Julije Knifer. Meander No. 5. 1960

Julije Knifer Meander No. 5 1960

  • MoMA, Floor 4, 413 The David Geffen Wing

Unlike other countries behind the Iron Curtain, Yugoslavia did not enforce Socialist Realism—characterized by romanticized depictions of communist life—as the official state style, allowing artists to continue working within a tradition of abstraction. It was in this context that Croatian artist Julije Knifer created the "meander,"a serpentine black line on a white field or a white line on a black field, which he painted exclusively from 1960 until his death in 2004. For Knifer, this concentration on a single motif at once extended the formal radicalism of pre-war abstraction and subverted the utopian political goals that often accompanied it. Knifer's meander does not construct a better society: it is a useless gesture, emptied of meaning.

Gallery label from Transmissions: Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America, 1960–1980, September 5, 2015–January 3, 2016.
Oil on canvas
26 x 34 5/8" (66 x 88 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Hochschild and The Gilman Foundation Fund (both by exchange)
Object number
Painting and Sculpture

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