A Composition, 1962
Milena Lah graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1949 and worked as an associate at sculptor Vanja Radauš’s master workshop until 1950. Between 1951 and 1955 she specialised in sculpture during her stays in Rome, Florence, Milan and Paris. She participated in many prestigious international sculpture symposia as an established artist.
Lah’s early works are realist sculptures, after which she aspired to synthesise form and the symbolic expressiveness of material. Inspired by Croatian art and literature, in her oeuvre she looked to combine traditional forms with contemporary sculptural ideas. She paid special attention to female and children’s figures. In her later series, centring mostly on mythological themes, she combined geometric and figural elements. Her sculptures installed in public space are a “titanic segment of her oeuvre”, particularly the many sculptures executed in heavy stone blocks in which she modelled intangible universal states and phenomena with ease and extraordinary power. Having used almost all sculpture techniques and materials, she created a huge oeuvre which is – thanks to the purity of elementary forms, metaphors, associations and interactivity – rightly considered to be one of the most genuine oeuvres in the history of Croatian sculpture.
Milena Lah’s A Composition sculpture from 1962 is an associative female torso reduced to a refined archetypal monolithic form. Within its polished stone surface, it features an accentuated opening and circular incisions representing breasts as basic female attributes.
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