Ana Opalić
Vesna & Marin, 1995
black and white photography
39 x 39 cm

Presenting women, men, children and animals in everyday life situations, Ana Opalić started taking series of portrait photographs of family members and close friends in 1997. Some pose in the interiors of their homes or workplaces, some in the exteriors where, we assume, their daily lives unfold – on their way to work and back, while going shopping or taking a walk in their spare time and the like. Most have serious faces, their posture is always upright and slightly tense, and their hands – if not occupied by something – either in unnatural positions or hidden in pockets. Aware that they are posing for portrait photographs – this is what their intimate relationship with the photographer allows us to conclude – it seems as if they took the shooting very seriously. In other words, their striking a pose is pronounced, which is why these portraits are reminiscent of painterly portraits. What characterises painterly portraits are, amongst other things, long-term stillness of the body – which is why bodies often seem stiff, which is particularly evident in pre-modern painting – and a careful arrangement of the relationship between bodies and objects in space. Many of these qualities feature in Ana Opalić’s photographs, such as the Vesna & Marin photograph we are presenting.

Ana Opalić was born in 1972 in Dubrovnik. She graduated in cinematography from the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Zagreb in 1997. She has been exhibiting since 1991; she has had a number of solo exhibitions and participated in numerous group exhibitions in both Croatia and abroad. She represented Croatia at the Venice Biennale (together with Boris Cvjetanović) in 2003. She set up, a website for Contemporary Croatian Photography, and directs and shoots documentaries.

Text: Klaudio Štefančić, senior curator of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Ana Janković
Photographic copy: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb

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