THE KURJAK COLLECTION
– from the “Private Collections in a public institution series
Jan 30, 2019. – March 17, 2019
The Collection of Dr Asim Kurjak
We might suppose that the collection of Dr Kurjak, in the true sense of the word, started to grow, develop and be supplemented after the year 1970 to 1971, that is, after his period of medical specialisation in England. What were concerned, by and large, were works of Croatian and Bosnia-Herzegovinian origins: of Croatian artists in Croatia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina, of Bosnian and Herzegovinian artists in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in Croatia too, and so on, in all the possible permutations. This is not unfamiliar to experts, far less is it disturbing; these are the realities of genetics, upbringing and education. The distinction is not only according to these, but also according to the political, dividing lines, to which we might add the fact that in the whole history of modern art ever since the end of the 19th century there is no rarity in those nomadic artists who through their lifetimes convey not only their own authentic tradition but also that which belongs to other schools and spaces – practically, their own second and third level schools, traditions, wells of inspiration.
The Kurjak Collection consists today of several hundred works (in the most diverse techniques and genres), distributed among three essential sites – Zagreb, Sarajevo and Dubrovnik. It has no historical pretensions, although by the very classification of works according to the years of their origins some chronological sequence. some kind of history, even if unsought, can be established. But in the Kurjak Collection this is not of primary concern. Dr Kurjak, it can be seen, has not ordered his collection according to the standards of Modernism. We can gather that he is a collector who personally is inclined to the traditional emanations of painting, drawing and sculpture – and accordingly also to a string of neo- or retro-phenomena (like, for example, Hyperrealism) but it is also a fact that at times, from occasion to occasion, never with any set and established passion, he will observe an outburst of novelty (younger, more recent), the spark of a more liberated hand.
Sometimes, entering not so long ago into the collector’s branch, he brought into the mainstream of art some peripheral works of marginal artists concerning whom time showed us that in the backwaters really good things could be discovered. A lot of profit can be made by those who come early to the marketplace (and this is very often remarked), but there is also an advantage to those who, for this or that reason, come after the stroke of noon (and this is never written or spoken of).
The exhibition of the Kurjak Collection encompasses about 160 exhibits in various techniques and formats. There are very large, magniloquent formats in oils, and there are also minute notations, drawings, sketches or illustrations. On show will be works of many distinguished, even the most distinguished, artists, from the beginnings of Modernism to the current young leaders of today. The Zagreb exhibition will show us works of Bukovac, Medović, Čikoš-Sesija, Crnčić, Kovačević, Vidović, Auer, Rački, Krizman, Krušlin, Rojc, Račić, Becić, Mijić, Babić, Miše, Gecan, Šeferov, Varlaj, Krizmanić, Trepše, Uzelac, Krsto Hegedušić, Motika, Mujadžić, Parać, Detoni, Šimunović, Šohaj, Šebalj, Kopač, Ivan Generalić, Gliha, Dulčić, Prica, Veža, Lovrenčić, Reiser, Masle, Murtić, Rabuzin, Džamonja, Vaništa, Ivančić, Stančić, Trostman, Kavurić–Kurtović, Berber, the two Vejzovićes, Kauzlarić, Lapuh, Kuliš and many other consummate artists, in whom a great many, coming to the exhibition, will rejoice.
Summary concenring the exhibition by its author, Igor Zidić
DUŠAN DŽAMONJA: THE FIFTIES AND THE SIXTIES
In commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the artist’s death
April 4 – May 5, 2019
Dušan Džamonja, sculptor, academician, architect, is one of the most productive Croatian creators of sculpture, making his career in both his home country and abroad. His rich oeuvre, created from the middle of the last century, numbers several thousand sculptures, drawings and design concepts. The Art Pavilion, marking the tenth anniversary of the sculptor’s death, has decided to put on an exhibition of one section of this scintillating body of works.
The exhibition of works from the oeuvre of Dušan Džamonja will cover pieces from the period starting at the end of the forties and in the early fifties and ending in 1965, with a few sculptures of a more recent date, placing the accent on continuity. The exhibition has been conceived in such a way as to show a cross-section of the earlier period of his work, after he finished the Academy of Fine Art, all the way up to the crucial formative period and the Venice Biennale.
