In 1951, shortly after Tito’s break with Stalin, artists, film directors, designers and architects set up a joint group in Zagreb. They called themselves EXAT 51 (the title is an acronym of Experimental Atelier, followed by the founding year). As a young socialist nation, post-war Yugoslavia united different states all with very different cultural, religious and linguistic backgrounds. The country’s independent political path opened up the possibility of rapprochement with the West. Despite their official duties and the doctrine of socialist realism, the group managed to take advantage of the new freedoms and to follow the ideals of pre-war modernism, of the Bauhaus, constructivism and De Stijl.
As a kind of reference work with contributions from leading experts, this book tells the story of the interdisciplinary ideas of a group of artists in the 1950s and 1960s who aspired to an experimental synthesis of the fine and applied arts. They thus attempted to embed their ideals in everyday life under socialist rule. Here, for the first time, this movement and its positions have been scientifically researched and presented.