Braco Dimitrijevic This Could be a Place of Historical Interest 1972–7

Artwork details

Artist
Title
This Could be a Place of Historical Interest
Date 1972–7
Medium 48 photographs, black and white, on paper
Dimensions In forty eight parts, each: 530 x 170 x 40 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Presented by Tate Members 2007
Reference
T12555
Not on display

Summary

This Could be a Place of Historical Interest consists of forty-eight black and white photographs, displayed in sixteen panels of three photographs each that are placed end-to-end to create a long continuous display. It was first exhibited in 1977 at Documenta 6 in Kassel.

Each photograph depicts a different scene, all of which are taken in apparently ordinary locations. The sequence includes urban, landscape and interior shots, including a football pitch, a windmill and an armchair in the corner of a living room. The phrase ‘THIS COULD BE A PLACE OF HISTORICAL INTEREST’ is printed on the mount underneath each photograph, endowing the scenes depicted with a wider potential significance.

The uniform format of the photographs and their serial arrangement create a striking visual impact and suggest the sequence of photographs could be continued endlessly to include any ordinary scene. Taken as a sequence, the images force the viewer to reassess the value assigned to the visual cues before them, suggesting a new way of viewing the world and overturning established hierarchies of what is and what is not historically important.

The series was part of a wider project by Dimitrijevic entitled This Could be a Place of Historical Importance (see T12556), which aimed to reveal and challenge the underlying power structures that dictate which sites, people and dates are deemed historically and culturally significant. The series took many forms, often imitating the physical objects used to commemorate important people and events, such as monuments or plaques, leading the viewer to become aware of the unconscious assumptions he or she makes about what is and is not historically, artistically or culturally important. The critic Magda Cârneci observed that in such works Dimitrijevic sought ‘to defunctionalize our cultural habits, induced by education, politics, or the media’ (quoted in Hegyi, p.9).

Dimitrijevic, whose father was a painter, had a solo exhibition at the age of ten, although he then became a junior champion skier and studied mathematics and physics before studying art at the Zagreb Academy of Fine Art from 1968 to 1971 and at Central St Martin’s College, London, from 1971 to 1973. Following the series This Could be a Place of Historical Interest and The Casual Passer-By (see T12557), Dimitrijevic developed the series Triptychos Post-Historicus, in which famous paintings are re-contextualised by being juxtaposed with a non-organic object such as a bicycle or a wardrobe, and an organic object such as an orange (see T04122). Dimitrijevic’s statement, ‘There are no mistakes in history. The whole of history is a mistake’ (quoted in Kopeczky, p.50), reflects a central tenet of his practice in the 1970s.

Further reading
Lóránd Hegyi (ed.), Braco Dimitrijevic: Slow as Light, Fast as Thought, exhibition catalogue, Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna 1994.
Dan Cameron, Achille Bonito Oliva, Jean-Hubert Martin and others, Braco Dimitrijevic, Milan 2006.
Róna Kopeczky (ed.), Braco Dimitrijevic: ‘Louvre is my Studio, Street is my Museum’: Retrospective Exhibition of Braco Dimitrijevic, exhibition catalogue, Museum Ludwig, Budapest 2008.

Elizaveta Butakova
February 2010

Supported by the London Centre for Arts and Cultural Exchange in collaboration with the Courtauld Institute of Art.

About this artwork