Zlatan Vehabović
An Atlas of the Lesser World
due to the structural renovation of the Vranyczany Palace, the exhibition was shortened until 26th February !

Zlatan Vehabović (Banja Luka, 1982) graduated in painting from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 2006 from the class of Zlatko Keser. As one of the most notable painters of his generation, he has been awarded multiple times, and his paintings are included in museum and private collections in Croatia and abroad.
The cycle of paintings An Atlas of a Lesser World, which Vehabović executed during the Covid pandemic and planned for the exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Crafts, due to the damage museum has suffered during the earthquake, found its natural home at the National Museum of Modern Art. The cycle refers to the rich cultural and archival heritage, primarily that associated with the museums of fine arts, with a dedication to its participants, the greats of Croatian painting. The theme is solved in the medium of painting with a palimpsest of motifs that functions as a metaphor for the interaction of rich layers of heritage with today's creative mind. The compositions are conceived as a painted collage, so the introductory text by art historian Sandra Križić Roban ends with the words:

From postmodernism onwards, collage has posed a challenge to objectivity and singular reality. It has become an interpretative tool that replaces language in a certain way, and with its complex attitude towards art media, without having a preference for any of them, has allowed artists to contextualise multiple realities, but also to point out the processes of memorisation of visual data, thus achieving new, more layered nuances of its understanding. Viewed in this context, Zlatan Vehabović moves away from the mimesis and procedures used by other artists who referred to the recorded content. He introduces the meaning of all previous stages and materials into his artistic voice, opening the space for a deeper analysis of this above-all transcendent process.

Zlatan Vehabović lives and works in Zagreb

Images: From the exhibition set up at the Zlatan Vehabovic's exhibition at the National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb. Photo: Vedran Benović © Museum of Arts and Crafts, Zagreb


Mannerism in 20th and 21st century croatian art

The National Museum of Modern Art presents the exhibition Mannerism in 20th and 21st century croatian art. Art historian and critic Iva Körbler dedicated the exhibition to the late academician Tonko Maroević, with whom she shared the same infatuation with Mannerism. Having spent many years studying and researching the material, the author of the exhibition concept found enough elements to decipher, interpret and understand Mannerism and mannerist procedures in the works of Croatian 20th and 21st century artists from the NMMU Collection.

(...)The intention of this exhibition is to open and establish a dialogue regarding the fact that through the application / perspective of mannerist laws and phenomena we can give new or additional meanings to many artworks by Croatian artists, which should be an exciting prospect.
Of course, it would be good to review, through the new magnifying glass, in their entirety or in fragments, the oeuvres of Josip Seissel, Romolo Venucci, Bruno Mascarelli, Albert Kinert, Mirko Ostoja, Ljubomir Stahov, Mila Kumbatović, Mladen Galić, Ljerka Šibenik, Zvonimir Lončarić, Matko Mijić, Momčilo Golub, Marijan Birtić, Danko Friščić, Lovro Artuković, Sanja Sašo, Alem Korkut, Neven Bilić, Denis Krašković, Viktor Popović, Tanja Vujasinović, Zoran Šimunović, Kristijan Kožul, Pavle Pavlović, Sebastijan Dračić, Ivan Fijolić, Ivana Vulić, Marin Marinić, Alana Kajfež, Ivan Midžić, Izabela Hren, and even naïve-surrealists like Franjo Klopotan or the surrealist collages of Nada Vrkljan Križić. Let us not be fooled into thinking that Matko Vekić’s installation “Long Live the Dream of the Revolution – Made in China” does not contain a bloodthirsty mannerist gesture, just as the unstoppable swelling of structures in Siniša Majkus’ linearly thinned sculptures is a stylised denatured artificial nature of the highest order. The ranges of stylistic gesture of Mannerism are gigantic, full of extremes, but clearly decipherable. (...)
Iva Körbler, excerpt from text in exhibition catalogue

Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Image: From the exhibition set up / Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb

