Boris Bucan

boris bucan

Born 1947 in Zagreb, Croatia, where he lives and works, Boris Bućan is considered by many critics to be a pioneer in the New Art Practice Movement.  

Completing his studies at renowned institutions of School of Applied Arts, the Academy of Plastic Arts (both in Zagreb), as well as the Academy of Visual Arts in Ljubljana, Bućan graduated in 1972 with a major in painting.

Bućan’s developed skills and extensive education inspired him to begin combining new to the era visual technology including Polaroids, film, photography, graphic design, and photocopies creatively with traditional visual art. This effort would go on to build the New Art Practice Movement with other Croatian artists. Their conceptual practices gravitated toward public space, breaking away from the gallery system, as an act of resistance against institutional infrastructures, which, at the time, were dominated by lyrical abstraction.

During the late-1960s the New Art Practice Movement came to prominence in Zagreb thanks to Bućan’s street installations. Highly colourful and taking full advantage of the urban environment, Bućan’s artworks were bold additions to the Zagreb cityscape, drawing comparison to Pop Art, while remaining independent in style and scope. In parallel with painting, he has maintained a prolific career as a graphic designer, producing posters for galleries, theatre, the Croatian Radio and Television, and National Theatre. In 1984 Bucan represented Yugoslavia at the Venice Biennale with a series of theatre posters.

Bućan Art 1972 is a series of fifty paintings featuring appropriated and modified corporate logos. The highly recognisable brand logos, such as Coca-Cola, IBM, Swissair, BMW and others, were modified to replace the company name with the word ‘art’. Created at the height of Yugoslavia’s economic boom and the invasion of consumerism in the country, the work responded to the omnipresence of global brands, media and advertising that suddenly flooded the Yugoslav public space. For Boris Bućan, inserting the word ‘art’ symbolically placed corporate culture at the service of art. The semantic play in the work comments on the commodification of art while proposing the possibility of art superseding global capitalism.