Fokus grupa (Iva Kovač i Elvis Krstulović)


Artist Contracts as Artistic Manifestos
Determining the Conditions of Artwork Presentation and Exchange as an Artistic (and Political) Position


"Ja sam za primjenu novog zakona o samostalnim umjetnicima", Radna zajednica umjetnika, Prvi broj novina, Zagreb, 1979.

"Ja sam za primjenu novog zakona o samostalnim umjetnicima", Radna zajednica umjetnika, Prvi broj novina, Zagreb, 1979.

By that point at the least, it had become evident that art is practiced in a field determined by social, economic, and political forces, by mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion, and that art is entangled in manifold ways in the mechanisms of the market and of political representation. (Eichorn, Maria, The Artist’s Contract, Köln: Vertrag der Buchhandlung Walther König, 2009.)


If we choose not to view the production of artwork solely as the production of objects intended for personal use, but principally as a public performance, a representation of a (personal) belief or a political/aesthetic act, it is important to determine which artistic, economic, political and personal interests we want to represent during the transaction, whether it be an exhibition, collaboration with an institution, artwork reproduction, the process of buying and selling, donation and so on.

In order to establish an attitude towards our own artistic production and distribution, whether it be as artists or as cultural workers, we ask the following questions: How do we want the artwork to be treated after property handover? Is there a certain aspect of the artwork we wish to protect from potential manipulation? Do we want to follow the artwork’s life after the sale? Do we want to enjoy profit after a rise in the artwork’s value? Do we consider the conditions of the artwork’s creation important? Do we consider the act of choosing a political act?

The workshop under the title of Artist Contracts as Artistic Manifestos was conceived as a critical examination of artistic production and a way to raise awareness of the important aspects of artwork presentation and exchange in order to preserve their importance and role. Using the example of local and international art and gallerist contracts, we will attempt to define the field of artistic activity and draw up samples of contracts which create desirable relationships between the existing power relations. Although we use actual contracts as our starting point, based on the existing authorial and legal practices, we are less interested in drawing up legally usable contracts compliant with particular state legislations than we are interested in contracts as a form of artistic expression.

Iva Kovač & Elvis Krstulović

Fokus grupa is an artistic collective from Zagreb; Iva Kovač and Elvis Krstulović have been working together since 2005, and since 2012 under the name of Fokus grupa. Their work belongs to the post-conceptual artistic practice whose format is interdisciplinary and is realised through exhibitions, interventions in public spaces, publications, texts, lectures and discussions. Through its work, Fokus grupa questions the ideas of the political and the subjective in cultural and artistic production. In accordance with the materialistic understanding of artistic practices, Kovač and Krstulović explore the legal, economic and social consequences of artistic production, and the methods employed by politics in order to usurp and manipulate emotions.
Workshop: 29 – 31 October 2012 from 10:00 to 16:00
Presentation: 31 October 2012 at 19:00
Galerija Greta, Ilica 92, Zagreb