Željko Kipke
From Rhythm to The Exterminating Palace

From 8th December 2022 to 29 January 2023, the National Museum of Modern Art presents a retrospective exhibition of the visual artist, art critic and theorist Željko Kipke, titled From Rhythm to The Exterminating Palace. The exhibition concept, which is divided into seven segments and set-up in seven rooms on the first floor of the Vranyczany Palace, and combines film, ambient installations, paintings, photographs and prints, was devised by the artist himself, and it comprises his anthological works created in the period from 1977 to 2022. In addition to the works from the NMMU Collection, several other Croatian museum institutions and private collectors have loaned artworks for this occasion. The exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual catalogue in Croatian and English languages with a foreword by art historian and curator Vanja Babić. The catalogue is designed by Ana Zubić.
From 26 January to 15 February 2023, the Eight Room – showcasing the artist’s previously unseen lithographs from the late 1970s, will be presented at the MH Gallery, as an extension of his retrospective at the NMMU.

(…) This is an artist in whose oeuvre the chronological order in which individual works were made is not always of crucial importance; once his ideas are realised, they do not necessarily stay anchored in the spatial and temporal contexts they originated in, but will often carry within them the potential of temporal fluctuations of sorts, and thus also revitalisations of meanings. The progenitors of building one’s own integral oeuvres as continuously
permuting wholes are, of course, found in the period of great historical avant-gardes, and Kipke is certainly one of the most authentic contemporary successors of precisely such creative strategies. (…)
Vanja Babić, excerpt from the text in the exhibition catalogue

The exhibition in seven stages (SEVEN ROOMS) is conceived in a non-linear time frame between two films realised in 2022 and 2021. From the six-minute El Palacio Exterminador to the film Rhythm II, a recently edited permutation of four Super 8s shot in 1980, along the route between the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Street of the City of Vukovar (then the Proletarian Brigades Street). Two ambiences are incorporated into the non-linear time frame, one from 1998 (Marseille Number Chant, FOURTH ROOM / IV) and the other from 1993 (Prayer Machines Chamber, SIXTH ROOM / II). They have dual functions, on the one hand, the two rooms are intermezzos, and on the other, they are links between different media strategies. The Cabinet is a “bridge” between the paintings from the late 1980s (THIRD ROOM / V) and much later films (for example Orson’s Direction Sign from 2015, THIRD ROOM / V), while the Number Chant is a “bridge” between film permutations (Rhythm II, FIRST ROOM / A) and structurally conceived paintings and prints from the late 1970s (SECOND ROOM / O). (…)
Željko Kipke

Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Images from the exhibition set up / Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2022

Artists on Artists
A Visual Panopticon

Curator: Lada Bošnjak Velagić, NMMU senior curator

The exhibition Artists on Artists – A Visual Panopticon presents a hundred or so portraits in which our painters, sculptors, graphic artists and photographers portray their colleagues. Emphasising the complex relationship between the portrait painter and the sitter, but also other artists and the broader cultural and social environment – the exhibition set-up conceived and interpreted by Lada Bošnjak Velagić follows the development of Croatian artistic modernity from the late 19th century to the present day.

The exhibition of works from the Museum holdings and several loans from public and private collections in Zagreb, Petrinja, Karlovac and Varaždin, presents, within an intriguing self-reflexive theme, the encounters, collaboration, friendship and love that connected Croatian artists, such as Vlaho Bukovac and his students Bela Čikoš and Franjo Rački, close friends like Milivoj Uzelac and Vilko Gecan, or in turn, artist couples such as Ruža and Ivan Meštrović, Nasta Rojc and Branko Šenoa, Ksenija Kantoci and Frano Šimunović….

Connecting the exhibited portraits and their authors with concrete historical circumstances, the exhibition presents lesser-known contexts of the familiar works of art and artists. Portraits of the artists vividly bespeak an entire concatenation of interrelationships and situations, for example, the support provided to the artists by institutions and individuals related to the provision of better working conditions, studios, scholarships, foreign study trips, artistic commissions and other forms of patronage.

