The Cycle: Art in front of the Art Pavilion
– from the beginning of March until the end of November 2021
Last year faced us with multiple challenges. To compound the unprecedented global epidemiological situation, in March, Zagreb was struck by an earthquake, which (temporarily at least) made the Art Pavilion unfit for holding its regular exhibition programme.
The new circumstances led to a creative reaction, that of relocating the artistic production. The new exhibition programme, unpretentiously named Art in front of the Art Pavilion, moved, accordingly, into the open air. Thus far, the exterior primarily served as an access point to the building, although it had been transformed into exhibition space for artworks on several occasions – let us recall, for example, the exhibitions of Dušan Džamonja (1999), Ivan Kožarić (2005/2006) and Mirjana Vodopija (2013). However, thanks to the urban planning design features of the Pavilion, this new curatorial endeavor will transform the space in front of the institution into a place that encourages people to linger and spend time here. The space of the Art Pavilion itself was always imagined as a place of interaction and urban life, and now that this aspect has been to some extent put out of reach, the outside space might well take on the togetherness factor.
It is not just the building that is impressive, but also the context in which it is placed, and the new programme makes use of precisely this quality, the expanded field of the Pavilion. In the four exhibitions in the programme, we shall present four Croatian sculptors, whose works, each in their own particular manner, will animate and enhance the exterior of the Art Pavilion. Apart from the actually enhanced accessibility of this manner of exhibiting works, which puts art into public space, it also prompts thinking about the role and potential of public sculpture, irrespective of its sometimes ephemeral character.
The first exhibition will show an installation by Osijek sculptor Tihomir Matijević, entitled Ordnung, which establishes a dialectical relationship with the commemorative statuary. Matijević’s work functions as the embodiment of all phases of the artistic process, from conception to production. It is also in a sense an image of society, ironical and somewhat grotesque in character. The installation interrogates the relation of monument and sculpture, the social and economic conditioning of artistic production, concentrating on the theme of public sculpture and the pondering and use of public surfaces.
The sculpture will be on show in front of the Art Pavilion from early March to the end of April, 2021.
Slavomir Drinković: 2016-2021 / Remembering…
May 11, 2021 – July 11, 2021
The next exhibition in the cycle Art in front of the Art Pavilion is dedicated to the memory of the renowned Croatian sculptor Slavomir Drinković. In the next instalment of the open-air art programme, designed in such a way as to keep up the exhibition tradition of the Pavilion in spite of the damage to the venue, we are putting on the show SLAVOMIR DRINKOVIĆ: 2016-2021 / Remembering… and thus marking the fifth anniversary of the death of the sculptor.
At the end of 2013, the Art Pavilion’s director, Jasminka Poklečki Stošić, invited Slavomir Drinkovic in the upcoming years to have a solo show in the Pavilion. Drinković at first accepted the proposal and included the work Trunks in the preliminary concept for the exhibition. This was to have been the first, premier, presentation of this seminal work of the sculptor, a version of which was placed in perpetuity on his land in Jelsa on Hvar Island in 2016.
Alas, because of the artist’s poor health the exhibition in the Art Pavilion was never produced, and Slavomir Drinković left us in 2016.
But now, we can thank the cycle Art in front of the Art Pavilion for being able to have in Zagreb the chance, for the first time, to see this monumental work of Drinković.
Art historian Branko Franceschi in the catalogue introduction wrote, among other things: “In the endeavour to continue with the exhibition programme, the management of the pavilion (the appearance of which, however damaged in the recent earthquakes, nevertheless maintains the illusion of being a tightly compact edifice) could not have chosen a better artist. Drinković is known as a master of the depiction of the working of tectonic disturbances that strain, shatter or break through the taut surface or the strong fullness of form. This comparison with the recent earthquakes that affected the stability of the Pavilion and made it unsuitable for exhibitions, but also prompted a cycle of exhibitions of monumental sculpture on the approach to it, references the unpredictable natural forces that are driven by the same laws of the universe that are so attentively thought through and produced in Drinković’s sculptures.
