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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