Seven Hundred Thousand m2 of the Sea, 1991
oil on canvas
200 x 300 cm
Vatroslav Kuliš (1951) is the most expressive postmodern Croatian colourist who continues the legacy of Action Painting and Abstract Expressionism. Initially inclined to figurative art, from the 1980s on, he abstracts the image with saturated colours and pictorial gesture that become his distinguishing mark. Kuliš’s painting was originally an emotional abstraction that springs from Action Painting and controlled automatic Surrealism. The composition is dominated by colourful bursts, unrestrained painting procedure and dynamic saturation of the canvas. The painting Seven Hundred Thousand m2 of the Sea is a massive painting monument that is so absorbing with its sumptuous colour.
He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1976, in the class of Š. Perić. He worked as an art editor at the Miroslav Krleža Lexicographic Institute (1978 – 2002). His oeuvre is marked by the following cycles: Early Works (1978 – 1991), Waves (1990 – 1993), Painting-Collages / Objects Collages (1991 – 1994), Kornati (1996 – 2001), Voodoo Gutenberg (1996 –2001), Kuti (1996 – 1998), Metamorphosis of the Sea (1999 – 2002), Series (2000 – 2001), Riffs (2002 –2006), Herbarium pictorium (2006 – 2007), etc.
In addition to abstract works, he paints portraits and religious compositions, and he also worked as a graphic artist, set designer and mosaic maker. He staged more than 170 solo exhibitions and participated in over 140 group exhibitions in Croatia and abroad. His works are kept in numerous museum and private collections. Kuliš’s monograph, written by I. Zidić was published in 2010, and his retrospective exhibition was staged at the Modern Gallery (today, the NMMU), set-up by M. Bešlić. He has received multiple awards for his work.
Text: Željko Marciuš, museum consultant of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2023
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2023