Metro – I am the master of the forties, but the eighties are mine, 1986
oil on canvas, 258 x 236 cm
Željko Kipke (1953) is one of the most intriguing postmodern artists in Croatia. He is a painter, filmmaker, theoretician and writer. He has produced enigmatic, significant and provocative works in these fields. He calls himself a painter of the new eon, claiming to be both a decorator and a typesetter, an architect and an anti-architect. Kipke’s painting does not spring from pure artistic motives. It is a painting with symbolic meaning beyond the presented (J. Denegri). He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1976 (Lj. Ivančić). He worked as an associate in LJ. Ivančić’s and N. Reiser’s Master’s Workshop (1976 – 1981). His painting oeuvre ranges from primary and analytical painting to expressive image and postmodern surrealism with references to film, avant-garde, hermetic symbols, signs, rebuses and works by other artists. He publishes theoretical texts and critiques on visual arts and film, as well as on his own work (A Guide through the Subterraneous, 1992). He also writes prose (Beware of Imitations, 1993). He makes experimental films (Invisible Galleries, 2009; Boulevard 9 Lives, 2012). The painting Metro – I am the master of the forties, but the eighties are mine, 1986, belongs to the integral painting of the new eon that the artist created from the mid-1980s (Theatrum mundi, 1986) to the late 1990s. This entails an enigmatic, hermetic, possibly esoteric symbolism which, by paraphrasing M. Duchamp and K. Malevich, also evokes a parallel with the mysticism of A. Crowley anchored in the title of the work. The magic and power of the image evoke a kind of mysterious reference. He participated in the Artists’ Space exhibition in New York in 1989, and H. Szeemann’s exhibition Blood & Honey / Future’s in the Balkans in Klosterneuburg (Vienna) in 2003. His works are kept in numerous collections (MUMOK, Vienna; FRACK Collection, Toulouse; P. Stuyvesant Collection, Amsterdam). He represented Croatia at the Cairo Biennial in 1995 and the Venice Biennale in 1993, where he was also was the selector of the Croatian pavilion in 2007.
Text: Željko Marciuš, museum consultant of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo: From the photo-archive of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb