Anabel Zanze, m (red), 2010

Anabel Zanze
m (red), 2010
oil on canvas
120 x 150 cm
MG-7299

Anabel Zanze (1971) is a prominent Croatian verbo-visual painter, a representative of a kind of visual lettrism. An artist who writes as she paints, and paints as she writes. The textual-visual form and refined aesthetics of the artist’s paintings require reading, in addition to visual insight. Text and image in a single creation are analogous to polarities, fillings and blanks, binary codes and labyrinths of image-letters on a complex background. The image field is open to free, aesthetic and mental-conceptual interpretations. With her gift for unobtrusive optical examination of the image field A. Zanze questions the visual peculiarities, laws and accents of her own intellectual painting. She graduated in 1996 from the Department of Graphic Arts of the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, in the class of prof. A. Kuduz. She has staged several solo exhibitions, the most recent being: Text in Tension, Gliptotheque HAZU, Zagreb and Museum of Fine Arts, Split, 2019; Fifty-Eight Paintings, Vukovar Municipal Museum – Orangery Gallery, Vukovar, 2016; Grisailles, Radnička galerija, Zagreb, 2015 – 2016; Quotations, Museum of Modern Art, Dubrovnik, 2015; Types of Words, Museum of Contemporary Art – No Gallery, Zagreb, 2014. Painting approximately 130 letters in a textually layered line in the painting (m) red, 2010, the artist counted and coloured the letter m in red, as a concept that, in the polarities between the achromatic and the prevailing black, neutral font of the letters and the accented red m, spreads through the optical-hypnotic fractal beauty that vibrates the entire composition like an unpredictable chaotic attractor. The artist’s works can be found in the collections of the National Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, Museum of Fine Arts in Split, Museum of Modern Art in Dubrovnik, Museum of Fine Arts in Osijek, and many other museums, private and corporate collections in Croatia and abroad.

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

Anabel Zanze
Letterocracy

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.

Anabel Zanze, Reading Kipke II, 2014

Anabel Zanze,
Reading Kipke II, 2014
oil on canvas
100 x 150 cm
MG-8457

Anabel Zanze (1971) is a prominent Croatian verbo-visual painter, a representative of a kind of visual lettrism. An artist who writes as she paints, and paints as she writes. The textual-visual form and refined aesthetics of the artist’s paintings require reading in addition to visual insight. Text and image in a single creation are analogous to polarities, fillings and blanks, binary codes and labyrinths of image-letters on a complex background. The image field is open to free, aesthetic and mental-conceptual interpretations. With her gift for unobtrusive optical examination of the image field A. Zanze questions the visual features, laws and accents of her own intellectual painting. She graduated in 1996 from the Department of Graphic Arts of the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, in the class of prof. A. Kuduz. She has organized several solo exhibitions, the most recent being: Text in Tension, Gliptotheque HAZU, Zagreb and Museum of Fine Arts, Split, 2019; Fifty-Eight Paintings, Vukovar Municipal Museum – Oranžerija Gallery, Vukovar, 2016; Grisailles, Radnička galerija, Zagreb, 2015 – 2016; Quotations, Museum of Modern Art, Dubrovnik, 2015; Types of Words, Museum of Contemporary Art – No Gallery, Zagreb, 2014. The painting Reading Kipke II, 2014, is a dedication to Ž. Kipke, but also a kind of verbal-visual disintegration of the image. The English translation of Kipke’s texts departs from the artist’s system of image-pages. With a significant enlargement of letters, the image is dynamized, and the semantic meaning of text is destroyed. Letters are freed from the rules of typography, and in three-partite painting (black, light blue and yellow) and the interdependencies between the absorption of the surface and glowing letters, letter-words hover above the surface of the picture (paraphrase, A. Zanze).
The artist’s works can be found in the collections of the National Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, Museum of Fine Arts in Split, Museum of Modern Art in Dubrovnik, Museum of Fine Arts in Osijek, and many other museums, private and corporate collections in Croatia and abroad.

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

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