Le Grand Café, Contemporary Art Centre, Saint-Nazaire

Le Grand Café has invited Ivan Grubanov (born in 1976, and living in Belgrade) for his first individual exhibition in France. He is one of the most active young artists on the Balkan scene and his work has caught the attention of many European observers during residencies at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam and the Delfina Studio Programme in London. He has recently taken part in the Istanbul Biennial.

In the 2006 group exhibition Histoire(s), Le Grand Café presented one of his works (Study of My Father, A Relation To The Origin). This time the exhibition, entitled “Non-Institutional”, offers a wider view of the artist’s work. It brings together recent work (paintings, videos), including a new installation in the art centre’s main gallery space, with the fundamental piece Visitor: a series of 170 drawings of the trial of Slobodan Milosevic at the International Criminal Tribune in The Hague.

Ivan Grubanov’s work takes us into a complex universe that borrows from theatre, with the artist occupying the principal role. In the works that make up the “Stages” series — representing the temporary structures used both at political meetings and at rock or techno events — and also in the artist’s performance addressing the crowd in front of Belgrade’s parliament building… and again in the daily drawings made at the Tribunal; the image and the representation are shot through with the complexity and the violence of having to describe a personal trajectory, as a man and as an artist, in a historic context that ceaselessly imposes itself. Ivan Grubanov is very much concerned with bringing out the full complexity of the historical moment in which he finds himself while avoiding at all times the traps and caricatures of ‘political art’.