Slobodan Šijan : Tomislav Gotovac – Life as a Film Experiment
Tomislav Gotovac (1937-2010) was one of the most important Croatian and Yugoslav artists of the second half of the 20th century. He has left an indelible trace in the domains of film, visual art, and performance and has exerted a major influence on several generations of artists. In the last fifteen years, there has been a surge of interest in his pioneering oeuvre, and his work has been shown at important exhibitions and museums worldwide.
With this monograph, Slobodan Šijan, a renowned Serbian film director and one of artist’s closest friends, pays homage to Gotovac and his singular understanding of cinema.
The book comprises almost 400 pages and its 48 chapters function as 48 movie-like “frames” of analysis, quotes, and commentaries, but also as an attempt at understanding some of the processes that shaped the films of Gotovac and informed his artistic methods. Šijan makes extensive use of his own memories, narration, testimonies, and archival materials. His creative combination of these materials results in a book about one artist, written by another artist, in an uniquely artistic way.
The book can be read as a film due to the abundance of visual materials it includes, its skillful graphic design, and a composition informed by the principles of montage/collage. This approach represents a reconstruction of Gotovac’s interaction with reality, film, and the arts in general, and it enables the volume to function simultaneously as a monograph about one author, a kind of personal contextualization of a tumultuous artistic period, and as an unique cultural and sociological study of the Yugoslav region from the 1960s on.
Tomislav Gotovac lived his life by approaching the words “reality” and “movie” as synonymous. This extensive and meticulous study is the first monograph on his work in the English language.
Slobodan Šijan (Belgrade, 1946) is a film director, writer and visual artist. He made many experimental films and videos, but also directed some of the most popular Serbian narrative feature films and wrote a number of books about film and visual culture. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Belgrade voted his film Who’s Singing Over There (1980) for the Best Film made in former Yugoslavia in half a century. Other important features includes Strangler vs. Strangler (1984), How I Was Systematically Destroyed by Idiots (1983), The Marathon Family (1982).
Since 2001, he is teaching at Loyola Marymount University Film School. He is author and editor of several volumes, among others Vertigo, Cinematographic Poems (1998), Women Film Directors in South Eastern Europe (2009) and Conversations around Film (2010).
His work in the domain of visual art investigates the phenomenon of film, moving images, photographic registration and reproduction of reality.
translation : Greg de Cuir & Žarko Cvejić
layout : Dejan Kršić & Slobodan Šijan
386 pages, full color / price : 30 EUR or 35 USD
publishers : Tomislav Gotovac Institute, Croatian Film Association, Multimedia Institute [Zagreb, 2018]