Dead Flags
mixed media on canvas
100 cm x 130 cm, diptych

The Dead Flags Series shows the flags of states that no longer exist and, at the same time, serves the artist to re-examine the limits of painting. The work focuses on the flags of Yugoslavia, flags of the constituent republics and provinces, of labour unions and the Communist Party.

The belief system whose values were projected to these flags is no longer present and they remain as the “death masks” of the ideology that once established them. Through an almost invisible process that puts on test painting as a tool for interpreting history, Grubanov transfers the anima of these “dead flags” into the realm of the representational. He soaks the authentic flags in a mix of acrylic paints and various chemicals, until they leave the image (trace) of their folds and symbols onto a clean piece of canvas. The resulting paintings are not guided by the artist’s hand or intention, but present a piece of evidence left by the “dead flags”, the genuine outlines and the fluids of their remains. The biopolitical influence of the flag – the flag of an ideological set that no longer exists – was replaced by the biopolitical potency of the painting on canvas, which continues conditioning our lives by its semantic and formal persuasiveness, generating a renewal of the belief system.

© Cultural Centre of Belgrade, October Salon Collection and the artist
Purchase and Gift Contract: III-5-528/1/24.12.2014.
Inventory No. 1394
Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Selected Bibliography:
Ivan Grubanov – Dead Flags, text for the exhibition at Loock Galerie, Berlin, DE, 19.9 – 2.11.2013. Available at (accessed on Mar. 17, 2020.)
Ivan Grubanov, United Dead Nations, Catalogue of the Pavilion of the Republic of Serbia, 56th Venice Art Biennale, May 9 – Nov. 22, 2015, Commissioner/Curator Lidija Merenik, Published by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, 2015. Available at (accessed on Mar. 17, 2020.)
Grubanov, Ivan and Peter Vermeersch, UNNATION: A Conversation. Publisher: Kehrer Verlag Heidelberg, 2016


Ivan Grubanov (1976, Belgrade, Serbia) graduated and received his master’s degree from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade. He completed his specialist studies at the Rijks Academy in Amsterdam, Delfina Foundation Studio Programme in London and Casa de Velázquez in Madrid. As a scholarship holder – researcher, he has attended professional training courses in Amsterdam, London and Madrid. He has been present on the contemporary visual art scene in the country and abroad since 1997 and has presented his paintings, drawings and installations at solo exhibitions at reputable institutions and events in the country and abroad. He represented Serbia at the 56th Venice Biennale. His works are part of the collections of the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens, Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, Museum of Fine Arts in Bern, the Deutsche Bank Collection in Frankfurt and many others. Since 2015 he has been working at the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade. More information at