Works from this period of his artistic career have long not been put on show, and some works that have never been exhibited and were recently restored have also been found. The general and specialised publics will thus be acquainted with works that have never or seldom appeared before. Along with works from the earlier period, works from the last phase of Džamonja’s work will be seen in order, as already remarked, to lay an emphasis on the artistic continuity in consideration and treatment of the material. The exhibition will contribute to a proper evaluation and to a reinterpretation of the work of Dušan Džamonja. In fact, thanks to the presentation of this, the lesser known, part of the work (sculptures, drawings and studies) will in fact exemplify the transformation from the figurative to the abstract idiom through the prism of the practice of the Džamonja of that time. Along with classic works of smaller format, the exhibition will also show recently restored works from the family collection as well as several landmark large-sized sculptures from the monumental complex in Vrsar. All the works for the exhibition come from the Džamonja Family Collection.
The exhibition is a coproduction with the Split Museum of Fine Arts, where it will be held from 24th January to 28th February 2019.
Exhibition concept: Fedor Džamonja
Curator: Branko Franceschi
LET THEM EAT CAKE
Food in Art
May 21 – July 7, 2019
The exhibition Let them eat cake will present works with food motifs created by Croatian artists since the beginnings of the modern period and going on to the present day. It will cover, then, works from the second half of the 19th century until the present day. On the other hand, the exhibition catalogue, thanks to a multidisciplinary approach to the theme – which along with essays by art historians will include pieces written from the angle of the nutritionist, sociologist, philosopher, anthropologist and psychologist, will cover the wider cultural understanding of food in contemporary civilisation.
Society of today, global and local, produces supplies of food that are completely incommensurable in terms of quantity and quality with any preceding civilisation. Yet in spite of this, large numbers of people are subject to famine and to inadequate diets. The preparation of food is ultimately sophisticated and its serving and its function in social life have been ritualised to the extent of producing an epidemic of contradictory phenomena, epitomised by eating disorders. While at one end of the spectrum of civilisation food is being thrown away and producing sickness, at the other people are dying of starvation.
The necessity of nutrition has in every society developed a very specific food culture. Global and multicultural civilisation reflects this as fusion cuisine, and the development of science as molecular cooking. In the visual arts, the motif of food has in the thousand year period of traditional visual art developed into a special genre of the still life, while contemporary visual artists have used it as a platform from which to criticise civilisation and as an indicator of the inequitable distribution of political and economic power.
The exhibition, named according to the far-fabled statement attributed to Queen Marie-Antoinette, will present this paradigm change through the works of local artists in all the media in which modern visual creativity is produced – traditional visual disciplines as well as photography, video, installation and interactive contents. Works from different decades and in different disciplines will be set up in such a way as to supplement each other in their aesthetic experience and at the semantic level. Thus the exhibition, through the consideration of a theme known to all will have a strong educational potential in the depiction of the evolution of the artistic trends of the twentieth century.
Exhibition concept and design by Jasminka Poklečki Stošić and Branko Franceschi
A comprehensive catalogue will be printed to accompany the exhibition, containing, along with reproductions of all the works at the show, specialised texts, both to do with art and to do with food, in its historical, sociological, cultural, political, religious, gastronomic, anthropological and psychological aspects.
From the series “Environmental exhibitions of contemporary Croatian artists for the Art Pavilion”.
July 19 – September 1, 2019
The Art Pavilion in Zagreb some ten years back launched a series called “Environmental exhibitions of contemporary Croatian artists for the Art Pavilion”. This is a series that has won plaudits from the discipline and the general public alike, and has proved itself an excellent framework for the presentation of recent production of contemporary Croatian artists. How important and of what a high quality the series is, in other words of how many brilliant exhibitions have been put on under its aegis, is shown by the fact that several artists / exhibitions have won prizes for presentations within this series – in 2016, for example, Zoltan Novak, Zlatan Vrkljan, etc.
This year within the framework of the series we are presenting an established painter of the middle generation, Bojan Šumonja (1960). Šumonja graduated at the Venetian Art Academy in the class of Giancarlo Tramontin. He has in his richly variegated career had a large number of shows at home and abroad; this will be the first Šumonja outing in the Art Pavilion.
Born in Pula, October 29, 1960. He graduated from the secondary school of art in Pula, and subsequently took a degree from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia, sculpture section, class of Giancarlo Tramontin, in 1984.
