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Galerija Rigo
2008. spacer Milivoj Mijošek
Iz fundusa galerije
Pero Dabac
Andreja Kulunčić
Christoph Feichtinger
Media-Scape 2008
Rajko Radovanović

1 2 3 4 5 
Pero Dabac
Lieber Pero
Pero Dabac, Lieber Pero
18. VII. – 10. VIII. 2008.
Galerija Rigo
Photo Diary
The principal task of keeping diaries, whether in literary, visual or other form, is to defy oblivion. The most frequent reasons for keeping diaries are usually the crucial moments in our lives that we wish to hang on to, or, on the other hand, the loss of something (or someone) we never wish to experience again. This recording of experience soon transforms from a neccessity into a habit, and then almost into a reflex, and behind it lies a  more or less concious decision. Perhaps one of the reasons for keeping track of our personal experiences  is also the awareness of how easily they are forgotten, despite their intensity in the exact moment we are experiencing them, so in a way, by keeping diaries we are actually paying off the debt to future forgotten past.
Set off by war and some intense private experiences, in 1990 Petar Dabac began working on his photo diary titled Lieber Pero. This journal is today still a work in progress, and it includes more than a thousand photo shots. The author himself defines his work as having the quality of a journal. He is taking photos of persons in their natural surroundings, recording his movements by capturing details, photographing personal spaces and objects, and arraying them in the way they become recognisably his. By doing so, Petar Dabac plays on the multiple levels of meaning. He is creating an alluring patchwork of motifs, while making use of his experience  as a spectator, participant and as a creator. With an extraordinary ability of analitical submergence into what is considered insignificant at the first glance, he is outlining a personal life story as well as simultaneously detecting  the social changes, without avoiding irony.
In this exhibition the photographs are grouped around six thematically divisable wholes, which could be titled as following: Coffee Shops in Zagreb, Graffiti, Play, Letters to Maja, Kitchen, Meditation. Such a division is just one of the endless possibilities of organisation and subjective interpretation of a single duration.
A great amount of displayed photographs has been taken in the publicly- private rooms of caffes in Zagreb (Melin, Gavella, and MK buffet). This is where group and individual portraits of close friends, members of Zagreb's cultural underground and accidental acquaintances came to life. In these photos the photgrapher is always present in the background, he is not a record keeper in the classical sense of the word, but rather an 'archivist'  of relationships, states and momentary moods. His 'models' are completely relaxed in his presence, his photographer's eye is guided by their trust. The entirely private 'kitchen series' has been exhibited as the counterpart to the publicly- private rooms of caffes. The appealing shots  of prepaired meals and the vegetables on kitchen tables are a clear example of memento mori. Although at first sight it might not appear so, these photos are bearing resemblance to those taken in the caffes- steenian sets, to which the author approaches without criticism, and with a mild irony of what is present.
Street graffiti, street lamp adds, and various banners bear witness to author's movements. These details which were shot in Zagreb and during his journeys are, without exception, all marked with a comical retort by the author himself. The author often describes his work as a kind of play. We see his play in its most immediate form in the conversation between a girl and a flower, or in the comical and emotional letters compiled from newspaper headlines, which we must seek to interpret as a severe criticism of the society as well. The three photographs exhibited on a separate wall (The steps on Dvorničićeva 20, Kitchen Table, Winterthur, Trollstrasse 30) could be intuitively comprehended  as the most intimate ones, in which the presence of pause moments, meditation and utter concentration could actually be felt, which is possible only in the absence of all other.
For their purpose, photographs of Petar Dabac  appear to be absolutely private. They promise participation above all else, whether the author's or of all those details and people he either wanted or who found themselves to be around him. Petar Dabac does not risk the possibility of forgetting or even the possibility of misplacing an experience on the timeline, so the dates are automatically assigned to each photograph. Nevertheless, the essence that provides these photographs with the characteristic of uniqueness is the strong narration, which is not temporally conditioned. Despite the fact how the photographs in this exhibition are phisically joined in conceptually closed groups, they could have been organised in numerous different ways. No matter which way he modifies his motifs, Dabac never abandones the fundamental syntax of the existential: love, food, movement, laughter, solitude, death.
A question appears as to how the beholder approaches such photographs. How should someone's diary be read? Should it be approched with care? Is the author more privately engaged in this kind of work than in the other? What does that exactly mean?
All things considered, the presence of a personal and intimate atmosphere  is more obvious in this type of work, because of the nature of motifs. Meanwhile, the moment in which the private perspective transforms into public property becomes most intriguing. It is this metamorphosis that best depicts the ways a single photograph can display numerous realities.
Iva Prosoli

He was born in Zagreb in 1942 and there he received his diploma in engineering. He took up photography in 1960 as a co- worker in Tošo Dabac' studio, whose management he took over after Tošo’s death in 1970. He has been active as a solo artist from 1966 and has been a member of ULUPUH since 1970.  In the period between 1980 and 1987 he organised around forty photo exhibitions of croatian as well as foreign authorship. He is one of the founders of SPOT, a magazine concerned with photography, which first came out in 1972. Since 1990 he has been giving lectures about photography on Art Academy in Ljubljana. During the sixties he began creating series of black and white portraits of artists, familiars, friends and various representatives of the artistic world, which he continued  working on for the next few decades.
In 1970s he has been a part of the generation who have introduced the conceptual approach to photography. He has created spatial installations  and experimented with photocopies and photograms. In the year 1982 he published a photo book titled "The Sense of Nature at the End of the 20th Century" (17 photographs), whose foreword was written by Annie Le Brun. During the second half of the 1980s  he has completed a series of portraits in color. He has begun a photo diary in 1990, which is still considered today to be a work in  progress.

