Matko Trebotić (1931)
Record, 1982
photograph, ink, watercolour, stamp on paper
340 x 200 mm

Matko Trebotić (1935) is a prominent Croatian painter of cultural and natural memory and a contemporary of that memory who finds the local in the general and the universal spirit in the regional, native motif. His entire picto-drawing oeuvre is based on the creative dialectic of reduction of the world to a sign and the extension of that sign to the world. It is a reduction of narration. His motifs are medieval Croatian churches, skulls, crosses, cypresses – identification signs of Trebotićesque iconography (I. Slade). He graduated from the Faculty of Architecture in Belgrade in 1961. He had his first unofficial exhibition in Bochum in 1968, which has been highlighted in the exhibition Fifty Years of Solitude… organized in Split in 2018. In the early 1970s he attended the well-known Folkwangschule with prof. Hermann Schardt in Essen, as a Meisterschüler, where he also studied graphic art disciplines. In 1971 he moved to Düsseldorf, where he became friends with the famous J. Beuys. The collaged photo-picto-drawing Record (1982) is a rarity because the collaborative work of M. Trebotić and J. Beuys is certified with the artists’ signatures and Beuys’ seals. These seals gave Matko’s island memorabilia a strong conceptual impetus. Beuys (…) also expressed his typical division between a kind of paramilitary organization (…) and a lyrical, enigmatic and biophilic (lower) stamp, which, quite naturally, is situated on paper whiteness between Trebotić’s signs: cypress (left) and leaf (above). The first – “formidable”! – stamp was affixed by Beuys underneath Matko’s corpse drawn in the stone or brick burial site – as if we are looking at an archaeological find. (quote, I. Zidić). Trebotić’s works are kept in relevant Croatian and international collections and museums. He painted ceremonial curtains titled the Adriatic Polyptych for the leading Croatian Mediterranean theatres. In 2009, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the City of Split.

Text: Željko Marciuš, museum consultant of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb

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