Ivan Grubanov, PhD in the Arts

Unnation is a 17th century term that hasn't been in use for over a hundred years. However, its meaning is crucial for understanding the depth of contemporary social and political turmoil, especially the recent 'migrant crises' in Europe. Ivan Grubanov, a painter and philosopher, with the aid of a political scientist, Peter Vermeersch, embarks on seeking new references for an ancient term that incorporates two of his own troubling experiences: the civil war in his native former Yugoslavia and more recently a few years spent there with illegal migrants on their passage to Europe. Grubanov defines the migrants as being unnationed and establishes his definition through a network of vivid descriptions of encounters with them, but also through philosophical speculation and his own paintings. Grubanov seeks for more than to re-establish the ancient term, he seeks for the ways of painterly practice to be the method of defining social phenomena.


  • Prof. dr. Peter Vermeersch (supervisor, KU Leuven)
  • Mr. Wim Lambrecht (co-supervisor, LUCA)

Duration: 2011 - 2016

Research Unit: Image