In essence, Trunks is a cube of space articulated by nine oak trunks or logs placed in three dense rows of three trunks each. This is a formation of the kind that, in terms of the uniform intensity of the internal interspaces could have been set up only by an artist, never by nature. The remarkable effect is produced precisely from the tension between the organic nature of the boles and the strictly artificial manner in which they are treated and organised.
The first version of this work was put up in the German city of Dresden in 2013, at the Ostrale exhibition; then in Jelsa in 2016 as part of the exhibition Ješonska – Selection of Works, 1974 – 2016; and now in Zagreb, when with it we are recalling the brilliant sculptor who left us far too early. This is a multilayered work that can be read also from the aspects of dying, departure, decay and vanishing and so is today, in the time of the pandemic, perhaps more current than ever before.
Kažimir Hraste, 1901. – 1907.
July 20 – September 12, 2021
The new exhibition in the cycle Art in front of the Art Pavilion will open on July 20, 2021 with the work of a renowned Croatian sculptor Kažimir Hraste.
Hraste is an artist inspired by the joy of life and his works are characterized by the dialogue between tradition and contemporaneity as well as by the architectural approach to sculpting. They are likewise influenced by the author’s attachment to the local context and tradition.
On the entrance steps of the Art Pavilion visitors will be greeted by Hraste’s sculpture 1901. – 1907. from 2016, also known as the portrait of Ivan Meštrović. The sculpture, made of iron and glass, testifies to the harmonious union of series of voids and spatial penetration. Interior and exterior spaces intertwine in it. The work is a sort of an homage to Ivan Meštrović and his formative Secession period spent in Vienna. It was made as a site specific sculpture for Hraste’s exhibition at the Ivan Meštrović Gallery in Split, and now it will be exhibited for the first time in Zagreb, in a different context. From the steps of the Art Pavilion, Meštrović’s portrait will look upon the work of the great master himself – the monument of Andrija Medulić situated in front of the Pavilion. This curatorial decision highlights the act of honoring artistic predecessors as well as the crucial role of the Art Pavilion in merging the tradition with the exceptional contemporary art production.
Kažimir Hraste was born in 1954, in Supetar, on Brač Island. He took a degree in sculpture from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1978, class of Valerije Michieli. Hraste did post-graduate work in sculpture in Ljubljana, completing in 1984. He was one of the founders of the Arts Academy in Split in 1997 where he currently works as a tenured professor at the Sculpture department. Hraste has put on some forty solo shows and taken part in about two hundred exhibitions at home and abroad. His works are to be found in national galleries and museums. He has created a considerable number of monuments in public and religious spaces. He is the recipient of a number of prizes and commendations as well as two national decorations – the Order of the Croatian Daystar with the image of Marko Marulić and another with the image of Katarina Zrinska. Since 2012, he has been an associate member of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts.
Besides the splendor of the building itself, the Art Pavilion’s new exhibition cycle makes use of the advantages of its impressive ambiance. The public will be able to enjoy Kažimir Hraste’s outdoor sculpture until September 12, 2021.
September 21, 2021 – November 29, 2021
The last exhibition in the Art cycle in front of the Art Pavilion will present the intriguing sculptor Neven Bilić in the period from September 21 to November 29, 2021.
Neven Bilić was born in Zagreb in 1972. In the class of Professor Stanko Jančić, he graduated in sculpture in 1995 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, where he now works as an associate professor in the sculpture department. Bilić is known for modularly shaped sculptures made of polyester mass, complex and branched structure with applied relief ornament (Monstrance) which are based on the design principle of repetition with the potential of infinite extension.
In his work, the author experiments with different types of synthetic materials and tries to find the optimal technological procedure for the realization of the work. Bilic’s sculptures seem to grow out of some organic level, but at the same time they bear a strong artificial, constructed stamp.
These serial and upgradeable works, with a pronounced architectural line, become the author’s trademark.
