Goran Fruk, Untitled, 1989

Goran Fruk
Untitled, 1989
mixed media on canvas
250 x 179.5 cm

By creating a personal artistic environment based on the spiritual and intellectual querying of the world within and around him, in his Untitled abstract painting from 1989, Goran Fruk seems to evoke the penetration of light in the darkness. Questioning art and its possibilities, the artist uses extreme tones, the brightest white and the darkest black, to encourage the observers to examine their own minds and interpret the work independently.
Goran Fruk (1959-1993, Zagreb) was a multimedia artist, painter, poet and a passionate mountaineer, who entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1982, after having completed his studies in comparative literature and art history at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. At the Academy, he was quickly recognised as an extremely gifted painter and a striking phenomenon in Croatian visual arts in the 1980s. His creative oeuvre spans the period from 1986 to his sudden death in 1993. During his student days, he collaborated with colleagues from the Academy on staging various actions, music projects, happenings and performances that left a significant mark on the art scene of that period. Among them, the three performances titled Defenestration I, II, III, staged from 1986 to 1988, are considered Fruk’s most significant actions. As part of that project, together with his colleagues from the Academy, he organised a happening in three acts whereby they “ejected” paintings and civilisational waste through the window of his family home and his studio onto public ground below. Fruk’s maturation as a painter led him to push the boundaries of the treatment of the painting surface and to abolish the frame of the painting itself. In a very short creative period, he achieved an intriguing body of work and left an indelible mark on the Croatian art scene with his artistic activity.

Text: Lorena Šimić, trainee 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

Branko Ružić, Lorca II, 1989

Branko Ružić
Lorca II, 1989
gouache on paper
MG- 6427

Branko Ružić has spent a long time searching for his artistic path. During his high school days, he showed outstanding talent, and together with his friend Slavko Kopač, he spent time drawing and painting in the Vinkovac area. After high school, he first enrolled to study engineering, which he left to study architecture. He then abandoned architecture in favour of art history, and then history of literature. Eventually, in 1944, he enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, where he obtained a degree in painting, but he will devote his artistic work to sculpture. He was inspired by prehistoric and folk art, children’s drawings, Stonehenge and wooden architecture of the Posavina region. All these sources can be recognised in his sculpture, which gives the impression of rudimentariness and incompleteness.

The drawing “Lorca II” displays some of these characteristics: it is dominated by large summarily indicated surfaces, which shape the human figure. In an attempt to depict the execution of the Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca, Ružić used the texture of the paper. The drawing is not executed on blank paper, but the page of a daily newspaper, which gives the scene not only a visual, but also semantic value. Ružić treats the surfaces covered with black and white pigment as another layer of specific texture. And finally, as in the sculptures, the representation of the human figure is extremely simplified: the body is a sign, and not a realistic representation. Despite this, it is possible to recognise the poet’s collapsed body.

Text: Klaudio Štefančić curator at the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art , Zagreb, 2023
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo: Goran Vranić National Museum of Modern Art , Zagreb, 2023

Kažimir Hraste, 1954 L, 1989

Kažimir Hraste, 1954
L, 1989
97.5 x 38 x 21.5 cm

Kažimir Hraste (1954) graduated in sculpture from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1978 under Prof. Valerije Michieli, and completed his postgraduate studies in Ljubljana in 1984 under Prof. Drago Tršar. He specialised in Rome in 1990. He is a full professor of sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, and a professor of drawing and design at the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Geodesy of the University of Split.
Hraste has created a great sculpture oeuvre. His public monuments and sculptures are dominated by religious and historical themes and figures. He is the author of many concept design solutions for commemorative gold and silver coins minted by the Croatian National Bank. His portrait sculptures feature masterfully captured psychological characterisation. As far as his abstract compositions are concerned, he executes them mostly in wood, then in metal and acrylic glass sheets, by using the method of addition which heightens his sculptures’ expressive significance and creates associative ties.
Executed in a neo-cubist manner and fragile in structure, Kažimir Hraste’s freeform L sculpture from 1954 explores the constructive and structural potentials of wood from different angles. It is composed of several counterposed wooden segments which seem to defy gravity.

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

Ljubo De Karina, Blue Vertical, 1989

Ljubo De Karina
Blue Vertical, 1989
s=201 cm

He obtained a degree in sculpture from the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana in 1972. After having graduated, he specialized in Vanja Radauš’s and Antun Augustinčić’s Master Workshops. He acquired the status of a freelance artist in 1973 and since then he has exclusively been working as a sculptor. He lives and works in Brseč. Faithful to the basic sculptural postulates, relationship between material, mass and space, he creates in wood, stone and metal, and according to their artistic poetics, his outdoor sculptural works are particularly harmonious with public spaces in Croatia and around the world.
De Karina’s distinctiveness lies in the fact that he is both a stonemason and an architect, a visionary and an esotericist. He unites the rational and the irrational, the geometric and the organic. His wellspring is the architectural heritage of his homeland, Neolithic culture and ethnographic heritage. He starts from the local heritage highlighted by postmodernism, reflecting the strong connection between man and nature and the return to the primeval origins. In search of the archetypal, he gradually transforms forms into spiritual symbols. He elevates megalithic structures, based on the cultural and architectural heritage of his homeland, to a universal sign. The Penetrations and Stone on Stone series are close to minimal art, but the forms are poeticized because they retain reminiscences of the local architecture and Neolithic heritage. The properties of Art Informel are noticeable in the manner that Coated Forms and Verticals are executed as well as their surface treatment.
The Blue Vertical sculpture is carved from an upright naturally slightly sloping and bent plank of wood with shallow grooves and upper and lower metal edges. Along the blue-painted surface is a serpentine perforation that follows the wavy curved outer edges. The sculpture is wedged in the middle of a low stone base of rudimentary workmanship. With its harmony of the spiritual and the material, the primordial form and the contemporary expression, this work represents the best embodiment of the artist’s entire artistic premise.

Text: Tatijana Gareljić, Museum Advisor 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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