Concentrating on the 1970s period, during which the artist lived in London, the exhibition surveys a crucial moment in his practice which continues to contribute significantly to discourse surrounding critical practices and intervention in public space. Arriving in London in 1971 to study at Central St. Martins Dimitrijević was already known for large-scale photographic portraits of anonymous people - the casual passer-by - which were displayed on facades and billboards. In London he continued to experiment with strategies for shifting meanings of monumental and historical representation. One such key work occupied with the ‘passer-by’ featured David Harper, whom the artist had met on the streets around Central Saint Martin. Harper was modeled by the artist in an oversized bust which he later erected as an actual monument in his honor, at Barclay Square, London. Guy Brett commented “Each country has its own way of monumentalizing famous people. Dimitrijević has made humorous use of those customary in each country he has visited, the forms people implicitly accept as carrying an important message.”
Pursuing his strategy of context-specific interventions, Dimitrijević placed memorial plaques on Soho buildings engraved with the names of casual passers-by: “John Foster Lived Here”. Similarly redolent of London’s blue plaques, the artist’s series ‘This could be a place of historical interest’ questions the parameters of historical representation. Holding considerable suggestive power, the phrase charges photographs of ordinary locations with perceptively significant meaning. ‘This could be a place of historical interest’ proposes how all places could be of potential ‘historical interest’, while simultaneously calling into question the category itself. Dimitrijević’s practice continually interrogates the way in which historical and cultural meanings and values are constructed, a notion incapsulated in his statement “There are no mistakes in history, the whole of history is a mistake”.
Braco Dimitrijević was born in 1948 in Sarajevo. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at Tate, London; Kunsthalle Bern; Ludwig Museum Cologne; ICA London; Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven; Kunsthalle Dusseldorf; Israel Museum Jerusalem; MUMOK Vienna; Musée d’Orsay; Russian State Museum St. Petersburg; Musee d’Art Moderne de Saint Etienne; National Museum Luxembourg; Ikon Birmingham; Palais des Beaux Arts Brussels; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane; Museum Ludwig Budapest. In 1988, marking 20 years since his first public works Dimitrijevic organized the ‘Outdoor Retrospective’: exhibiting a large ‘passer-by’ photograph on the façade of the Hayward Gallery, London; installing a monument to John Evans, another passer-by, in front of the Serpentine Gallery; and placing a memorial plaque for a third passer-by on a house in East London.
His many participations in group exhibitions include Documenta (1972, 1976 and 1992), Venice Biennale (1976, 1982, 1990, 1993, 2009), São Paulo Biennale, SITE Santa Fe, Sydney Biennale, Havana Biennale, Valencia Biennale, Moscow Biennale, Dublin Contemporary, Magiciens de la Terre Centre G. Pompidou Paris, and Open Systems Tate Modern, London.