Ismar Čirkinagić was born in 1973 in Prijedor, Bosnia and Herzegovina (at that time the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia). He came to Denmark in 1992, following the breakup of Yugoslavia, the brutal war, and ethnic cleansing in his region of Northwestern Bosnia and Herzegovina. Between 1992 and 1995, he spent nearly three years in various refugee camps in Denmark before obtaining permanent residence. For him and some of his fellow compatriots, who later became an active part of the Danish cultural scene, this period of war and exile was a turning point in their lives and a vital source of inspiration for their works.
In 1997 Čirkinagić enrolled at the Copenhagen Art School and was admitted to The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2000. His professional career began in 2006 after completing his master’s degree.
Most of his artistic practice is thematically related to socio-political context. It is mainly produced in the form of conceptual installations, consisting of videos, photos, texts and object-based elements. His earlier works resulted from extensive research on war and the post-war period in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which focused on the violent process of disintegration of society and its postulates. During this period, the artist formed a number of personal beliefs and visual principles that were later implemented in more recent projects. These ideas merged with other thematic content, creating a recognizable visual vocabulary, based on complex narratives, articulated through simple minimalist elements, which often seemed emotionally withdrawn at first glance. A good example of this type of transitional work can be seen in the exhibition Smoking Gun in Kunsthal Aarhus and Bricks of Enlightenment in Nikolaj Contemporary Art Center, both awarded by The Danish Arts Foundation.
While diﬀerent art media intertwine in his installations, his photography projects are mostly clear-cut, singlemedium exhibitions, such as Negatives beyond the green, With Matter Through Time, or Ocean Europe.
Čirkinagić has had exhibitions in museums and art centres in Denmark and internationally. Danish exhibition venues include Nikolaj Contemporary Art Center, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Art Museum Brandts, Esbjerg Art Museum, Sorø Art Museum, Randers Museum of Art, HEART Museum of Contemporary Art, ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, ARoS Art Museum and National Gallery of Denmark. Internationally, he has exhibited at Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales, in Havana, Artsi Vantaa Art Museum in Finland, Metropolitan Arts Centre in Belfast, The Lviv National Art Gallery in Lviv, Mestrovic Pavilion, in Zagreb, Collegium Artisticum in Sarajevo, National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo, as well as the ARoS Triennial, the SOCLE DU MONDE Biennials, and Liverpool Biennials.
Čirkinagić’s artworks can today be found in several public art collections such as Ars Aevi Museum of Contemporary Art, Sarajevo, The National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, The Danish Arts Foundation, The National Museum Of Photography in Denmark, ARoS Art Museum, Sorø Art Museum and the SMK- National Gallery of Denmark.
He lives and works between Copenhagen and Prijedor.