Selection  of solo exhibitons:
1969 - Beograd, Atelje 212 (with Marija Braut)
          Zagreb, SC gallery (with Marija Braut)
1970 - Ljubljana, Mestna gallery (with Marija Braut)
1972 - Zagreb, "4 slike" gallery, theatre &TD
          Mannheim, Mannheimer Kunstverein (Tošo Dabac and his studio)
1975 - Graz, Fotogalerie Schillerhof
          Zagreb, Gallery of Modern Arts
1977 - Milan, Diaframma - Canon gallery
1978 - Grožnjan, Smokvin list gallery
1979 - Osijek, Zodiak gallery
          Köln, SFRJ Cultural - Information Centre
1980 - Zagreb, SC gallery
1981 - Graz, Fotogalerie im Forum Stadtpark
1982 - Novo Mesto, "Pri slonu v gosteh" Gallery
          Zagreb, ATD photo gallery
          Beograd, Srećna gallery SKC
1983 - Ljubljana, Ars gallery
1986 - Leibniz, Ganggalerie Retzhof
1987 - Novo Mesto, Photo gallery, "30 portraits 1959-1985"
1989 - Photoforum Bremen
1990 - Varaždin, Sebastijan gallery
1991 - Zagreb, Spot gallery, "Portraits in Color"
1994 - Zagreb, ATD photo gallery, "Lieber Pero Project's Segments"
1995 - Zagreb, Spot gallery, "Art is over, the game goes on"
1997 - Zagreb, Prozori gallery, "On the road"
1998 - Zagreb, Art pavilion, "Photo Diaries" (Noboyushi Araki, Petar Dabac, Seichi Furuya, Nan Goldin)
2003 - Zagreb, Bernard Bernardi gallery, "Counting To Ten"
2003/2004 - Samobor, Lang photo gallery, "Lieber Pero II"
2006 - Zagreb, Badrov gallery, "Exsposures (unknown works 1970-1972)"
          Zagreb, Lotrščak Tower, "Džaba si krečio"
2007 - Salzburg, Fotohof, "Neue Fotografie aus Kroatien" (with Mare Milin)
2008 - Pečuh, Janos Pannonius Museum, "Neue Fotografie aus Kroatien" (with Mare Milin)

Major group exhibitions:
1969 - Zagreb; Beograd, "4. zagrebački salon"
1970 - Graz, Neue Galerie, "Internationale Malerwochen"
1971 - Karlovac, Koranski sculpture park, "Gulliver in wonderland"
1972 - Zagreb, Gallery of Modern Arts, "Possibilities for  '72"
1973 - Maribor, razstavni salon Rotovž, "New Photography 1"
1975 - Edinbourgh, Richard Demarco Gallery, "Razstava sodobne jugoslavanske umetnosti"
1976 - Zagreb, Beograd, Maribor, "Photography as Art"
1977 - Bologne, "Artefiera"
1978 - Ljubljana, Modern gallery, "Junij Group"
1979 - Graz, Fotogalerie im Forum Stadtpark, exhibition included within the first symposium on photography
          Banja Luka, Culture centre, IX. Jesenski salon, "Appearance (The Presence of Photography in Modern Art "
          Beograd, Modern Art Museum, "Themes and functions of the medium of photography"
1980 - Charleroi, Galerie Photographie Ouverte, "I. International trienale of  Photography"
1981 - Vienna, Wiener Sezession, "Extended photography"
1982 - Liverpool, Open Eye gallery, "The Views of Modern Yugoslavian Photography"
          Bilbao Fier international de Muestras de Bilbao
1983 - Ankara, "European Photography Today"
1984 - Koprivnica, Čakovec, Varaždin, "70 Years of Photography in Croatia"
          Ajdovščina, Pilonova gallery, "IV. Trienale of Yugoslavian Photography"
1988 - Broadway gallery of Passaic County Community, Paterson, New Jersey
1989 - Zagreb, "Zagrebački salon"
1990 - Zagreb, Spot gallery, "Zagreb '90"
1992 - Zagreb, "Zagrebački salon"
1993 - Harkov, Museum of etnography, "Austrian Photography"
          Zagreb, Modern Arts Museum, "Croatian Photography Between 1950 And Today"
1994 - Dubrovnik, Loža gallery; Maribor, Stolp gallery; Krakow, Austrian General Consulate; Wroclaw, City Museum, "City visions"
          Graz, "Phorum Stadtpark Members' Exhibition"
1995 - Ljubljana, Tivoli gallery, " Formation department members' exhibition"
          Siemanowice (Poland), "City visions"
          Zagreb, Art pavilion, "Croatian Photography '95." 
1996 - Ankara, Atatürk culture centre, "Croatian Photography"
          Zagreb, Art pavilion, "International Photo Exhibition"
1997 - Graz, Stadtpark Phorum, "Flax exhibition"
1998 - Zagreb, Izidor Kršnjavi exhibition salon, "Homeland, you are..."
2002 - Amsterdam Haarlem, "Internationale Fotografiebiennale"
2003 - Graz, Camera Austria, "Freundschaftsspiel"
2003 - Zagreb, Art pavilion, "Much too much"
2005 - Zagreb, Art pavilion, "Across the 7 seas, over the 7 mountains"
2006 - Bratislava, The Month of Photography, "Act in Croatian Photography"
2007 - Zagreb, Klovićevi dvori, "Avangarde inclinations in croatian art"
          Zagreb, Art pavilion, "Do we like observing other people"
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