Belizar Bahorić studied sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in the period between 1940 and 1950 (sculptors Antun Augustinčić and Frano Kršinić’s master classes). In 1950 he started teaching art, and in the period between 1962 and 1976 he was the principal of the School of Applied Arts and Design in Zagreb.
Several stages of development are evident in Bahorić’s sculptural oeuvre. He interpreted his own fate, prisons, camps and World War II as a challenge to human strength and trauma both through the mediums of painting and sculpture, the end result of which are realistic reliefs and sculptures featuring themes of war, suffering and resistance. He gradually abandoned the tradition of Figurative Art and in the 1960s started focusing on the expressiveness of materials in symbolic forms bearing the features of abstraction. In the 1970s, he was preoccupied with symbolic and metaphorical associations, which he modelled in extremely rounded and simple sign-like forms in different metals and in small formats. In his small-size sculptures, he aimed to enrich their materials by using different methods of treatment and to discover the materials’ distinct expressive value. He sculpted a number of public monuments and drawings whose theme is war and suffering.
Belizar Bahorić’s abstract Opposites sculpture from 1965 is dominated by a rectangular construction and a rhythm of mass, which are accentuated by a view of the sculpture’s interior space which is cut wide open.
Text: Tatijana Gareljić, 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