The “Meanders” of Julije Knifer
One of the foremost Croatian artists of the 20th century, Julije Knifer sought to remove all expressive elements from his painting, a pursuit that led him to create variations of a single abstract form that he dubbed "the meander." Beginning in 1960, Knifer dedicated himself to exclusively investigating the maze-like arrangement, composed only of vertical and horizontal lines, which he rendered through mediums including printmaking, oil and acrylic painting, and even collage. As Galerie Frank Elbaz put it, "[for Knifer] the meander was a key to a world in which chronology had no meaning, and a way of creating works that were beyond their singular self, but part of a group of works that he continued to paint until the very last days of life."
Knifer was a founding member of the Croation art collective Gorgona, an avant-garde group active from 1959 to 1966. Gorgona was responsible for the publication of an eponymous "anti-magazine" that featured one work per issue – the second issue of Gorgona featured one of Knifer's meanders printed on interior pages that were connected in a loop instead of bound. Prior to his death in 2004, Knifer showed internationally, including at the Venice Biennale in 1976 and 2001.