This Is Not My World: Art and Public Space in Socialist Zagreb (Paperback)

This Is Not My World: Art and Public Space in Socialist Zagreb By Adair Rounthwaite Cover Image

This Is Not My World: Art and Public Space in Socialist Zagreb (Paperback)


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A close-up history of the Yugoslav artists who broke down the boundaries between public and private


In the decades leading up to the dissolution of socialist Yugoslavia, a collective of young artists based in Zagreb took to using the city’s public spaces as a platform for radical individual expression. This Is Not My World presents a detailed account of the Group of Six Authors and their circle in the prolific and experimental period from 1975 to 1985, highlighting the friction between public and private that underlied their innovative practices. 


Looking to circumvent the rigid bureaucracy of official art institutions, this freewheeling group of conceptual artists and their peers brought artistic activities directly to an unwitting public by staging provocative performances, exhibiting artworks, and interacting with passersby on the streets. Exploring artworks such as Vlasta Delimar’s act of tying herself to a tree in a busy pedestrian area, Željko Jerman’s production of a giant banner declaring “Intimate Inscription” in the city’s central square, and Vlado Martek’s creation of an artwork on a seaside beach using women’s underwear, Adair Rounthwaite examines the work of these artists as a site of tension between the intimacy of artistic expression and the political structure of the public sphere under state socialism. 


Whereas many histories of modern and contemporary art in formerly socialist countries tend to be dominated by discussions of ideology and resistance, This Is Not My World focuses its attention on the affective aspects of the group’s activities, using artist interviews and extensive documentation to bring the reader closer to the felt experience of their public interventions. Situating the group’s work within the context of broader developments in conceptualism and theories of the avant-garde, Rounthwaite provides a fresh consideration and newly detailed account of this marginalized episode in global art history.

Adair Rounthwaite is associate professor of art history at the University of Washington and author of Asking the Audience: Participatory Art in 1980s New York (Minnesota, 2017).

Product Details ISBN: 9781517914233
ISBN-10: 151791423X
Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press
Publication Date: January 16th, 2024
Pages: 296
Language: English

"This Is Not My World is a highly original take on the Zagreb experimental art scene of the 1970s. While studiously situating the practices of the Group of Six Authors in their cultural–political context, Adair Rounthwaite’s remarkable achievement is to simultaneously snatch them away from this context and open them up to concepts and readings that make them relevant beyond the frameworks of Yugoslav and East European art history."—Ivana Bago, independent scholar


"This Is Not My World is not just a detailed account of the work of the Group of Six Authors but a response to it. As experimental in its scholarship as its subjects were in their artmaking, this book is poised to make an important critical and methodological intervention in the recent turn toward ‘global’ art histories."—Branislav Jakovljević, author of Alienation Effects: Performance and Self-Management in Yugoslavia, 1945–91