhere is also translated and published in UK, Italy, Macedonia and Serbia. In 2014. in cooperation with the musical collective Japanski Premijeri, she published spoken word album Albumče on Bandcamp.
She is a jury member of international short prose competition Lapis Histrae and a member of RiLit, a non-formal group of writers from Rijeka. Her new novel “Maksimum jata” (Flock’s maksimum) is recently published.

CM extensions

Film festivals in Croatia

The Croatian Audiovisual Centre currently co-finances 59 film festivals and other audiovisual events. These serve various functions: they are particularly important for promoting Croatian audiovisual creation and serve as a platform for screening artistic content and non-commercial film forms, which makes them relevant on a local, regional, national and, in some cases, international level.

report

The Little Black Egg: a punk excursion to Croatia

"It’s called Rijecki Novi Val. (Novi Val is Croatian for New Wave.) This is one of the best collections of anything I ever acquired. Punk and New Wave were huge in the Balkans. I said it once, and I’ll say it again: the ex-YU countries are responsible for the some of the best punk music made anywhere."

interview

An interview with Zdenko Franjić

Starting out in 1987, Croatian record label Slusaj Najglasnije! (or Listen Loudest!) documented many of Croatia’s greatest bands, including Majke, Hali Gali Halid, Satan Panonski, Bambi Molestors, and many others. Over time, Listen Loudest! evolved, and today releases music from artists the world around. The mastermind behind Listen Loudest, Zdenko Franjic, has been kept his label/life mission together for over thirty years without a break.

panorama

20 Essential Films for an Introduction to Yugoslavian Cinema

Once upon a time there was a country, and that country made films. The films produced in the former Yugoslavia remain fascinating for anyone interested in the country or in films. This list is by no means definitive, for Yugoslav cinema is too rich and varied for that. It is rather, a primer for those unfamiliar with the region, the best bits from each era and each generation.

panorama

Croatian Sites on UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List

A little know fact is that Croatia, together with Spain, have the most cultural and historical heritage under the protection of UNESCO, and Croatia has the highest number of UNESCO intangible goods of any European country.

panorama

Dancing under socialism: rare electronic music from Yugoslavia

In the last couple of years, various collections of electronic music from former Yugoslavia popped up, ranging from numerous downloadable CDR mixtapes to official compilation albums. Yet there are several more waiting in line to be pressed and, as you will see, these are most definitely worth waiting for.

news

First Croatian newspaper for asylum-seekers, refugees launched

The monthly publication was launched with the aim of establishing closer mutual trust and offering information to people who were forced to leave their homes in search of protection and security, it was said at the launch.
Most of the newspapers' authors are asylum-seekers.

panorama

Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb

The National Theater in Zagreb, Croatia’s capital, is one of those things which always finds its way to every visitor’s busy schedule.

panorama

Zagreb Festivals and Cultural Events

Numerous festivals, shows and exhibitions are held annually in Zagreb. Search our what's on guide to arts & entertainment.

panorama

A History of Eastern European Matchboxes

Although they were produced under strict state-controlled production processes; that were aimed at exploiting them as a means of publicizing political initiatives, promoting public health and safety, and selling the communist ideal both at home and abroad, the artists used them as a vehicle to experiment with various imaginative ideas and artistic techniques, achieving truly stunning results.

Authors' pages

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