Borut Šeparović


Borut Šeparović was born in Zagreb in 1967. He graduated in Philosophy and Comparative Literature from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, and earned a postgraduate degree from DasArts (Advanced Studies in Performance Arts) in Amsterdam. He is the founder of the artist collective MONTAЖ$TROJ and has been its artistic leader and director since its inception in 1989.

From the moment it was formed, MONTAЖ$TROJ has been recognised for its explosive physical theatre and pronounced multimedia and interdisciplinary activity that dissolves clear boundaries that separate the branches of art. This has established the collective as a trademark of engaged art in both Croatia and abroad, as witnessed by its national and international awards and the interest that leading international media has shown in Šeparović’s work. MONTAЖ$TROJ has toured Europe and the US, with the performance EVERYBODY GOES 2 DISCO FROM MOSCOW 2 SAN FRANCISCO (1994) drawing special attention.

Šeparović worked in western Europe from 1997 to 2002. He founded the group Performingunit in the Netherlands where he developed theatre projects in international co-productions. He worked as an educator at St. Joost School of Art & Design in the Netherlands and has led art research workshops in numerous countries (Croatia, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Serbia, Italy, Montenegro).

In the mid-2000s, Šeparović began his long-term experimentation of questioning theatrical representation through a series of interdisciplinary and participatory projects whose final content is determined by the audience itself. The theatrical performances T-FORMANCE (2007), THE THEATRE YOU DESERVE (2007) and T-FACTOR (2009) belong to that period.

Šeparović introduces and develops distinctive performative forms in which real people, mostly members of marginalised social groups, examine the emancipatory and documentary potential of the theatrical medium by representing themselves. Šeparović considers TIMBUKTU (2008), a performance in which the protagonists are abandoned dogs and homeless people, to be his unsurpassable theatrical achievement.

In the docu-dance project MY HEART BEATS FOR HER (2010), the key protagonists become unemployed women who bring their upsetting work histories face to face with national football mythomania.

Two decades of MONTAЖ$TROJ’s activity were marked by the performance FIRE-TECHNICS 2.0 (2010), an artistic inventory of the destructive transition processes that began in Croatian in the 1990s. At the time, Šeparović achieved success with the performances GENERATION 91-95 (2009) and MAUSER (2011), which he directed at the Zagreb Youth Theatre. Both projects thematized confronting the past by questioning the national infallibility in interpretations of the mythology of war in Croatia.

In the second decade of the new millennium, Šeparović begins a new phase of his artistic opus that explores the potentials and possibilities of revolutionary change in society. He directed CLASS ENEMY (2011) at the Slovenian Mladinsko Theatre in Ljubljana and the performance BIKINI DEMOCRACY (2012) at the Kosztolányi Dezsõ Theatre in Subotica.

As its artistic leader and director, Šeparović has led MONTAЖ$TROJ through the realisation of the largest community art project in the region with over 50 participants over the age of 55. Taking on the roles of the protagonists of both the theatrical performance 55+ (2012) and Šeparović’s debut documentary film CONSUMED (2014), the participants share their painful intimate and generational confessions. Both artistic projects have received international recognitions and awards.

In the project THE FUTURE IS NOW (2013), whose protagonists are young unemployed people, Šeparović’s critical edge aims at neoliberal capitalism through an imagined alternative scenario for Croatia’s future.

On the occasion of a quarter of a century of MONTAЖ$TROJ’s artistic activity, Šeparović directed WHERE’S THE REVOLUTION, SCUM? (2014), an award-winning performance that questions the commodification of social rebellion spawned by the new wave music movement of the 1980s. In it, documentary methods and explosive performative expression test the readiness of each of us individually to advocate for comprehensive social change.

From 2015 on, Šeparović has been working on the multi-annual interdisciplinary project UNFINISHED, using the example of the unfinished University Hospital in Zagreb to problematise the process of dismantling the public health system.

In 2016, he directed the performance THE BLACK BOOK about the debt crisis in Croatia and, in 2017, conceived and led the media project CYANKALI §218 dedicated to women’s reproductive rights.

His authorial project YOUTH WITHOUT GOD from 2019 brutally confronts the audience with the alienation and radicalisation of youth in today’s increasingly networked yet ever more atomised society.

In his work, Šeparović experiments with content and expression, questioning the emancipatory potential of socially engaged art and places the painful problems of our common reality at the centar of society’s attention. His enduring interest lies in the creation of engaged theatre and art that constantly reexamine and problematise the environment in which they originate.