He is one of the founders of the Croatian Association of Visual Artists of Istria. He has been a member of the Croatian Association of Independent Artists (the HSZU). He has been a member of the city of Pula’s visual art council and of the visual art council of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia. He is one of the creators of the Istrian Cultural Strategy. Šumonja is a member of the art organisation ROBOT, Pula, and is artistic director of the Poola Gallery in Pula.
Bojan Šumonja has exhibited at over 200 collective and has had 100 solo exhibitions at home and abroad.
He has represented Croatia at many international projects and exhibitions.
He has won numerous prizes and commendations for his work in art and in 2007, published by HDLU Istria, a monograph on the artist’s work was published, with a text by Igor Zidić.
His works are kept in the permanent collection of the Modern Gallery, Zagreb, the holdings of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rijeka, the Local History Museum of Rovinj, the Coastal Galleries in Piran and in many regional, civic and private collections.
ALEXANDER CALDER / MAGE OF SCULPTURAL MOVEMENT
From the series “Greatest Sculptors of the 20th century”
September 25, 2019 – January 5, 2020
Alexander Calder (1898, Lawnton, Pennsylvania – 1976, New York) is one of the most important of 20th century artists on the world cultural scene.
Carrying on with the succeses of the series “Greatest Sculptors of the 20th Century”, started in the Art Pavilion in Zagreb in 2014 with the Joan Miró exhibition, continued in 2015 with the exhibition of the French sculptor Auguste Rodin and then with the exhibition of Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti, the works of the great American sculptor Alexander Calder will be presented in the exhibition space of the Art Pavilion in 2019.
Calder’s oeuvre focuses on kinetic art, that is, on the form of artistic expression in which movement is the main component of the aesthetic of the art object.
Calder came from a family of famous sculptors; his grandfather and father were both sculptors, and Calder got his first lessons from them. He continued his education through private lessons in painting, and later studied art in New York. However, he also enrolled in a mechanical engineering course (which later turned out to be of crucial importance in the innovation of mobile sculptures). As early as the twenties he was doing his first sculptures in wood, and in 1927 his first moving toys were created. In the late twenties he started making his first wire figures, which dominated the early period of his work. In the Paris of the early thirties, Calder got to know Mondrian, Miró, Arp and Duchamp. He joined the Abstraction-Création Group (1931-1936) and started working on his mobiles, sculptures that were set mechanically in motion. Soon appeared his static monumental abstract constructions that he called stabiles. Calder’s stabiles are a most important part of the history of kineticism and modern art, since they mark the breaking of the links between kineticism and works moved mechanically.
The exhibition in the Art Pavilion will be focusing on the part of the sculptor’s career that he dedicated to stabiles and mobiles: to mobiles, carefully balanced constructions that move partially or completely under the influence of the movement of the air, and the abstract constructions called stabiles. In the Art Pavilion, then, it those works from the mature Calder phase, as it is called, that will be on show, those that give him his global reputation. It is important to point out that Calder’s mobiles and stabiles were prize winners at the Venice Biennale in 1952, and today can be seen not only in the best known world and European museums, but also in public spaces throughout the world.
As well as his sculptures, the exhibition will comprehend the painting part of the sculptor’s oeuvre, which is most often closely connected with the three-dimensional part of the work. Some fifty paintings will be exhibited.
The exhibition in the Art Pavilion in Zagreb is the first in Croatia and in this part of Europe to present the oeuvre of this globally significant sculptor.
For the exhibition in the Art Pavilion, pictures and sculptures of Alexander Calder will be on loan from the most important European museums, such as: the Pompidou Centre (Paris, France); the Tate Modern (London, UK); the Ludwig Museum (Cologne, Germany); the Louisiana Museum (Denmark); the Maeght Foundation (France); the Peggy Guggenheim Collection (Venice, Italy), and many more besides.
The exhibition is created, the works are selected and the set up will be designed by the director of the Art Pavilion, Jasminka Poklečki Stošić.
