Damir Mataušić, Pegasus, 1998

Damir Mataušić
Pegasus, 1998
silver-plated bronze
13x24x17 cm

Damir Mataušić graduated in sculpture in 1979 from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb (under Professor Želimir Janeš), where he has been teaching since 1996. Mataušić’s sculptures feature a specific expression and a distinct aesthetics, which he has been applying successfully in several mediums of sculpture – ranging from medals, coins, livery collars and honours to small free-standing sculptures, reliefs and public monuments, from intimist and official to public and sacral sculptures displaying Mataušić’s deep perception and exceptional dedication during the process of sculpting. A feature of Mataušić’s work is the use of several types of materials, which are dominated by polished metals modelled with technical precision in inventive compositions. His oeuvre synthesises historical and cultural legacies without depriving artistic creativity of its dignity, wherein lies the value of his work.

Small free-standing sculptures of an intimist poetics, and of dynamic content and playful forms in which he brings to life his genuine perceptions, and an abundance of ideas and associations represent a special segment of Damir Mataušić’s oeuvre. He creates them enthusiastically, like an alchemist of joy. His mobile Pegasus statuette from 1998 is a modernised representation of the mythical winged horse as an amusing combination of the body of this noble animal with the wings of a biplane and wheels on its legs, modelled like a toy in children’s fantasies about flying.

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

Matko Vekić, Sight, 1998

Matko Vekić
Sight, 1998
oil on canvas
195 x 200 cm

Matko Vekić (1970) is one of the most well-established and engaged Croatian painters of his generation. His painting mixes modernist stylisation and critique of society with a postmodernist reductionist narrative, the signs of which always point to something other than the visible. Vekić’s motifs resist superficial emblems and ornaments which, to paraphrase A. Loss, he considers a crime. He obtained a degree in painting from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in the class of Đ. Seder (1995), where he has been teaching since 2011. With their concrete/abstract, figurative/nonfigurative, organic/inorganic polarities, each of Vekić’s painting series is a well-thought-out painterly manifesto, an artistic worldview and visual program of signs pointing to a contemporary focus (Animal Circle – Zodiac, 2005; Symbol, Ornament, Sign and Crime, 2009; The Cruelty of the Circle, 2010; Orienta(lisa)tion, 2016). Comprising concrete and mental junctions, bridges and overpasses, Vekić’s early urban iconography renders the contemporary urban fabric of the city as a place of blocking dystopia.

Vekić’s painting Sight (1998) expresses the cold, analytical, observational – distant gaze of the artist, however, by imprinting the structures of wood/planks for “formworks”, the artist effectively contrasts the impersonal, bare and cool objectness and spatiality by creating a kind of “concrete garden” which is suggested by the organic arabesque tree rings. In his 20+ years as an artist, he has had over 40 solo exhibitions. He represented Croatia at the Cairo International Biennale in 2006 and 2010, and at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009.

Text: Željko Marciuš, Museum Advisor of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art Zagreb, 2022
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art Zagreb, 2022

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