Following, for example, the fate of Zlatko Šulentić’s painting A Man with a Red Beard, which was found in Geneva only after the artist’s death, after being lost for more than half a century, we are ‘introduced’ to the recruit whom Šulentić painted in the Karlovac barracks in 1916. Šulentić’s friend from Petrinja, Stanoje Jovanović obtained a painting degree after the war and was a familiar presence on the Croatian visual arts scene during the 1930s. Jovanović’s figure from Šulentić’s portrait can also be recognised in his hitherto little-known and not exhibited work First Exhibition of the Zagreb Artists 1934, on loan from Boris Vrga’s collection in Petrinja. In a witty review of the revue exhibition in which the artist himself participated in 1934 – Jovanović shows many co-exhibitors, their gestures and exhibited works, thus actually ‘portraying’ the Croatian visual arts scene between the two wars.

Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Images: Zlatko Šulentić, Man With Red Beard, 1916 (detail) / oil on canvas 100,5 x 70 cm / MG-3874. Images from the exhibition set-up. Photo: Goran Vranić and National Museum of Moder Art's archives © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2022

Ivo Friščić
 Through the Eyes of a Chameleon

Ivo Friščić,  Through the Eyes of a Chameleon
Curated by Branko Franceschi & Željko Marciuš
September, 6 – October, 30, 2022.

A retrospective overview of the oeuvre of the academic painter Ivo Friščić at the National Museum of Modern Art together with a selection of works created at the turn of the fifties and sixties, and the eighties and nineties of the 20th century, presents paintings from his iconic cycles that cover a wide range of topics from urban figurative compositions and abstractions to ecological themes sublimated into symbolic compositions and hyper-realistic images of flowers. Friščić is known as one of the most outstanding painters of his generation, with an oeuvre characterized by an uncommon thematic, stylistic and performance range.

Ivo Friščić was born in Veliko Korenovo near Bjelovar on December 8, 1937. He finished elementary school in Bjelovar in 1951, and entered the Shipbuilding School in Rijeka, which he soon left. He continued his education in 1952 at the Teacher's School in Križevci. He started painting with oil paints, collaborates in the magazine Polet, published in Zagreb. His first solo exhibition was in 1954 at the House of the Yugoslav People’s Army in Bjelovar. He entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1957, but due to financial reasons he left his studies and got a job as a drawing teacher in Križevci. In 1961, he continued his painting studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, where he graduated in 1965 at the painting department in the class of prof. Vjekoslav Parač, and enrolled in a special study of graphics with Marijan Detoni and Albert Kinert. In 1968, he was employed as a technical editor at the publishing company Naprijed in Zagreb. He was acting editor for graphic design for books. From 1968 to 1972, he was an associate of the Master Workshop of painter prof. Krsto Hegedusić. He was employed as an assistant at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1973, and in 1978 he became an assistant professor. In the same year, he received the Award for graphics at the 10th Zagreb exhibition of Yugoslav graphics, and participated in the 39th Biennale in Venice. For his painting and prints he received numerous domestic and international rewards and recognition awards.
Ivo Friščić died on December 11, 1993 in Zagreb.

Ivo Friščić: Encounter, (Guys from Zapruđe), 1973 (Collection of the Museum of the City of Križevci)
Vision, 1957 (Collection of the Museum of the City of Križevci)
Eco, 1975 (National Museum of Modern Art's Collection)
Petrifikat IV, 1977 (National Museum of Modern Art's Collection)
Foto: From the National of Modern Art's Archive and archives of the Museum of the City of Križevci

Ivica Malčić : Zoran Pavelić
Concept of Image : Image of concept

Curated by Željko Marciuš and Branko Franceschi

Starting from the conceptually opposite initial positions – Ivica Malčić from the position of traditional visual art and Zoran Pavelić from post-conceptual art – they meet in the middle with their unorthodox approach to the painting discipline. They both use text and references to key cultural figures and phenomena, thus sublimating the most important dilemmas, issues and ideas that have determined the construct of visual culture at the turn of the millennium, with an emphasis on local themes and contents. Therefore, their parallel presentation at the NMMA provides the audience with a view of fundamental cultural issues: what is art, especially painting, and what should it be today, what is the artist’s position and what is their view of the curator-institution-audience construct that they depend on.

