Ivan Grubanov – The Summer of Nationalism

In 2016 Ivan Grubanov received a Phd in the arts from the KU Leuven and the LUCA School of Arts for ‘Unnation’. This was a work of art that consisted of a range of reflections on issues related to refugees in Europe. For ‘United Dead Nations’, his show at the 2015 Venice Biennale, he painted abstract floor patterns with paint that was extracted from flags of countries that have perished. The entirety of Grubanov’s oeuvre is strongly engaged with the history of his home country, the former Yugoslavia, but it always addresses themes that are more widely recognizable. The ‘Summer of Nationalism’ is a piece that Grubanov designed especially for the KU Leuven, and it, too, harbours the restlessness of the world. At first sight this work deals with the excesses of nationalism in the Balkans, the high-flown rhetorics of Karadzic, and war. Or maybe it invokes the late melancholy of a long lost dream of peace and freedom, the Summer of Love, which happened exactly fifty year ago. But, as always, Grubanov mostly expresses something about the times we currently live in. He is a seismograph. He shows us how the world trembles. It’s up to us to feel the tremors.

ABOUT Ivan Grubanov

Ivan Grubanov (SRB, 1976) has enjoyed an intense training as an artist, starting out at the Belgrade Academy of Fine Arts, followed by training programs and residencies at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam, the Delfina Studios in London, Casa de Velazquez in Madrid and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. In 2015, he represented Serbia at the 56th Venice Biennale with his project United Dead Nations.

Ivan Grubanov is constantly trying to innovate the medium of painting. Being born himself in a country with such a turbulent past, he became intrigued by the articulation of historical memory against contemporary conditions. What does his heritage still mean for him today? And in a broader sense how do past cultural values still exist in our current globalised society. His process-oriented painterly method evolves into a podium for knowledge production, persistently posing challenging questions about social and political realities.

Ivan Grubanov has established his international career through numerous solo, group, and biennial exhibitions worldwide, as well as many artistic and scholarly awards. Solo shows include Laboratorio 987 at MUSAC in Leon, Le Grand Cafe Centre d’Art Contemporain in St Nazaire, Gallery of the Belgrade Cultural Center and Salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, Stroom Center for Contemporary Art in Den Haag, Nogueras Blanchard in Barcelona.

Participations in group shows include the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow, Witte de With in Rotterdam, Kiasma in Helsinki, the 3rd International Festival of Contemporary Art of Algiers, the 10th Istanbul Biennial, the 1st Thessaloniki Biennial, Stedelijk Museum CS, SMART Project Space and De Appel in Amsterdam, the Drawing Center and Apex Art in New York, City Gallery in Prague, the 50th Belgrade October Salon, the Spa Port Biennial in Banja Luka, the 3rd Bucharest Biennial of Young Artists, Moderna Galerija in Ljubljana, the 3rd Tirana Biennial, the 3rd Biennial of Quebec, Kunsthalle Bern, Office Baroque and Extra City Kunsthal in Antwerp, Aeroplastics in Brussels, South London Gallery, ARCOS Museum in Benevento, Museum De Beyerd in Breda, Henie Onstad Art Center in Oslo, National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens, Museu Colecção Berardo in Lisbon, Iaspis in Stockholm.