Dec 14 to Feb 2
Igor Grubić

366 Liberation Rituals


366 reasons

366 Liberation Rituals, whose starting point is, among other things, the 40th anniversary of 1968, consists of a series of everyday small rituals which touch upon the problems of the society I live in. With my actions, I evoke youthful enthusiasm, rebellion, idealism, nostalgia. Regardless of the fact that they may sometimes seem utopian, naive, or even pathetic, the rituals point to the basic human need to question the world around us, and the need for change.

At the same time, considering the fact that I myself will turn 40 this year and that I am going through the «mid-life crisis», with this act I am in a way also fighting against the socially imposed perception of my own age which, in the conventional view, is supposed to reflect ‘seriousness’, professional achievement, material security. Through small rituals I try to achieve some form of liberation from routine habits, from the need for security and conformity which, as I grow older, are becoming more prominent. The rituals are a way of resisting those inner compulsions, automatisms but also to my own feeling of shame and the need for acceptance.

After going through a series of tragedies, in 2007 I made a radical decision to quit doing my job as a film producer. I decided to dedicate the whole 2008 to dealing intensely with art, but not as before, by doing it simultaneously with other jobs that I earned my living with. It was a decision to fight against my own despondency, lethargy, potential silencing.

I have realized long ago that there are always the same people circulating in the art world, so I have started to ask myself who I actually wished and needed to address? I thought about going back to the strategies I used in my earlier work and about going to the streets again, among random passersby. With such an approach, I partly referred to the heritage of conceptual art practices of this region, in which, for example, the Group of Six Artists played a significant role.

Although the photographs of particular actions do not seem disturbing, they have had quite the opposite, fierce, reactions in public: from shouts of approval and support to eggthrowing and real physical threats. Priests reacted, police reacted, security was called, and photographers that were to assist me gave up on the project. The citizens’ reactions reminded me of the film Easy Rider from the 1960s. Similar situations were happening here in the 1970s and 1980s when hippies and punkers were beaten up. A simple question occurred to me every time in these situations: why do people react so violently to those who are different and have different opinions?

Performing rituals in public, and not within safe art circles, was, as in some of my earlier works, a great experience for me. It was a continuous exercise in giving myself over to uncertainty through the reactions of others. The most important thing in all of these processes (along with not giving up on my principles) was exposing myself to the experience of confrontation and observing the ways in which I deal with potential threat, aggression and the unacceptance by others.

I do not separate art from everyday life. By taking on the role of an artist, I am aware that I am stepping out into the public sphere, where the eyes of the public are on me and therefore all my actions need to be responsible.

While conceptualizing my actions, I spontaneously followed my emotional impulses. They are much stronger than intellectual impulses. When I think about injustice in society that bothers me, emotion becomes a trigger for action. Through the act of ‘exposing myself’ in public, I experience catharsis; I try to be consistent with myself and to clearly express what I think and feel. I also try to confront the passivity of the majority, convinced that there is always a chance to encourage at least someone to express their opinion. Creativity explores, experiments, breaks down boundaries, meets others through play, by which it develops tolerance, compassion, and it liberates. If we were all more creative at what we do, we would live in a happier society. (Igor Grubić)


Igor Grubić, born in 1969, Zagreb/Croatia, enrolled in 1992 in a course of philosophy and later psychotherapeutic education based on Gestalt and Transactional analysis. As a visual artist, since 1996 he has mainly produced site-specific interventions in public spaces, with the aim of involving others in the creative process. Since 2000 he has worked as a producer and journalist and director at Fade In, a studio for activist video, on the production of documentaries, TV reports and socially committed TV advertising. He has exhibited his work widely, e.g. at Manifesta 4, Frankfurt; Tirana Biennale 2; 50th October Salon Belgrade; «Gender Check», Mumok, Vienna and Warsaw; 11th Istanbul Biennial.