Sun, 27 Feb 2000

Expo shows diversity of Croatian graphic arts

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesian art buffs will have a chance to view contemporary Croatian graphic arts to be shown at the National Museum from Feb.29 through March 9.

"This is the first exhibition of Croatian graphic arts in Indonesia," said Marijn Oresnik, Counselor of the embassy of the Republic of Croatia in Jakarta.

The exhibition, jointly held by the Croatia's Ministry of Culture, the Croatian Embassy here and the National Museum in Jakarta, will display works of prominent Croatian graphic artists which illustrate the development of this discipline there.

The participating artists represent several generations, from established modern classicists to the young and enthusiastic who are just beginning to make their way. It also records a whole history of esthetic sensitivity and technical virtuosity showing a wide range of "change of taste."

The exhibition reveals the contrast in Croatian graphic arts -- between old and young artists, between figurative and abstract, between the established and the alternative, between the elementary and the subtle, between the traditional and the innovative -- creations rich in vibrant energy.

There are several distinctive works by artist Dubraka Babic, now Professor and Dean of the Zagreb Art Academy, War Portraits from Croatia I depicting grim expressions of six war victims.

Senior artist Zvonimir Loncaric displays his figurative and colorful graphic art works entitled In Search of the Holy Grail. He is a famous author of several cartoons and toy designs.

Professional painter Ivan Rabuzin presents his watercolor work entitled Birth of Light. His painting has a distinctive style (oil on canvas, watercolors and prints). It is both inspired and original, with subtle shaded colors and soft, round shapes forming lines or circles to present a quiet singular aspect of native art.

His works are widely exhibited worldwide. He painted the ceremonial curtain for the Takarazuka Theater in Tokyo and for the Museum of Modern Art in Urawa.

Graphic art, one of the most vital components of Croatian fine arts, has seen several powerful personalities; among them Menci Clement Crncic, the founder of the contemporary Zagreb school and younger talents like Dubravka Babic and Nikola Koydl.

According to Tonko Maroevic, a professor of arts at the Zagreb Arts Academy, graphic art in Croatia rests on strong foundations and a well established teaching tradition. Throughout the entire twentieth century all kinds of traditions and modern engraving and pressing techniques have been taught at the Zagreb Academy of Fine Arts.

There is a diffuse graphic experience in Croatia developed from iconographic motifs and stylistic inspiration.

Foreign elements are also found in Croatian art works. Croatian culture developed at the crossroad of the Mediterranean and Central European cultural spheres.

Consequently, Croatian heritage is an admixture of numerous cultures that have developed in this region.

Croatian Graphic Art has emerged from this long history depicting a unique spiritual place with a clear picture of the dynamics and significance of the Croatian presence.

The selection of contemporary graphic arts to be exhibited here cannot give a complete overview of either individuals or general tendencies in Croatian graphics at this moment, but it certainly illustrates the diversity of Croatian art and its place in Europe and the world.

The exhibition also shows the degree of decentralization that exist in Croatia, for more and more works are being done outside Zagreb.

"We are convinced that this exhibition is the start of a more intensive period of communication between Indonesian and Croatian cultures," added the counselor.

"We hope to present a major exhibition of Indonesian culture in Croatia," he added. For Indonesian artists, this may be a good chance to show Indonesian arts to their Croatian counterparts. (raw)