Ivan Grubanov, ‘United Dead Nations’, 2015, 56th Venice Biennale

Image rights: Courtesy of the Artist and Loock Gallery

About Ivan Grubanov

Ivan Grubanov explores the limits of art as a tool for driving social change and for documenting and interpreting history, in painting, drawing, and installation work. One series of abstract paintings, “Smokescreens”, which Grubanov created by controlling the effect of smoke on fresh layers of oil paint on canvas and combining each with a line of text, has been described as embodying the artist’s frustration with the limits of humanity’s ability to express a desire for political change. One smokescreen is combined with the text, “the self-immolation of Mohammed Bouazizi,” referring to the man who triggered the revolutions in the Arab world starting in 2010. Grubanov’s work includes a series of drawings created in the courtroom of The International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague that document Slobodan Milosevic’s trial, and drawings of mass graves in his native former Yugoslavia. The artist penned a manifesto, Evil Painter Principle, on visual and political representation in the arts, in which he stresses the relevance of painting as a form of resistance.

Serbian, b. 1976, Belgrade, Serbia