Momčilo Golub / Who would remember the apple if he never saw one?
A full stop to start a new story
Although Momčilo Golub returned “home” with his 1999 exhibition and then exhibited in his city in 2013 and 2016, we might say that his new work had put a full stop on a sentence started in 1983 with the brilliant and wickedly significant exhibition “Marble for Venus’ hip” in Umjetnički Salon Gallery, Split. Not only because that old “Rabbit Listening to the Stars” has a new life combined with deer’s horns from the cover of the “Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung” (perhaps as a subconscious hommage to Dürer, Beuys and Irwin), or the curtains in which insects are tangled and suggest transparent tactility which offered by drapery studies from paintings by old masters, and parts of instruments in new installations are followed by cellos from 2015, but all this is in fact a continuation of the 1983 work because of the creative process continued by the artist’s systematic questioning of tangible materiality and artistic “reality”. Today, unlike many works from the eighties and the age of Golub’s flight over the cuckoo’s nest when he challenged the relationship between the artwork/artifacts (through photos of reproductions of masterpieces) and real materials, far more by using everyday objects that are denied their original practicality and purpose. The same way masterpieces from world museums were “denied” the uniqueness of art by transforming them into a multifaceted ready-made museum poster or “merchandise”. This is an interesting and typical for Golub – an inversion: art initially became a useful object, and then, deprived of its original intent, a “material” of a new art object, so that with every new cycle of works, everyday objects could be free from any functionality, finally becoming – artwork.
Ready made, whether by aging and decaying, is deprived from its original function or, on the other hand, a newly acquired fishing rod, shovel or broom, are devoid of original purpose through subsequent intervention up to the point of absurdity and parody. Pieces of everyday objects were used as a material for art objects created from contemplation. In its basis once and perhaps today – we can recognize some of the Buddhist search for insight into the “transience of all things,” or the lack of substance and durability. Is it then weird that time – which unquestionably flows and ultimately turns everything material and seemingly important into nothingness – is one of the “red threads” that passes through Golub’s opus? Like the bunch of metal contractors’ meters that are like grains of wheat linked by a watch that says that our obsessive measuring of time and length are so unimportant in dealing with that Big Reaper that draws everything into nothingness.
If Golub’s art objects from the eighties, like the “Alchemy of bread – from lead to gilded bronze” before “materialization” were preceded by contemplation that lies deep in the “workplace description” of a conceptual artist, the newer works are different with their “plan”. First of all, they are a fruit of intuitive collection (devoid of any logic and need other than selecting by “heart” rather than the “mind”) and then contemplation in the atelier, being adopted or, more appropriately, injected into the organic whole of the artist’s artifact.
This exhibition is therefore a full stop marking the end of a long and complex sentence, but not the end of the story because Golub’s journey continues. Maybe he no longer journeys physically with Parisian and New York addresses, but instead spiritually and artistically with ready-made objects, installations and assemblages, consistent with the basic features of the artist’s poetics. And Golub was not “born yesterday”. Even less is he a newbie-artist who owes his existence to the media and the fondness of critics. Moreover, even by his own not-choosing (humanistic worldview and spirituality that are not for this age and trenches of ground exclusivity) and with his choice of margin as a legitimate field of action, he is almost completely out of (art and media) focus of the public.
Momčilo Golub, as I said, “was not born yesterday.” He is also a medieval emissary-mystic and alchemist, a Buddhist and ascetic Catholic monk, and the heir of Dadaist practice of ready-made and assemblage from the beginning of the past Century, but at the same time, he is an insightful observer and critic of everyday life. He is giving his works a voice and word (through carefully chosen quotes and inscriptions), renouncing them in his own private world. And when art work speaks, the artist is satisfied with silence.
Zlatko Gall (2018)
Momcilo Golub was a very active participant in Croatian and international art scene in the 80s of the last century, and since 2011 he started exhibiting more frequently. He was born in Ljubuški in 1949 and he graduated at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade in 1974 and received his Master’s degree from the graphic department in 1976. Upon receiving scholarship from the French government, he specialized in painting at the ‘Ecole des Beaux-Art de Paris’ 1979/1980. In 1991 and 1992, he studied again in Paris, with scholarship from the ‘La Cité Internationale des Arts’ foundation. He lives and works in Split.
Solo exhibitions (selection):
2017 – “Instrumenti”, Forum gallery, Zagreb;
2015 – “Lirika i druge priče”, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rijeka;
2013 – “Instalacije i lirika”, Institute for Contemporary Art, Zagreb;
2013 – Salon Galić, Split;
2000 – Bežigrad gallery, Ljubljana;
1999 – „Opus“ gallery, Split;
1994 – Franz Mehring gallery, Berlin;
1991 – Antoine Candau gallery, Paris;
1990 – ULUS gallery, Belgrade;
1983 – Umjetnički salon gallery, Split;
1982 – Grafički kolektiv gallery, Belgrade;
1982 – Nova gallery, Zagreb;
1980 – Umjetnički salon gallery, Split
- 1984 – Dubrovnik salon: Installation Award
- 1983 – New York-Equitable gallery: First Award at the exhibition of new Yugoslavian art
- 1983 – Award for „Ladislav Ribnikar“ foundation
- 1974 – „KUNOVA“ award for graphic art