Mladen Galić, Object 92-13-B, 1970

Mladen Galić
Object 92-13-B, 1970
plastic and oil on wood
63 x 87 cm

Mladen Galić (1934) is a classic and one of the first representatives of Minimalism and Environmental Art in Croatia. He has been creating his own variants of Reductive and Geometric Abstraction. He has also been creating objects, collages, less abstract organic forms, sculptures and prints – that is, all aspects of graphic design – which influenced the Zagreb School of Graphic Arts. Although the mediums he has used since the Post-Art-Informel period are diverse and heterogeneous, Galić’s oeuvre as a whole has not been visually dispersed. On the contrary, his oeuvre is coherent and features an elegant harmony of forms and structures imbued with his highly form-specific expression which he has been developing continuously since the High Modernism of the 1960s. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb between 1956 and 1959, and then moved to Paris in the late 1960s. In 1965 he started reducing painterly gestures to plastic facts. The fiercely criticised “Hit Parade” exhibition (Student Centre Gallery, 1967), where Galić exhibited together with M. Šutej, A. Kuduz and Lj. Šibenik, marked the transition from paintings-objects to Environmental Art, and symbolically anticipated the subsequent urban ambience action and exhibition called Possibilities for 1971. After the objects he modelled in wood and plastic, in the 1970s he started creating neon light installations. Object 92-13-B from 1970 is one such polychrome object made of wood and plastic. It is both a painting and an object that grows into a real three-dimensional space with geometric fractal forces of bent geometry. The dual tactile pattern (white, blue) curves out into the spatial perspective. Parts of the object are counterpointed with the three-partite coloured surface (red, 2 X white, blue) and create, on the psychological-optical axis, an extremely dynamic, almost mobile plastic-visual assembly. In the late 1970s, with his Spatial Facts series, he went back to the geometric dual principle of achromatic black on achromatic white, like in his Spatial Fact XX painting from 1979. Mladen Galić has been exhibiting since 1961 at both solo and group exhibitions in Croatia and abroad. He received numerous awards for his work and in 2018, the National Museum of Modern Art staged a retrospective exhibition of his work (J. Denegri).

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

Milena Lah, Moon, Moonlight, Seagulls I. – IV., 1970.

Milena Lah
Moon, Moonlight, Seagulls I. - IV., 1970.
tempera, paper
65 x 52 cm
MG-8520, MG-8521, MG-8522, MG-8523

In the sculpture of Milena Lah (1920 - 2003), the seagull motif represents both the formal and sub-stantive dividing line. After having graduated from the Zagreb Academy of Fine Arts in 1949, this sculptress spent the first 15 years working within the boundaries of realistic sculpture, only to de-vote herself more decisively to formal experiments in the first half of the 1960s. Under the influ-ence of Henry Moore, Lah freed herself from imitating reality, and as early as the late 1960s, she created sculptures with forms composed exclusively of dynamic and rhythmic alternations of con-cave and convex shapes (Flight of the Seagull, 1969, Seagull, 1968). This alternation of the concave and the convex can also be seen in paintings that Lah executed at the same time. Although she abandoned Realism on the formal level, Lah kept the connection between her sculptures and the natural and cultural phenomena on a symbolic level – through the titles of her works and exhibi-tions. Early on in her career, it was first the ethnic heritage of the Istrian peninsula (local legends) or the medieval heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bogomils, standing tombstones), while her focus shifted to natural phenomena (seagulls, the moon) during the 1960s, and eventually to motifs that try to combine mythology and science fiction. The paintings on view here belong to the period of the sculptress’ activity in which she, still fascinated by everyday life – flight of the seagull, moonlit night – tries to breathe new life into old sensations. She largely succeeds in this, creating a wavy composition wherein she brings the black, white, gold and different shades of blue into an unusual relationship. Milena Lah’s art is also characterised by working outdoors, in a natural environment. She participated in two dozen sculptural symposia in Croatia and abroad, so it is not surprising that her sculptures can be found in many public spaces in Croatia and abroad.

Text: Klaudio Štefančić, senior curator 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

Zvonimir Lončarić, Philip Junior, 1970

Zvonimir Lončarić
Philip Junior, 1970
polyester, paint

Sculptor, graphic artist, stage and set designer Zvonimir Lončarić graduated from the Academy of Applied Arts in Zagreb in 1956 under Prof. Kosta Angeli Radovani and Prof. Ernest Tomašević. In 1958 he started working for Zagreb Film production studio as a cartoonist and set designer, and authored four animated films. He created a respectable graphic art oeuvre, also did ceramics and stage design, and produced series of imaginative children’s toys. He modelled figurative sculptures, most often in wood and polyester painted in vivid colours. By having synthesised his sculptural experiences of tradition and the language of contemporary art, he created an oeuvre of original works of art, in which elements of the fantastic and the surreal are imbued with a specific sense of humour. This is also reflected in his witty mobile statues set in public spaces.

Lončarić’s production of animated films is also reflected in his sculptural expression, which features unconventional, simple and elementary forms of accentuated volumes and colours. The inflated and suspended figure of Philip Junior from 1970 belongs to the series of his colourful simplified and oversized puppet sculptures.

Text:Tatijana Gareljić, Museum consultant of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Ana Janković
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb

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