Concept: Branko Franceschi
Curators: Tatijana Gareljić, Željko Marciuš

The aim of the exhibition titled Sea Breeze, featuring a selection of nudes from the collection of the National Museum of Modern Art (NMMA), is to evoke the freshness of the seaside in the sweltering urban environment of the continent. Beaches provide a setting where we experience liberation from the constraints of clothing, and the body becomes exposed to everyone’s gaze. Such corporeality, once proscribed by traditional moral canons, is now widely embraced in the modern era. Prior to this, in Western civilisation after Antiquity, the culture of the body was tolerated and practiced only in art studios for the purposes of practice or the creation of artworks intended for the intimate atmosphere of bedchambers or heroic historical compositions.
The exhibition encompasses works created from 1907 to the present, executed in the mediums of oil on canvas, bronze and marble, and black-and-white photography. With two exceptions, the exhibition is arranged chronologically, and like the two previous exhibitions of artworks from the NMMA collection at the Artmark Gallery, it is designed to showcase the richness and diversity of national artistic production and the museum’s collection. The first chronological deviation is the placement of the painting The Time (is Now) by Robert Auer from 1925 among artworks executed in the previous decade, due to the combination of anachronistic visuality and the stylisation of the model in accordance with the fashion and decadent sensuality of times of its execution. The second deviation is the placement of the photograph Emil and Eva by Sandra Vitaljić from 1999 in the Gallery corridor, which contextualises the exhibition theme within the visual discourse close to contemporary everyday mass media communication.
The selection of artworks represents the rapid evolution of interpreting the motif of the human body during the twentieth century. It begins with academic studies of the nude, predominantly female, imbued with varying degrees of sensuality, leaning towards verism in the early 20th century. Progressing through liberated forms inspired by Cubist and Expressionist explorations in the interwar years, it evolves into portrayals of existential angst and neoclassical tendencies in the post-World War II period. Besides reinterpreting the motif of Adam and Eve as the only permissible nude in the Middle Ages, the aforementioned photograph by Sandra Vitaljić represents an affirmation of the female gaze in contrast to the entire history dominated by the male gaze, particularly concerning the theme of the nude, as a pivotal change in the visual culture of the twentieth century.

Artists: Bela Čikoš Sesija, Ivan Meštrović, Ivan Tišov, Juraj Škarpa, Miroslav Kraljević, Petar Dobrović, Robert Auer, Robert Frangeš Mihanović, Vladimir Becić, Vlaho Bukovac, Frane Cota, Ivo Kerdić, Ivo Režek, Jozo Turkalj, Marijan Trepše, Marino Tartaglia, Mila Wod, Milivoj Uzelac, Omer Mujadžić, Sava Šumanović, Frano Kršinić, Kosta Angeli Radovani, Ljubo Ivančić, Raul Goldoni, Slavko Kopač, Slavko Šohaj, Vjekoslav Rukljač, Željko Hegedušić, Ivan Sabolić, Josip Klarica, Sandra Vitaljić

Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb

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