First published: Summer 2014
I have never met Zoran Tanasić in person. Everything I know about him is based on clues I have pieced together, left in public spaces. He is active in Vračar, Belgrade, near where we both live. Four years ago I noticed one of his drawings pinned to a tree and, since then, I have investigated and photographed everything connected with him. His signature, which includes his address and his first and last name, is on a great number of these works. On his works he describes himself as a lawyer, or sometimes as a farmer, medical worker or other profession.
Different themes, drawings posted on a tree, photo taken by Ivan Zupanc on June 8, 2009
A common feature of Tanasić’s work is the use of ballpoint pen, which he uses to both create his drawings and write different inscriptions. Almost all his works are on plain A4 paper. On the backs, he has written erotic songs, different stories and fantasies.
When displaying his works, the location of Tanasić’s home appears to influence his choice of placement. A nearby power transformer station has been covered with his works several times over four years. Trees, buildings entrance doors, walls, notice boards, transformer stations, poles and advertising billboards are other favourite sites. He renews his installations by pinning new works over old ones or moving them to new locations. He also inscribes different texts on his already-displayed works, as well as on advertisements.
One of his distinct rituals is attaching his works to a background with scotch tape, and the amount of tape he uses demonstrates his attempt to prevent someone from easily removing or tearing up his works. However, if someone does destroy or take any of his works, he temporarily changes his location. For example, the city’s sanitary services once removed his works (over 100) from the power transformer station, and following this he did not display his works at that site for a while.