Božidar Jurjević comes from the middle generation of Dubrovnik artists. In his case, this is not just biographical data. Namely, specific space and time had a crucial influence on Jurjević's artistic formation and positioning. Parasiting on the miraculous beauty of the City, many artists ended up in saccharine pastness, remaining blind to their own time. Jurjević could not swim in that pitiful and shallow art stream. The war years only strengthened this attitude. The reality of war and its consequences became the form and content of his art, which was not the usual testimony and illustration of destruction. Jurjević’s modus operandi is best illustrated by a series of works, titled “O-KRUŽENJE” (“SUR-ROUNDINGS”). The day after the fiercest attack on Dubrovnik (December 6, 1991), the artist went to the oldest hotel in Dubrovnik, Hotel Imperial, to see the effects of grenading. There he encountered and "adopted" the remnants of bedding and towels, which will, as ready-made matter, become the material and symbolic substance of many Jurjević's performances, actions, installations and video works. "The bedding was burnt in a way that only the center was left untouched in the burning process, forming an elliptical shape with the whites surrounded by a brown halo and a black frame. With this appearance, the material transformed into space where fate of an individual takes place, as well as the fate of one’s surroundings." The war isolation was followed by gradual transition and privatization, during which Hotel Imperial became the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik. A collage of old burnt towels and new towels which remind of the US flag design, Jurjević, with the same suggestiveness, points to the peaceful, more long-term disastrous destruction, which occurs as a result of insatiable hunger for profit.
Since the beginning of his artistic activity, Božidar Jurjević has nurtured a concise and direct artistic expression, choosing the media of expression that best fit his psychological, mental and moral disposition. He’s not one of those who accept the symbolic gesture. Often, in his performances, he goes beyond the limit of physical endurance, pain, and even injury. Such an approach undoubtedly affects the persuasiveness of the artist himself and his work. In other words, for Jurjević, the position of an engaged artist who is critically referring to current events is not a matter of choosing genres: it is a human, intellectual and artistic imperative.
Božidar Jurjević was born on February 12, 1963 in Dubrovnik. In 1988 he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo, in the class of prof. Petar Waldegg.
On view till 2 September, 2018.