artist / participant


press release

This survey exhibition of the preeminent contemporary Croatian artist and sculptor Ivan Kožarić at the Mestna galerija Ljubljana is no coincidence. A few people still remember one of his earliest solo shows, together with painter Ivo Dulčić, in the erstwhile Jakopič Pavilion in Ljubljana in January 1957. At the time, the Slovene public found the simplicity of his artistic hand, expressed in reductionism and the abstracted sculptural forms to which he has remained faithful to this day – unpalatable, even unacceptable. The comments in the visitors’ book described Kožarić’s sculptures as poor reflections of modern art and unworthy of an academically trained artist, since “The form of a face is not the form of a piece of firewood!”. Kožarić’s work was hard to understand; from the outset he has been working outside established stylistic premises, revising his artistic actions freely and without restrictions, summing them up in statements such as “Art is always something else!”, “Art is forever elusive!”, “Let’s break (out of) the frames!”, “Art is a rare bird!”, etc. Apropos the exhibition that had been staged at the Salon ULUH in Zagreb before the Ljubljana show, Radoslav Putar wrote in Narodni list in 1956 that “Kožarić’s materializations of his reactions to inner and external impulses are very sincere, which is extremely, extremely rare.” He assigned them “an exceptional place on the horizon of Croatian sculpture.” And Kožarić proved fully worthy of that exceptional place time and again, often also in Ljubljana, with numerous solo and group exhibitions and by participating in the most prestigious international events and biennials, most recently with a great retrospective exhibition first at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MSU) in Zagreb and then at the Haus der Kunst in Munich in 2013.

Our presentation of Kožarić’s works is the most comprehensive in Slovenia to date, and has been staged in cooperation with the Museum of Contemporary Art (MSU) in Zagreb. Conceived in well-rounded topical cross-sections of the artist’s exceptionally copious oeuvre, it includes over 200 sculptures, objects, assemblages, readymades, paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, and textiles. The majority of the works have been loaned by Studio Kožarić, which comprises over 6,000 items and was purchased by the municipality of Zagreb in 2007 and placed in the stewardship of the MSU. The remaining works are on loan from the MSU Collection, Gliptoteka HAZU, Moderna galerija Zagreb, the Filip Trade Collection (Lauba), as well as from the private collections of Ivan and Filip Kožarić, Ivica Župan, and other collectors. We would like to express our sincerest appreciation to them all for their kind support and understanding.