Klasja Habjan exhibition
The Klasja Habjan exhibition Homunculus ludens
for the Virtual Gallery of the Art Pavilion
By inviting this kind of interactive participation, Klasja Habjan suggests to the virtual visitor a kind of identification with the drawn doppelganger. And actually, he or she does exactly what the regular public of the Pavilion currently may not and cannot: like a burglar secretly getting into the space, via the window of the southern altana of the building. But the differences do not cease here. While the visitors of conventional exhibitions, who according to the rules of good behaviour are enjoined to restraint in their reactions, the character does not hide his delight. Although in the Pavilion there is currently nothing to see, the little drawn fellow gives itself up to the experience; it walks in a circle, going around in the way the logic of the space itself enjoins, literally immersing itself in the reality, literally melting from the strength of the impression, literally rising to the heights of the sublime and turning into ether and literally looking at imagined, dreamed up situations that in reality do not, in themselves, exist.
It is about, then, a story of the states of mind aroused by art, which Habjan tells with the help of the poetic figure of embodied metaphors. In the context of the highly cultivated world of art, which presumes exclusivity of knowledge and a refined taste, this kind of immediacy and intensity of reaction is bound to seem naïve. But this homunculus is not an arbiter of quality, nor an ambitious and wealthy connoisseur; he is just a subject who is full of love for art, which has an effect upon him even when it is not visible with the naked eye to the conventional public. We can perhaps assume that for this uncommon art lover it is actually the very emptiness of the Art Pavilion that is the occasion for ecstasy. For the gallery space of the Pavilion is at last free of everything that is lateral and superfluous to art, everything supplementary, everything alienated, everything that makes art the capital of the minority; the gallery space is at last brought down to the essential – the beauty in the eye of the beholder, the capacity of everyman to perceive the man-made reality in its relationship to the serenity of infinity, to react to it creatively, like a true homo ludens to play with it in the name of the imaginary justice of the world. And while the world of art, or its establishment, systematically converts art into assets and power, setting down the modalities of its use, the place and manners of its consumption, exchanging its values for large amounts of money, the homunculus of Kaslja Habjan embodies the ideal amateur perspective, the retrieved ability to simply be moved by art, to be touched, carried away, elevated by it, to melt before it. Even if in this phase of the development of civilisation this is not enough for the social functioning of art, it is a good thing to remind oneself that it is still the only thing needful.
Author of the text: dr. sc. Ivana Mance
Access the virtual exhibition by clicking on the photo:
List of exhibitions
2020. Napokon netko!, serija kolaža prema priči, Galerija Rigo, Novigrad
2019. Džungla, serija plakata, Bar Botaničar, Zagreb
Crtice, zbirka priča i grafika, Galerija Šira, Zagreb
2015. Ilustracije i animacije, KSET, Zagreb
2014. Pješčani grad, crteži prema priči, galerija Skale do Sunca, Stara Novalja, Pag
2020 Kolektart, prodajna izložba, Lauba, Zagreb
Situacija, (Anti)salon mladih, Galerija Canvas, Zagreb
Izložba hrvatskog dizajna 19/20, online, HDD, Zagreb
2019 Bratoljub, Centar za kulturu Trešnjevka, Zagreb
2018 Izložba hrvatskog dizajna 17/18, MUO, Zagreb
36 Mountains, HDLU, Zagreb
Boranka u Botaničaru, Bar Botaničar, Zagreb
2017 Ilustracije pričaju, Oris, Zagreb
Unakrsno klikanje – Slavka Pavić i fotografi, Galerija Forum, Zagreb
Pričam ti priču – izbor iz suvremene hrvatske ilustracije, Galerija Krsto Hegedušić, Petrinja
The Other Side, putujuća izložba interaktivnih plakata, Švicarska (La Chaux-de-Fonds), Srbija
Galerija KM8, Beograd
Knjige za gledanje: knjige za čitanje, galerija Šira, Zagreb
2016 Petnaest, 15, FEKP, Živi Atelje DK, Zagreb
2015 Crtomat, festival ilustracije i stripa, Gradski muzej Virovitica, Virovitica
Internacionalni laserski samit jeftine grafike, Na rubu, Lauba, Zagreb
2020 Crtice, zbirka ilustriranih kratkih priča i pjesama, Petikat, Zagreb
Duh Bauhausa, strip-knjiga; priča i ilustracije, Muzej suvremene umjetnosti, Zagreb
2019 Lažna vječnost, kratke priče i pjesme, Književni časopis Tema, Meandar Media, Zagreb
2017 Unutarnji orkestar, kratke priče i pjesme, Književni časopis Quorum, Meandar Media, Zagreb
2008 Grafička mapa Lun, priča Crtež; ilustracije: Danijel Žeželj, priča: Klasja Habjan, umjetnička radionica Petikat, Zagreb
Klasja Habjan (Zagreb, 1993) is an illustrator, a graphic designer, and a writer. She graduated Magna Cum Laude at the School of Design in Zagreb where she majored in Visual Communications (2016). She received the School of Design’s Annual Award for her project Notepad ‘Unblock’: a notepad for drawing, writing and research (2013/2014). Klasja was selected as one of ten Croatian illustrators whose artwork was included in the catalogue Illustrators from Croatia/ Illustrateurs de Croatie (Mala Zvona, Zagreb, 2020) which was distributed during various international book fairs.
Her affinity for illustrating her stories (or, the other way around, for accompanying her graphic templates with writing) characterizes her solo exhibitions. Her exhibition Pieces at the Šira Gallery (Zagreb, 2019) combined both mediums; monotype graphics were displayed in pair with prose or poetry. A year later, she wrote a collection of short stories and poems under the same title Pieces, published by Petikat.
A story, told through seven collages, was exhibited in the Rigo Gallery (Novigrad, 2020) under the title Finally, somebody! The Spirit of the Bauhaus (MSU, Zagreb, 2020) is Klasja’s second book that also unifies illustration, writing, and design. In 2021, on the same topic, she illustrated a card deck called Bauhaus Around You (produced by Form Function Studio in partnership with Goethe-Institut Washington). Klasja also illustrated children’s picture book Piccola con Piccolo by Bruno Mezić (Mala Zvona, 2021).
Together with Zita Nakić, Klasja has a design studio klasja&zita through which she often engages in the field of culture and participates in various group exhibitions with publications, posters, and visual identities.