The sculptures are most often placed on the ground, in direct contact with the space they inhabit and with the observer himself, and they have a very pronounced ambient quality.
On the plateau in front of the Art Pavilion, Neven Bilić will exhibit one of the chained sculptures, which will include the entrance part of the Pavilion and connect the building with the exterior in which the program takes place.
The Virtual gallery of the Art Pavilion in Zagreb
March 2021 – February 2022
The particular and unpredictable circumstances of 2020 faced us with multiple challenges. Not only was there the demanding epidemiological situation but in March Zagreb was struck by an earthquake that temporarily put the Art Pavilion out of commission as far as the holding of its regular exhibitions was concerned.
And yet, new and uncommon conditions often make fertile ground for the generation of a new kind of creativity. In addition to a special programme called Art in Front of the Art Pavilion, which has maintained the continuity of the institution’s exhibition activity, the Virtual gallery of the Art Pavilion has also been launched, the aim being to expand the area of artistic activity. Idea and production have moved to a different sphere – online. The specific context has resulted in a unique project that actually in these difficult conditions functions in a somewhat experimental new-media form, the focus being placed on contemporary art and artists of the younger generation.
The selector of the virtual programme is art historian Dr Ivana Mance from the Institute of Art History in Zagreb. To her has been confided the task of selecting several young artists who at intervals of a couple of months will be presented in the venue of the online gallery. The artists featured will be Tin Dožić, Mihael Giba, Klasja Habjan, Oleg Šuran and Ivana Tkalčić.
In communication with the artists, the idea of infiltrating the space of the Pavilion was developed, in a kind of parasitism of its digital sphere, because it is not permitted to spend time in the exhibition rooms because of the damage caused by the earthquake. The artists use footage of the surveillance cameras in the building so as to be able to intervene indirectly in the space of the Pavilion. Each one in accordance with his or her own poetics, but united by the umbrella idea of inhabiting the Pavilion, the artists offer visitors a well-nigh voyeuristic view of the space that currently cannot be accessed, reveal its secret life, offer a view into the bowels of the building that has been previously impossible. In conceptual terms, the project functions as a reference to WFH in the period of the “new normal”, the shifting of all functions under the aegis of the home – artistic work and production, as well as the consumption of artistic contents.
In the course of this year, within the programme of the Virtual gallery we will introduce you to five young artists.
On March 22, on the anniversary of Zagreb earthquake, we will launch our Virtual gallery by presenting the first author in the cycle – a multimedia artist Mihael Giba. In his work, Giba applies digital tools in research in the sphere of the media. He has created numerous interactive installations and applications, often focusing on social and political reality and commenting on the system in which we live.
This will be followed by four more exhibitions:
Oleg Šuran is a designer of interactions and visual communications as well as assistant at the visual communications design department at Arts Academy in Split. He is one of the front-runners in research and critical practices in Croatian design, with a special interest in speculative design practice. The phenomenon of sound is the point of departure of artist and psychologist.
Ivana Tkalčić is a multimedia artist who also possesses a master’s in economics; her work deals with the transformation of the image and memory with the help of technical media, the influence of technology and social media and in consequence with the change in the attitude to reality and the formation and transformation of identity. She won the Grand Prix of the 35th Youth Salon in 2020.
Illustrator and graphic designer Klasja Habjan cultivates an intimist and introspective artistic expression. She is a tale-teller with an exceptional ability to perceive world around her and record it in succinct and poetic stories.
Tin Dožić; his area of activity includes multimedia field recordings, radio, experimental music and installations, media archaeology and DIY culture. In his work he also deals with the construction of his own electronic instruments, via the appropriation and recycling of obsolescent technology.
We believe that the Virtual gallery project is an excellent platform for representing young artists. More so if we take into consideration that the Web site of the Art Pavilion was visited around 70 000 times in 2019! Therefore, we are going to continue with this project even after the damage to the Art Pavilion caused by the earthquake is repaired and our exhibitions available again in “live” version.