Željko Lapuh
Keepers of Silence, 1990
oil on canvas
74 cm x 100 cm

Željko Lapuh is a postmodern painter who merges traditional figurative painting with elements of metaphysics in his own stylistic symbiosis. His painting Keepers of Silence from 1990, depicts a solitary, sculpturally defined group devoid of individuality, with faces resembling masks, almost lacking human characteristics. The gaze ushers the observer into a mystical world of existence imbued with profound silence. The protagonists of Lapuh’s compositions dominate in an indefinite, minimally defined plastic background of an imaginary space in which they are placed. In this painting, the metaphysical atmosphere is accentuated precisely by the neutral background and the light-dark colour palette that create a habitat for the “mythological creatures” from Lapuh’s bestiary. Monolithic geometric shapes, constructed beyond mathematical or natural laws, form the scenic backdrop of the presented world. The only hint of character, or rather identity of the represented protagonist, arises from the title of the painting, Keepers of Silence. Lapuh employs a symbolic language in his painting, introducing the observer to a world beyond reality, inspired by the Italian art movement Pittura Metafisica and its founder Giorgio de Chirico.
Željko Lapuh (1951) was born in Split. He completed primary and secondary school in Zagreb. He obtained a degree in painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1976 in the class of prof. Šime Perić. He was an associate in prof. Ljubo Ivančić’s and prof. Nikola Reiser’s Master Workshop. He received critical and broader public acclaim for his two cycles; Metamorphoses, 1989–92 and The Secret of Change, 1990–96 which have intrigued the art scene. He has staged solo exhibitions in Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Milan, New York and throughout his career has organised more than thirty solo and 150 group exhibitions.

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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