Mladen Galić (1934)
Spatial Fact XX, 1979
oil on canvas
Mladen Galić (1934) is a classic and one of the first representatives of Minimalism and Installation Art in Croatia. He has been creating his own variants of Reductive and Geometric Abstraction. He has also been creating objects, collages, softer Abstraction organic forms, sculpture and graphic art – that is, all aspects of graphic design – which influenced the Zagreb School of Graphic Arts. Although the mediums he has used since the Post-Art-Informel period are diverse and heterogeneous, Galić’s oeuvre as a whole has not been visually dispersed. On the contrary, his oeuvre is coherent and features an elegant harmony of forms and structures imbued with his highly form-specific expression which he has been developing continuously since the High Modernism of the 1960s. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb between 1956 and 1959, and then moved to Paris in the late 1960s. In 1965 he started reducing painterly gestures to plastic facts. The fiercely criticised Hit Parade exhibition (Student Centre Gallery, 1967), where Galić exhibited together with Miroslav Šutej, Ante Kuduz and Ljerka Šibenik, marked the transition from paintings-objects to Installation Art, and heralded symbolically the subsequent urban ambience action and exhibition called Possibilities for 1971. After the objects he modelled in wood and plastic, since the 1970s he has been working on neon light ambiences. In the late 1970s he returned with his Spatial Facts series to the geometric dual principle of achromatic black on achromatic white. Featuring nothing but a polygonal black ‘geometric circle’ on a white background, Galić’s Spatial Fact XX painting from 1979 is from this optical-visual series of paintings.
Mladen Galić has been exhibiting since 1961 at both solo and group exhibitions both in Croatia and abroad. He has been awarded many times for his work and in 2018 the National Museum of Modern Art set up a retrospective exhibition of his work curated by art historian and critic Ješa Denegri.
Text: Željko Marciuš, museum consultant of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Ana Janković
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb