Nenad Marasović
“Still Life”

From 7 February to 5 March 2023, the National Museum of Modern Art presents, at the Josip Račić Gallery, the exhibition “Still Lifes” by the painter, graphic designer and illustrator Nenad Marasović. The exhibition concept and set-up are authored by Branko Franceschi, art historian and director of the National Museum of Modern Art, who presented, thirty years ago to the day at the Miroslav Kraljević Gallery, Marasović’s works featuring the theme of female body in motion.
For the presentation of the artist’s work on this occasion, he has selected works from the less-known and overlooked segment of Nenad Marasović’s prolific oeuvre. Specifically, 11 oils on canvas from the series of still lifes featuring food motifs, created between 2009 and 2012, which represent, in Branko Franceschi’s opinion, the artist’s best achievement and his true contribution to the genre of still life in Croatian painting. The exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual catalogue in Croatian and English, published by the National Museum of Modern Art, with a foreword by Branko Franceschi.

(...)In the spirit of original Realism, Marasović is extremely objective in his treatment of the motif. He regularly positions it in the foreground at the centre of the composition, while the background is usually rendered with neutral layers of complementary colour. The colour palette is subdued, muted, and the illumination is evenly distributed, without expressive penetrations of light or its play with shadows. The compositions are seemingly monotonous and descriptive, which is perfectly summed up by the unpretentious titles such as, for example, A Piece of Meat, Rye Bread, Fruit Cake, Salad Ingredients or Three Fishes. But the intense feeling of depicted flesh draws the eye and the attention. The meat is succulent, fresh and healthy, it will whet the appetite of meat lovers like me. The skin and eyes of the fish are moist, the bread crust is hard, and the dough is soft and elastic. Pastry cakes are saccharine sweet, the vegetables are juicy, and the onion skin is suitable shiny, dry and crunchy. It is evident that Marasović adapts the wide array of his artistic expression to the nature of the motif, while evoking different historical approaches to the genre. Realistic depictions of pieces of meat, fruit or bread show that the tradition of convincing Dutch still-life painting has been unbroken since the 16th century, and is still alive and well today. (...) Branko Franceschi, from the text in the exhibition catalogue.

Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Image: From the Nenad Marasović Still life exhibition set up. Photo: from the National Museum of Modern Art's archives and Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb

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