Ivica Malčić was born in 1964 in Zagreb where he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in the class of Prof. Miroslav Šutej.
Zoran Pavelić was born in 1961 in Osijek. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in the class of Prof. Đuro Seder.
Ivica Malčić and Zoran Pavelić live and work in Zagreb.

Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2022

Fedor Džamonja

The opening of Fedor Džamonja’s exhibition was held at the National Museum of Modern Art on 27 April. At the exhibition conceived by art historian and NMMA director Branko Franceschi, the son of Dušan Džamonja, one of the most prominent Croatian sculptors in the second half of the 20th century, presents selected works from his photographic oeuvre. In terms of subject-matter, since the 1970s Fedor Džamonja is essentially preoccupied with the eternal theme of nature, presented on this occasion through the series: Lotus Fields, A Moment in the Life of Trees, Reflections (On the Lake), Storms over Valkanela, Nature, Come to Me. In the exhibition catalogue Branko Franceschi writes: Certain atypical features of Fedor Džamonja’s photographic oeuvre are crucial for its presentation at the National Museum of Modern Art. They are a constant in his relationship to the medium itself, thus making it a specific phenomenon within the prevalent photographic discourse today.
The exhibition will be on view until 26 June, and it is accompanied by a bilingual catalogue in Croatian and English with a text written by art historian Branko Franceschi. The catalogue is designed by Fedor Džamonja.

Images: Fedor Džamonja; Lotos Field #2 (1995.) 2012.; On the Lake #33, Tervuren Park, Brussels (2005.) 2006., The Storm #12, Valcanella, Vrsar (2012.) 2012. © Fedor Džamonja

Katarina Alamat Kusijanović

The exhibition of contemporary Dubrovnik artist Katarina Alamat Kusijanović, titled “Measure” was opened on 7 April in the NMMA’s Josip Račić Gallery. The exhibition, conceived by art historian and critic Vanja Babić showcases 96 small-format works, 48 of which form twin compositions and 5 are large-format reliefs, created during the Covid pandemic and in which Katarina Alamat Kusijanović examines her own relationship with the world and society. In addition to the monumental reliefs in white chalk, in the Josip Račić Gallery the audience have the opportunity to see the gilded reliefs on wood and acrylics on plexiglass, accompanied by the sounds of swifts, rain and wind… The aforementioned works repeat, to a greater or lesser extent, the Latin elegiac couplet from the arch of the Gothic-Renaissance Sponza Palace in Dubrovnik

FALLERE NOSTRA VETANT ET FALLI PONDERA MEQVE PONDERO CVM MERCES, PONDERAT IPSE DEVS  (Our weights will not permit us to deceive or be deceived. While I weigh the goods, God himself is weighing me.), which the artist perceives as a kind of principle we should all live by. Measures and measurement for Katarina Alamat Kusijanović represent the foundation of civilization and are the primary tool of our knowledge and understanding of the world at all levels. Katarina Alamat Kusijanović presents to the audience in Zagreb works that have largely been shown at the exhibition Mensura in the Museum of Modern Art in Dubrovnik in 2020. The exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual catalogue in Croatian and English, with a foreword by Vanja Babić and designed by Ana Zubić.


