Anabel Zanze

The National Museum of Modern Art concludes this year’s exhibition activity at the Josip Račić Gallery with Anabel Zanze’s exhibition Letterocracy. It showcases the recent works of this Dubrovnik-born and Zagreb-based visual artist who has, since the mid-1990s, intensively been painting and collaging words and exploring the meaning of messages.
It is clear from the very title – a compound word that combines the Croatian noun “slovo” (letter) with the ancient Greek verb “kratein” (meaning, to rule) – that in Anabel Zanze’s 32nd solo exhibition to date, the letters have the final say. However, this time, through explicit and clear messages that refer to specific events that have deeply shaken the artist.
The artist appropriated Bring Back the Magnolia – originally, a slogan of the community organisation that advocates for transparent management policies and the “green” city of Zagreb – as the title of her polyptych from 2020, which represents, through 16 oil paintings, a form of social criticism and a protest against the felling of the magnolia in front of the Meštrović Pavilion in Zagreb. If it were growing in a more civilised part of the world (I am currently imagining Japan), our magnolia would have still nourished a micro-eco-system in its canopy and under it, and many would have sighed in admiration when it bloomed – Zanze points out.
The polyptych The Young Patrician Woman – letter-registers the expropriation that took place on 5 November 2021 at the National Museum of Modern Art (then the Modern Gallery) in Zagreb, following a court ruling related to the dispute over the ownership of Vlaho Bukovac’s painting “The Young Patrician Woman”. A particular feature of this exhibition is the Braille segment aimed at the visually impaired persons, which the artist executed in collaboration with the Typhlological Museum, thus enabling them to get to know her world through their own.
Visitors who wish to express themselves, comment or leave a message, and thus actively participate in the exhibition, will have an opportunity to do so on the Agora magnetic plate, an object that simulates a square.
The exhibition, curated by Željko Marciuš, NMMU museum consultant, accompanied by a bilingual catalogue in Croatian and English languages, will be on display at the Josip Račić Gallery from 15 December 2022 to 8 January 2023.

Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Image: Reproduction / from the Anabel Zanze's exhibition Letterocracy at the Josip Račić Gallery / Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2022.

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