Željko Kipke
Unus mundus II, 1985
oil on canvas
207 x 239 cm

Željko Kipke (1953) is one of the most intriguing Croatian postmodern artists. He is a painter, filmmaker, theorist, and writer, and in these fields, he has created enigmatic, meaningful, and provocative works. He calls himself a painter of the New Aeon, claiming to be both a decorator and a wordplay artist, an architect and an anti-architect. Kipke’s painting does not stem from pure visual impulses. It is a painting of symbolic meanings beyond representation (J. Denegri). He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1976 (Lj. Ivančić). He worked as an associate in the Master Workshop led by Lj. Ivančić and N. Reiser (1976-1981). His painterly oeuvre ranges from primary and analytic painting to expressive imagery and postmodern surrealism with references to film, avant-garde, hermetic symbols, signs, rebuses, and the works of other artists. He publishes theoretical texts and critiques on visual arts and film, as well as on his own work (Guide through Subterraneus, 1992). He also writes prose (Beware of Imitations, 1993). He creates experimental films (Invisible Galleries, 2009; Nine Lives Boulevard, 2012). The painting Unus mundus II (1985), “our world - cosmos,” belongs to the integral painting of the New Aeon that the artist has been practicing since the mid-1980s (Theatrum mundi, 1986) until the end of the 1990s. It is a paraphrase of Malevich’s Cross (1915) and embodies an enigmatic, hermetic, possibly esoteric symbolism that, with the power of the image, seems to invoke a mystical renewal of the cosmos derived from references to C.G. Jung’s Psychology and Alchemy, as well as his thesis on synchronicity. He participated at the Artist is Space exhibition in New York in 1989 and in H. Szeemann’s exhibition Blood & Honey/Future’s in the Balkans in Klosterneuburg, Vienna, in 2003. His works can be found in many collections (MUMOK, Vienna; FRAC Collection, Toulouse; Peter Stuyvesant Collection, Amsterdam). He represented Croatia at the Cairo Biennale in 1995 and the Venice Biennale in 1993, where he was also the curator of the Croatian Pavilion in 2007.

Text: Željko Marciuš, 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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