Julije Knifer, Meander 2, 1960, oil on canvas, 40 × 53 1/2".

Julije Knifer

Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb

Julije Knifer, Meander 2, 1960, oil on canvas, 40 × 53 1/2".

The word meander derives from the Maiandros River, which twists and turns through what is now Turkey on its way to the Aegean Sea. The water’s singularly serpentine path was stylized into a popular pattern, picked up and disseminated throughout classical Greek and Roman art and architecture. The meander eventually wound its way to the forefront of the European avant-garde when, in 1960, Croatian painter Julije Knifer—a member of the Yugoslavian proto-Conceptualist Gorgona Group—declared that from that moment on, his work would consist exclusively of its interlocking right angles. If Malevich had intended his black square as a declaration of finality, Knifer saw his meanders as autonomous elements of a rhythm capable of achieving the monotony he deemed central to his quest for an “anti-painting.”

While, as part of Gorgona, Knifer would develop a kind of prototype for

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