Katarina Alamat Kusijanović was born in Dubrovnik in 1965. She obtained a degree from the Education College in Belgrade, 1989, majoring in easel painting restoration and conservation, and then in 2004 she graduated from the Arts Academy in Split. Since 1992, she has been a member of the Croatian Association of Visual Artists. From 1993 to 2019 she was employed as a conservation-restoration consultant in the Croatian Conservation Institute and from 2008 to 2013 she worked as the head of the Dubrovnik Restoration Department. As staff member of the Croatian Conservation Institute, she gave a series of lectures in professional and scientific conferences at home and abroad. She has published two scientific and a number of specialised works. She is the author of the exhibition installation Hidden Trecento (in front of the Rector’s Palace in Dubrovnik, 2018) and of the exhibition The Altar Painting of Jacopo Tintoretto from the Cathedral in Korčula (Rector’s Palace, Dubrovnik, 2008). Since 2008 she has been working as a designer for Adriatic Luxury Hotels, and since 2019 she is the head of their interior design department. The exhibition MENSURA / MEASURE 2020, at the Museum of Modern Art in Dubrovnik, interprets the past, present and future of the City through the idea of measure as the antithesis of chaos, proverbially carved into the stone of Dubrovnik for centuries. She has held and participated in many solo and group exhibitions. Katarina Alamat Kusijanović lives and works in Dubrovnik.

Image:  From the Katarina Alamat Kusijanović exhibition set up at the Josip Račić Gallery. Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2022


The exhibition Golgotha opens at the National Museum of Modern Art on 19 April at 7 pm. This case study exhibition, conceived by art historian Zvonko Maković, PhD and organized by the NMMA’s senior curator Lada Bošnjak Velagić, presents different contemporary receptions of Kraljević’s Golgotha from 1912, in the works of the new art generation of artists who defined our visual arts scene during and immediately after World War I (Ljubo Babić, Marijan Trepše, Sava Šumanović).

The exhibition will present the paintings of Golgotha by Miroslav Kraljević, Ljubo Babić and Marijan Trepše from the collection of the National Museum of Modern Art in Zagreb, and the interpretation of the same theme by Sava Šimanović, which has been loaned for this very occasion by the National Museum in Smederevska Palanka, Serbia. Bilingual exhibition catalogue with a text by art historian Zvonko Maković, PhD is edited by Lada Bošnjak Velagić, NMMA’s senior curator. The catalogue is designed by Ana Zubić. The exhibition will remain open until 29 May 2022.

Photo: Miroslav Kraljević, Golgotha (detail) , 1912. oil on canvas. 72,1 x 115,3 cm. MG-7084. Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Robertina Tomić

Transformation of Wood

The National Museum of Modern Art presents the exhibition Transformation of Wood, highlighting the importance of trees and forests for man’s survival as well as his relationship towards nature. The author of the exhibition, Tatijana Gareljić, NMMU museum consultant, has selected about 60 works by Croatian artists from the NMMU collection that reveal astonishing forms of wood as a primordial natural material in myriad of its transformations shaped over the past hundred years.

The interaction between man and trees is conditioned by man’s desire to preserve his own existence, and the history of civilization is also the history of transformation of wooden forms. When men’s need for creation and shaping surpasses utility it transcends into art. With inventive concepts and skills, the immanent properties of wood become artifacts. … (Tatijana Gareljić)

Artists:  Grga Antunac, Petar Barišić, František Bilek, Peruško Bogdanić, Iris Bondora Dvornik, Vojta Braniš, Boris Brzić, Ferdo Ćus, Ljubo de Karina, Josip Diminić, Juraj Dobrović, Dušan Džamonja, Joško Eterović, Vinko Fišter, Kažimir Hraste, Ante Jakić, Ksenija Kantoci, Dora Kovačević, Kuzma Kovačić, Ivan Kožarić, Vasko Lipovac, Dubravka Lošić, Ivan Lovrenčić, Ivan Meštrović, Matko Mijić, Sofija Naletilić Penavuša, Izvor Oreb, Šime Perić, Ivan Picelj, Branko Ružić, Petar Smajić, Damir Sokić, Aleksandar Srnec, Ante Starčević, Dalibor Stošić, Marin Studin, Juraj Škarpa, Miroslav Šutej, Goran Štimac, Šime Vulas, Josip Zeman, Zlatko Zlatić, Mirko Zrinšćak

Image: From the Transformation of Wood exhibition
Photo: Goran Vranić ©National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb

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