Antun Motika
(1902 – 1992)
Medal Set / The Female Cyclist , 1984
d=72.8 mm

Antun Motika studied sculpture at the Royal Academy of Arts and Crafts (R. Valdec), but later switched to study painting (M. Vanka, V. Becić, Lj. Babić) and graduated in 1926. He attended two post-graduate semesters in the class of Lj. Babić (1926 – 1927). From 1929 – 1931, he drew caricatures for the Zagreb satirical magazine Koprive. From 1929 – 1940, he lived and worked in Mostar as a professor of drawing. In 1930 and 1935, he received scholarships to study in Paris. He staged his first solo exhibitions in Zagreb in 1933 and 1935. In 1940, he was transferred to Zagreb, where he worked at the School of Applied Arts until his retirement in 1961.

His exhibition Archaic Surrealism (1952) was of particular cultural significance, having provoked tumultuous reactions among Croatian critics, and is generally considered as the boldest rejection of the dogmatic frameworks of Socialist Realism. Motika expressed an autonomous artistic practice by creating the preconditions for a new formal syntax, which is going to come to the fore in his drawings, projects and experiments, collages, paintings and sculptures.

He transferred motifs from numerous studies and drawings to bronze medals. A series of 25 medal works that is kept in the National Museum of Modern Art, confirms the uniqueness of this self-effacing, versatile and exclusive Croatian artist whose dream visions were transformed into a fantastical world of associative figuration. On the medal The Female Cyclist, he builds a dynamic scene in a deformed perspective using intersecting surfaces and visual fragments of a woman with recognisable attributes and two wheels.

Text Tatijana Gareljić, museum consultant of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb

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