Croatia: Artists on the Move

Imago Mundi

Contemporary Artista from Croatia

Decreasing the size of the picture, to settle for the 10x12, it can mean reducing to the essentials. The skilled and authentic artist has the opportunity to express himself adequately even in very small surfaces, to be fulfilled through the strength of his genuine emblematic sign or thanks to the density and richness of his pictorial structure, and so to show his individuality in minimal space. The Imago Mundi project is based on the awareness that the small canvas offers a special challenge for the approach, demanding the strictest concentration, and that the distinctive features of individual artists as a whole give a dynamic total vision. When the grouped together works all come from the same country (or region or state) they are joined to each other, thus forming a collective image with some peculiarities related to the history, the sensitivity, the taste, the orientation and the tradition of the environment in which they were born.

SinišA Reberski - Transliteration (2013)


Croatia, one might say, has a particular vocation about, a particular reason to be invited to participate in such a project. As a nation which is geographically and demographically small, it already had to develop in advance a special relationship with the small size, in many ways. In fact, not surprisingly, Croatia is the homeland of the greatest master of the High Renaissance miniature, the famous Juraj Julije Klović (“Julio Clovio, de Croatia”, as it cites the inscription on his tomb in Rome), hailed as “Maximus in minimis”. By mentioning him, we can also add that this place gave birth also to many other painters and sculptors, who established themselves in Italian cities (or elsewhere) with the attribute of Schiavone.
This means that already by the 15th and 16th centuries our artists, taking advantage of belonging to the ecumenical Mediterranean world, participate in the trends of the most advanced culture of the West.

Alma Dujmovic - The World in Front-Back (2014)

Petar Đakulovic - Wise Guy (2014)

Viktor Daldon - Big (2013)


In modern times Croatian art certainly follows the creative and stylistic oscillations of painting and sculpture advanced trends. Often under the influence of the great centers of the world (Paris, New York), but particularly in a fruitful contact with the closest areas (from Venice to Vienna, Prague
to Munich), Croatian artists were able to assimilate and share almost all the morphological premises of current figurative language and specific in the different stages of history of art. After experiencing many avant-garde and then suffering from the consequences of the so-called return to order, Croatian contemporary art today is a specific part of the universal postmodern context, certainly eclectic and pluralistic, polymorphic and nomadic, as now every culture worldwide compulsory shows.

Marina Skocigoric - Don’t Mess With Orange (2014)

Judita Poljak - Untitled (2013)

Vlado Martek - Untitled (2013)

Right from the statements set out above we can deduce that the creative Croatian environment is not an isolated world and that does not aspire to a peculiar autonomy nor tends to a more and more relative independence. Of course, the options and very original solutions can be found in the work of important individual artists, while the same geographical location of our land — between the Mediterranean, Central Europe and the Balkan area — offered some temptation of folkloristic originality, which has proved not to be too successful. Even the strong historical disturbances have now changed the predominantly Eurocentric orientation of Croatian culture, and even the period of politically imposed
collectivism deviated the aesthetic research from the values obtained individually like the affirmation of personal freedom. For these (and other) reasons, art in Croatia has always played an important role in social life.

Gordan Bijelic - Paradise (2014)

Ida Blazicko - Memory Of Green (2013)

Ana Jures_Ko - A Cup Of Friendship (2013)


Moving away from the big themes and presumptuous words, let’s go back to the topic of the works in this collection. The works collected here do not aspire to be an anthology or a historical overview, nor they give an exhaustive idea of the presences in the field, but, in its small way, the exhibition is representative of the wide arc of expressive and vital choices. At the invitation to participate, many mature and known artists reacted with pleasure, but just as willingly joined young and curious authors, recognizing a stimulating opportunity for their own development and to get a certain uncommon resonance. According to personal concepts and educational inclinations, some have responded with mimetic, oneiric, humorous, realistic or surreal images; others have provided their materic, structural, informal accumulations, while yet others have given rudimentary traces, elementary symbols, conceptual actions, also minimalist actions (that were almost fitting to the need of the format and the technical prerequisites).

Pamela Ivankovic - From Grisignana With Love (2014)

Tanja PećAnic - Landscape (2013)

Ana Glaz_Ar - To The Moon (2014)

Besides the aesthetic and generational extension, we can also note some regional differentiation of the exhibited works, because the morphological choices sometimes depend even on the origin of the authors. Most part of the gathered objects comes from the Adriatic regions, the coasts, from Istria and, perhaps from the areas that are mostly open to the influences of the Mediterranean currents (also Clovius comes from Grižane, in the Kvarner hinterland). Thus the Croatian contribution is currently linked to the distant sources of universal culture, and organically testifies its belonging to European figurative koinè.

Miroslav PišOnic - Birthday (2013)

Fulvio JuričIc - Dialogues (2013)

Goran Grofelnik - The Cosmic Dog’s Breath (2013)


We conclude hoping that the collection will get a remarkable echo, and on the other hand, that will stimulate further efforts to create new works in a very small space, within narrow frames. I think that the painters who so far have not yet taken on works like that, will be increasingly tempted to try to do something similar, that is, create complete miniature paintings. In the end, I cannot help but mention the fact that Luko Paljetak, a Croatian poet-painter, has recently set up an exhibition entitled Images for Liliput, with a few hundred works from size 2.5 to 5 cm. Although it is rather exaggerated, this proposal is not therefore less symptomatic, especially since the outcome was visibly successful.


Tonko Maroević
Art Critic

Aleksandra-Ana Bukovic - :-) (2013)

Ana Guberina - Motion And Structure (2014)

Credits: Story

Project management
Mara Rondi

Organization
Valentina Granzotto

Editorial coordination
Enrico Bossan

Texts
Luciano Benetton
Mara Rondi
Tonko Maroević

Editing and translation
Petra Apa
Sandro Berra
Mia Jelinić
Ferena Lenzi

Art direction
Daniele Tonon

Photography
Marco Zanin

Production
Marco Pavan

Cover
Jagoda Buić

Special thanks
Sven Bichler

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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