Photo Credit: Damjan Tadić / CROPIX

Painter, writer, and professor of drawing, Vanista studied at the Academy of Fine Art in Zagreb. He has been a legendary figure in the Yugoslav art scene for nearly seventy years.

The lute, oil on canvas, 2002, NFS

While he made his most significant contributions to the international art scene in his role as a founding member of Gorgona, an experimental and conceptual artists’ group active from 1959 to 1966, he also maintained a painting practice that included traditional still lifes and landscapes, as well as conceptual paintings of a single grey or silver line on a white or black canvas. The Gorgona Group was  a renowned collective of Yugoslav artists and thinkers that worked from 1959 to 1966. “Work by the Gorgona Group was not bound by an aesthetic allegiance so much as by a Dadaist-tinged disregard for convention, which they lovingly touted as the ‘Gorgonic spirit.” – critic Kate Sutton in a review of an exhibition of work by the Gorgona Group in 2017.

Vaništa created a diverse body of work: he produced everything from collages and traditional landscapes and still lifes to photographs and austere abstract paintings. He was a professor in the architecture department at the University of Zagreb and, in 1994, was made a full member of the Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He exhibited his work a great deal throughout Croatia and had shows all over  the world, in cities such as Paris, London, New York, Bombay, and Beijing. With the Gorgona Group, he participated in the 1997 Venice Biennale. A survey covering seventy years of Vaništa’s work, “Abolition of Retrospective” was mounted at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb in 2013.