Interview: Julije Knifer

author Julije Knifer
interviewed by Zvonko Maković


ORIS: Perhaps it would be best if we began our conversation by returning to the past, or to be more specific, to the years 1959 and 1960. That was when your first paintings containing the meander motif, which came to characterise your entire creative work, appeared. To arrive at the meander, however, you travelled a road which to me, at least, seems quite logical. How do you yourself view that road, the time before the meander? 


Knifer: In those days, in December 1959, a turbulent and stimulating year in my life was coming to a close. I had been travelling extensively, and in many ways every journey proved inspirational. In the spring I had been to Munich to see Kandinski in Lenbachhaus; my next destination was Kassel, where I viewed the Dokumenta, and finally, I visited Paris. In speaking about all that, what I am actually saying is that those journeys really charged my batteries. I began working intensively, particularly on drawings. I had the feeling that I was returning to one of my periods of some ten years previously, but at the same time I somehow sensed that I was in fact going forwards. In 1960 I began producing paintings that had been conceived earlier. My sketches already contained the meander, but I somehow mislaid that particular folio. While working on other drawings in the course of the spring of 1960, the meander motif again re-emerged. I took a canvas, stretched it across a wall and painted the first eight meanders. That is how it all began.