Damir Babic

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May 26, 2003
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Article

Fruitful doubt

Damic Babic is one of the most startling young artists currently practising in Croatia. Remaining independent of the trends that influence the contemporary Croatian art scene, he creates uncompromising works that make powerful yet sensitive statements about the poverty that afflicts many in Croatia today.
He emerged in the Croatian art scene during the early 1990s. Though he was still a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb at that time, his works instantly attracted the attention of art critics and curators. He builds models and installations and also works in photography and with objects, often using basic foodstuffs, which refer to essentials of daily survival. A firm commitment to social issues is central to his artistic vision and practice: ‘The work of art,’ Babic says, ‘happens in the dramatic meeting of inner reality and the actual living present, the social reality we all live in, whether we accept or refuse its rules.’

The encounter between society’s ills and Babic’s own experience of poverty find poignant expression in his installation ‘Ground Floor’ made for Gallery Karas in Zagreb in 1999. Babic installed a prison bar across the staircase that led from the ground floor to the first floor of the gallery, blocking access to the higher levels of the building. At the foot of the stairs, he arranged beans to form the Croatian coat of arms.

In another work ‘If’, conceived in 2000, Babic’s concerns found honest political articulation. Working in a small gallery with two large windows looking out onto the street, Babic bound up bed-sheets and hung them from one of the windows to the opposite side of the street, as if to suggest escape. Flies were stuck to the inner side of the window. Babic then took photographs of the windows, in which the sheets were reflected. He then enlarged the images and mounted them on the opposite walls of the gallery. ‘If’ was a candid comment on the elections that took place on the same day of the show. The work has subsequently toured from Zagreb to Sarajevo, Rijeka and Vevey in Switzerland.

Babic seeks inspiration by placing himself in unfamiliar circumstances, believing that ‘art is essentially the process of fruitful doubt and it finds stimulation in facing new environments that put into question its inceptions and goals.’



Bio

Damir Babic was born in Zagreb in 1962. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb and graduated in 1991. He has exhibited widely in Croatia and has also participated in numerous shows abroad, in Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria, Italy and Switzerland.

Projects

This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the culturebase.net partner institutions.

Spike Island International Fellowship 2001

(01 April 01 - 31 August 01)

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Kapelica Gallery, Ljubljana