Davor Džalto

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Davor Džalto
Džalto in 2005
Born (1980-05-17) 17 May 1980 (age 40)
Alma mater
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
InstitutionsThe Institute for the Study of Culture and Christianity
Doctoral advisorAngeli Janhsen
Main interests
Notable ideas
Anarchism as Orthodox political philosophy

Davor Džalto (Serbian Cyrillic: Давор Џалто; born 17 May 1980) is an artist, art historian, theologian and philosopher of Yugoslav origin.


Džalto was born in Travnik, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He graduated from the School of Art in Niš. As an 18-year-old student he published his first book – On Writing as an Artistic, Historical, Social and Cultural Phenomenon.

His academic career started in Belgrade where he received an MA in art history from the University of Belgrade Faculty of Philosophy. In 2004, he began writing his PhD thesis at the University of Freiburg, Germany under Prof. Dr. Angeli Janhsen. Džalto successfully defended his thesis in 2006, becoming the youngest doctor of philosophy in the humanities in Germany and Southeast Europe.[1]

Since 2007, he has been a university professor of history and theory of art and of Orthodox Christian theology and religious studies. He has taught at various universities in Europe and the United States, including University of Prague, Indiana University, Fordham University in New York, the American University, and University of Stockholm.

He was directly involved in many ecumenical and peace-building initiatives during his engagement in the Pax Christi office in Belgrade. He was a founding member and the art director of the Flexible Art Network, dedicated to exploring relations between artworks, artists and the public, the president of the Institute for the Study of Culture and Christianity and the vice president of the Christian Cultural Center, promoting creativity, critical thinking, inter-cultural, inter-religious and ecumenical dialogue.


His work is based on examination of the relations between personhood and authorship, especially in the postmodern and globalization context.

He contributed to the theory of creativity by exploring human creative capacities (most notably on the example of art) as an expression of the personal identity of the human being, having an existential importance. He was the first one to formulate a theological argument (from an Orthodox Christian perspective) based on his analysis of modern and contemporary art (in particular the work of Marcel Duchamp, Richard Long, Joseph Kosuth and Andy Warhol).[2] That way he contributed to the revision of the postmodernism, actualizing the question of the possibility and meaning of (human) ontological freedom and creation.

He continued to further develop theological concepts of John Zizioulas and philosophical statements given by Nikolai Berdyaev, implementing them in the analysis of contemporary society. He also examines the concept of "simulacrum" in relation to the human person and its ability to create. Based on the Aesthetik der Absenz, formulated in German-speaking art circles, he recognized and explained the phenomenon of "absence of body" in twentieth-century art.[3]

He contributed to Christian and, specifically, Orthodox Christian political theology with his understanding of anarchism as a political philosophy which focuses on the affirmation of human freedom against any institution or exercise of power. This shapes his approach to "Orthodox Christian anarchism," which he proposes as the only political philosophy which is consistent with Orthodox Christian anthropology and ontology.[4]

He also works in various media artistically including video art, performance, painting, and sculpture.


His work has been presented at numerous exhibitions internationally. He has taken part in many conferences and seminars, having peace and inter-religious backgrounds. It is also held that he played an important role in South Eastern Europe in promoting peace, reconciliation and cooperation between religious communities, primarily because he has contacts among all important religions and religious leaders in the Balkans and in Europe.

He is considered one of the leading Christian anarchist theologians and philosophers,[5] and he is considered to be one of the most important Orthodox Christian thinkers in the world today.[6]

In 2007 his name was added to the list of 100 most influential Southeastern European people in the world, compiled by the daily Blic.[7]


  • Verbal and Visual Marking of Space – Performance-installation (2000)
  • Funeral of an Author – Video-performance (2002)
  • Creating... – Video (2003)
  • The Red Army – Video (2003)
  • Icons in Black Forest – Action (2004)
  • Meditation with Icons and Serbian Coffee in Japanese Garden (in Freiburg) – Performance (2005)
  • Absent Body of the Artist – Actions (2006)
  • The Body of the Artist – Photographs (2006)
  • One and Three Pyramids – Installation, Belgrade (2007)
  • 10/30 – Retrospective art exhibition, Belgrade (2010)
  • Facing New Faces of Icons – One-man exhibition, Greifswald (2011)

Selected articles[edit]