ZAGREB: CITY OF WOMEN ARTISTS
to be produced in 2020
the exhibition will be mounted to mark Croatia’s presidency of the EU, in the first half of 2020, and in honour of Zagreb, capital of Croatia
The fundamental idea behind the exhibition is that it should provide a historical and critical cross-section from the oeuvres of women visual artists who were at work in and left their mark on the cultural life of the city of Zagreb, in the period from the end of the 19th century until the present day. Within this quite large span of time, the generations of women artists will be presented in three large but historically logical units. The first will cover generations that operated up to World War II; the second shows the generations who started their exhibition activity after World War II and produced the major parts of their works in the following decades; the third will present the cohorts that appeared on the scene at the beginning of the seventies and later, and most of whom are still at work today. The first unit will present artistic phenomena from the period in which women did not have any kind of institutional education, but who with their oeuvres did participate in the general stylistic tendencies of the time (Fani Daubachy, Jelka Struppi Wolkensperg and Slavka Raškaj, with others); then the first generations trained at the Zagreb College of Art and Fine Craft or elsewhere in Europe, who after World War I were to form the first Female Visual Artists Club (Lina Crnčić Virant, Nasta Rojc, Zdenka Ostović Pexidr Srića, Vera Nikolić Podrinska, Iva Simonović Despić, Mila Wod, Leopoldina Auer Schmidt) or even their own schools of drawing (Zora Preradović), to the generations that came on the scene in the interwar period (Anka Krizmanić, Sonja Kovačić Tajčević, Ivana Tomljenović Meller). The second unit will show artists who made their names in the art scene in the post-war period, making an essential contribution to the culture of high and late Modernism, but also going on with their work even later (the sculptural oeuvres of Ksenija Kantoci, Mila Kumbatović, Milena Lah, Vera Dajht Kralj, Marija Ujević; the graphic and painting works of Marta Ehrlich, Nevenka Đorđević, Vesna Sokolić, Biserka Baretić, Nives Kavurić Kurtović and others). The third unit should present artists who started their work at the time of the breakdown of the high Modernist paradigm, who adopted new, neo-figurative, Pop Art, conceptual, performative and multimedial forms of artistic expression (Ljerka Šibenik, Jadranka Fatur, Sanja Iveković, Vlasta Delimar) and the Postmodernist, trans-avant-garde manifestations of New Geo and the New Image (Edita Schubert, Zvjezdana Fio, Marcela Munger, Nina Ivančić). This unit would also cover generations of artists who were to come to maturity by the beginning of the new millennium, their works being counted among contemporary art trends (Vesna Pokas, Ksenija Turčić, Kristina Leko, Andreja Kulunčić, Božena Končić Badurina). Also included in this section will be authors from the area of art photography (Slavka Pavić, Marija Braut, Nada Orel, Ana Opalić and others).
The advantage of this concept, which covers really a large range of generations, is twofold. It necessitates a stringently selective approach to the selection of authors and works on one hand, and indicates the historical dynamics of the gender breakdown of art on the other. Not in search of any single denominator of female artistic expression, the intention of the exhibition is to draw attention to the changeable historical and artistic circumstances in which these women artists worked and within which they won space for their artistic testimony.
The admitted lack of this kind of selection, which in other national arts has long since corrected and supplemented generally accepted canons, will make the proposed exhibition useful for scholarship, and for this reason it is planned to be a two-year project, to be preceded by research works by the women authors who are proposed for its implementation.
Idea for the exhibition by the director of the Art Pavilion: Jasminka Poklečki Stošić
Exhibition concept by: PhD Ljerka Dulibić, Iva Radmila Janković and PhD Ivana Mance
Exhibition program for 2018
Art Journey – 120 Years / Artist / Works
Feb 1, 2018 – March 4,2018
Author of the exhibition, selection of works and text – Tonko Maroević
EMANUEL VIDOVIĆ – in commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the artist´s death
March 20, 2018 – May 13, 2018
Author of the exhibition, selection of works and text – Igor Zidić
KSENIJA TURČIĆ – KALEIDOSCOPE
June 5, 2018 – July 1, 2018
Curator and author of the text – Rada Iva Janković
JOSE CURA – The Life throught the Lence of the Famous Tenor
July 9, 2018 – July 15, 2018
Author of the exhibition – Jasminka Poklečki Stošić
ZLATAN VEHABOVIĆ – Dark White Earth
July 20, 2018 – Sept 2, 2018
Curator and author of the text – Branko Franceschi
VLAHO BUKOVAC AND ALEXANDRE CABANEL – A HISTORIC ENCOUNTER OF A PUPIL AND A TEACHER
Sept 25, 2018 – Jan 6, 2019
Author of the exhibition, selection of works and text – Igor Zidić