Dalibor Jelavić
A Studio, 1995
oil and encaustic on canvas
198×164.5 cm

Dalibor Jelavić (1949-2019) was a modernist and postmodernist painter and graphic artist of a distinct charge and expression. Given that his borderline abstract painting almost never lost touch with the poetics of Figurative Art, he was a postmodernist in the age of Modernism and a modernist in the age of Postmodernism. The principle of Postmodernism is also reflected in Jelavić’s familiarity with kindred painters through the influences and quotations that he incorporated into his own expression (Edo Murtić, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Antonio Saura, Antoni Tàpies, Pierre Alechinsky). Initially, he created monochrome paintings and assemblages akin to Minimalism and material painting. He then created expressive figuration with abstract fragments of aggressive colours and style. He ultimately moved on to creating striking series of paintings in oil and encaustic presenting expressive abstraction of figurative motifs in lush colours, and featuring imaginative signs and colouristic compositions, such as his Cosmic Theatre (1996-2012), Big Bang (2001-2006) and Horn of Plenty (2014-2016) series. Painted using thick layers of beeswax, Dalibor Jelavić’s A Studio painting from 1995 is an example of a painting of his at the crossroads of abstract and figurative expression.
He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1977 under Prof. Nikola Reiser, and was the academy’s dean between 2010 and 2012. He worked as an associate at painters Ljubo Ivančić and Nikola Reiser’s master workshop (1977-1979). He not only used a wide array of techniques (drawing, graphic art, digital graphics, oil, tapestry, enamel, ceramics, poster), but also produced videos (documentaries, TV advertisements, 3D animation). He exhibited at many exhibitions both in Croatia and abroad, with his works found in many museums and collections. He is the winner of the 2015 Croatian Association of Artists’ Lifetime Achievement Award.

Text: Željko Marciuš, museum consultant National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Ana Janković
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb

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