  • Who is an Author (Artist)? (2003)
  • Totalitarianism and Totalitarianisms on Serbian Way to European Union (2004)
  • Significance and Meaning of the Process of Global Integrations (2004)
  • On the Meaning of Church Art (2004)
  • Human Face between Mask and Person (2005)
  • On the Horrible Sin of Nationalism (2006)
  • A Comparative Research of the Space Issue on the Examples of the "Lamentation" Composition from Nerezi and Giotto's "Lamentation" from the Arena Chapel (2006)
  • Techne vs. Creatio: The Inner Conflict of Art (2010)
  • The (In)Stability of Memory (2012)
  • Beauty Will Destroy the World (2012)
  • Religion, Politics, and Beyond: The Pussy Riot Case (2013)
  • Ikonen neu:gefasst oder über das Menschsein in unserer heutigen Medienkultur (2014)
  • Art: A Brief History of Absence (From the Conception and Birth, Life and Death, to the Living Deadness of Art) (2015)
  • Otherness, Symbolism, and Modernism in Serbia: Leon Koen (2015)
  • The Quest for Reality That Has Not Happened (Yet) (2016)
  • Monism, Dualism, Pluralism? From Orthodox Cosmology to Political Theology (2016)
  • Icons – Between Images and Words. Between Images and Words. Modes of Representation or Modes of Being? (2016)
  • The Challenge of ‘Posteriority’ and Pluralism (2016)
  • Orthodox Christian Political Theology: An Anarchist Perspective” in Political Theologies in Orthodox Christianity (2017)
  • Christianity and Contemporary Art: An (Un)Natural Alliance? (2017)
  • Icons: the Orthodox Understanding of Images and the Influence on Western Art (2019)
  • The Aesthetic Face of the Sacred (2019)
  • Orthodoxes Christentum und zeitgenössische Kunst (2019)
  • Freedom and Nothingness, between Theodicy and Anthropodicy: Lacan and (Un)Orthodox Perspectives (2019)


  • On Writings as an Artistic, Historic, Cultural and Social Phenomenon, Niš: Đorđe Krstić School of Art (1998)
  • The Role of the Artist in Self-Referent Art, Berlin: Dissertation.de (2007)
  • The Testimony of Icons (Svedočanstvo ikona /in Serbian/, Ikonen legen Zeugnis ab /in German/), Belgrade – Tainach: Christian Cultural Center, Sodalitas (2008)
  • Decem concepti et termini, Belgrade: Faculty of Culture and Media (2009)
  • Plus Ultra: Essays in Culture, Communication and Faith, Belgrade: Otacnik (2011)
  • Res Publica, Belgrade-Požarevac: Diocese of Braničevo-Department of Education and Culture (2013)
  • The Human Work of Art: A Theological Appraisal of Creativity and the Death of the Artist, New York: SVS Press (2014)
  • Religion and Realism, New Castle u. Tyne: Cambridge Scholars (2016)
  • Art as Tautology, Belgrade: Clio (2016)
  • In Medias Res, Belgrade: Admiral Books (2017)
  • Yugoslavia: Peace, War, and Dissolution (with Noam Chomsky), New York: PMP (2018)


  1. ^ (Ksenija Pavlovic, 10/30 Exhibition Catalogue, Belgrade: 2010, 5–6)
  2. ^ 1980-, Džalto, Davor (2014). The human work of art : a theological appraisal of creativity and the death of the artist. Yonkers, New York. ISBN 9780881415018. OCLC 881848587.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Dzalto, Davor (2015). "Art: A brief history of absence (From the conception and birth, life and death, to the living deadness of art)" (PDF). Filozofija I Drustvo. 26 (3): 652–676. doi:10.2298/fid1503652d. ISSN 0353-5738.
  4. ^ Džalto, Davor (2016). "Anarchism and Orthodoxy". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ Stoeckl, Kristina; et al. (2017-06-15). Political Theologies in Orthodox Christianity: Common Challenges - Divergent Perspectives. London: Bloomsbury. ISBN 9780567674135.
  6. ^ (http://www.svspress.com/the-human-work-of-art-a-theological-appraisal-of-creativity-and-the-death-of-the-artist/)
  7. ^ "Po njima nas prepoznaju u svetu". Blic (in Serbian). 20 January 2007. Archived from the original on 2009-02-16. Retrieved 29 April 2019.

External links[edit]