Branko Balić – The Attentive Observer

Museum of Arts and Crafts
October 29 – November 24, 2019


The retrospective exhibition of photographer Branko Balić (1930–1976) is a result of years of professional and scholarly processing of his valuable legacy – an archival collection of about 12,000 photographic negatives, stored at the Institute of Art History in Zagreb since 1977.

Branko Balić was a chronicler of Croatian cultural and social events, as well as artistic networks and tendencies, from the late 1950s to the mid-1970s, all of which can be relevantly researched today owing to his professional involvement.

He continuously filmed the studios of artists, architects, and designers: places where artworks were created and vibrant contemporary art practices emerged, crucial to the development of visual culture in the second half of the 20th century. Much of his opus consists of portraits of persons from public (mostly artistic and theatrical) life in Croatia.

With only a few preserved vintage authorial photographs, the exhibition focuses on some of Balić’s more famous series: for example, Adoration, a performance by members of the Gorgona group during the solo exhibition of Julius Knifer at the Gallery of Contemporary Art, at its former location in Zagreb’s Upper Town in 1966, portraits of artists, or photographs of significant exhibitions held at the Museum of Arts and Crafts, Gallery of Contemporary Art, and Art Pavilion in Zagreb during the 1960s. Some of these series are unique and therefore crucial for further research, understanding, and valorisation of contemporary art in our region. An example of this is the symposium and working meeting New Tendencies 3, held in 1965 at Brezovica Castle.

Balić’s studies of the city of Zagreb in the late 1950s and Karlovac in the mid-1960s, as well as his individualistic presentations of contemporary architecture and architectural models, show him as an author of interesting poetics in the field of architectural and industrial photography.

In addition to the modern prints of digitized original black and white negatives and the primary information about the author’s photographic legacy, the exhibition provides a wealth of information on the context of the emergence and use of the so-called applied photography in its original function, which is accessible at a reference library that is an integral part of the exhibition.

Organizers: Museum of Arts and Crafts and Institute of Art History
Authors: Irena Šimić (IPU) i Sandra Križić Roban (IPU)
Curators: Irena Šimić (IPU), Sandra Križić Roban (IPU), Iva Prosoli (MUO)
Curator of MUO exhibitons: Adriana Belay
Visual identity: bilić_müller studio
Exhibition layout design: Mirna Horvat
Associate IPU: Lina Šojat (library)
Digitization: Paolo Mofardin, Irena Šimić
Photographers: Paolo Mofardin (IPU), Srećko Budek (MUO), Vedran Benović (MUO)
Prepress and printing: Fini print (Ivan Kuharić)
Proofreading: Aleksandra Vagner
Translation: Marina Schumann
Educational workshop MUO: Iva Novak
Restorer MUO: Ksenija Pintar
Head of IT unit MUO: Zoran Svrtan
Technical realization: MUO Technical Service
Head of technical unit MUO: Irma Huić
Marketing MUO: Vesna Jurić Bulatović, Vesna Validžić, Marija Jurkić
Public relations MUO: Andrea Gerenčer

The exhibition was realized with the financial support of the City of Zagreb and the Institute of Art History.

The preparation of the exhibition was co-financed in 2017 by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia.

Sponsors: Crescat d.o.o., G3 Spirits d.o.o.

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Irena Šimić
Sandra Križić Roban

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