Zlatko Kauzlarić Atač, In Private, 1977

Zlatko Kauzlarić Atač,

In Private, 1977

oil on canvas, 130 x 110 cm


Zlatko Kauzlarić Atač (1945) is a socially engaged Croatian figurative painter who has been confirming the thesis on the permanence of the figurative (Z. Rus) even during High Modernism which is averse to Figurative Art. He was a prominent member of the Biafra Art Group which was active in Zagreb (1970 – 1978) and which stood against Abstract Art because it deprives man of his central role in art. Since 1974, the group started staging exhibitions and actions on the streets. Atač’s work is characterised by social expressivity and the themes he chose revolved around the hardship of reality. He dealt with the issues of humanism in modern society, bureaucracy, politics and culture. His expressive and powerful figuration and naturalist methods are typical of his work. The painting In Private from 1977, with the motif of politicians engaged in a secret conversation, shown from a low angle and staged under a monochrome, interrupted by a horizontal divider that separates the format, but not the coloured background, is an example of his fierce criticism of the former system. The painting procedure is also original, depicting an abstract and concrete part of the play within a format, which exposes political hypocrisy with the gestural mimicry of the protagonists of the figurative part of the painting. Since the 1970s, he has been designing stage sets and costumes at the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb and other theatres both in Croatia and abroad. As far as his painting is concerned, he later softened his style, started using refined, thickly applied layers of paint in his striking portraits, while in the 1980s he began drawing and painting eroticised female nudes, subsequently turning to his own body and intimate life. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1968 (M. Stančić), and then worked as an associate in Krsto Hegedušić’s Master Workshop (1968 – 1974). He taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, where he became full professor in 1996 and a dean between 2002 and 2006. Since 1989, he has also been teaching at the Faculty of Architecture in Zagreb, Design Study. He has exhibited at many solo and group exhibitions both in Croatia and abroad, and has received numerous awards for his artistic and theatrical work.

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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