Tomislav Gotovac
(1937–2010)

Tomislav Gotovac, Cleaning of Public Spaces (Homage to Vjekoslav France aka The Bolshevik and Cleaning Apostle), 1981, installation view, EMST—National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, documenta 14, photo: Stathis Mamalakis

Tomislav Gotovac,Cleaning of Public Spaces (Homage to Vjekoslav France aka The Bolshevik and Cleaning Apostle), 1981, installation view, EMST—National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, documenta 14, photo: Stathis Mamalakis

Tomislav Gotovac, Cleaning of Public Spaces (Homage to Vjekoslav France aka The Bolshevik and Cleaning Apostle), 1981, installation view, EMST—National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, documenta 14, photo: Stathis Mamalakis

Tomislav Gotovac, Ready-Made, 1981, installation view, EMST—National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, documenta 14, photo: Mathias Völzke

Tomislav Gotovac, installation view, EMST—National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, documenta 14, photo: Stathis Mamalakis

Tomislav Gotovac, Begging (Can You Spare Me a Dime? Thank You! The Begging Artist), 1980, installation including eight black-and-white photographs by Ivan Posavec, and poster, Collection Sarah Gotovac/Tomislav Gotovac Institute, installation view, Neue Galerie, Kassel, documenta 14, photo: Liz Eve

Performance on December 26, 1980, 10:30–11:30 am, Ilica 1a, in front of the Church of the Wounded Jesus
Fifth action-object

In a performance presented at the Week of Performance: Public Body (1997, concept by Jadranka Vinterhaler), Tomislav Gotovac wore orange overalls as a symbol of nudity on the one hand and undervalued occupations on the other. With his performance Begging (Can You Spare Me a Dime? Thank You! The Begging Artist) staged on December 26, 1980, and the action Cleaning of Public Space (An Homage to Vjekoslav Frece Known as “Bolshevik” and “The Apostle of Cleanliness”), staged on May 28, 1981 at the Petar Preradović Square, Gotovac aimed to convey the social subversion which prohibits society to reveal its ugly side. Violating the legal framework that was in force at the time, Gotovac was arrested, the donations he gathered were confiscated, and he was sentenced to ten days in prison. The verdict stated among other things that begging was illegal. It was printed in Studentski list, issue 788–789, on June 12, 1981. In his appeal, the artist requested that his imprisonment be converted into a fine in order to avoid having his hair cut.

From Tomislav Gotovac’s appeal:
“I am requesting that the Court convert the sentence of imprisonment in duration of ten days, issued under II/11-2522/1980 and dated December 26, 1980, into a fine.
My reasons for requesting a fine are as follows:
—I haven’t touched my hair, nor my beard in the last five years (they are part of my art in time and space).
—As I am aware that prisoners need to be shaved and have their hair cut prior to serving their sentence, I am requesting that the Court convert my sentence of imprisonment into a fine so that I could wear my hair and beard long while completing my art action, scheduled to end soon.
In Zagreb, December 28, 1980.”

Posted in Public Exhibition
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