Home of HDLU (Meštrovićev paviljon)
Curator: Branko Franceschi
The multimedia exhibition Murtić 100 marks the centenary of the birth of an artist who, according to his variation of gestural abstraction, was a leading figure of regional high modernism and whose oeuvre has permanently marked contemporary art from the second half of the 20th century to the present day.
The Bačva Gallery presents iconic paintings that mark different stages of the artist's work and which are remembered in the collective memory as paradigmatic works of art of individual sections of high modernism. The goal is the dynamic structure of the exhibition in a space that can be encompassed at a glance, clearly present the changes by which Murtić, with his always recognizable expression over time, reflected all current stylistic determinants as they appeared on the international art scene. With the structure of the exhibition, dynamic colorism and distinct gestures stand out as fundamental determinants of Murtić's creative approach.
The spatial connection of the galleries vertically enables the proverbial artist's vitalism presented in the Bačva gallery to be opposed in the PM gallery by Murtić's dramatic cycles which refer to the enduring challenges of reality. Between the paintings of the cycle "Eyes of Fear" from the eighties, there are works made with drawing techniques and a reduced palette that strives for a monochrome contrast of black and white. These are cycles dedicated to the need to permanently remember the victims of fascist terror and anti-war themes in general, which culminated in several "Kadavera" series. Formally speaking, these cycles represent the artist's distinctive contribution to Croatian figuration at the turn of the millennium, as well as to domestic and world anti-war art. The exhibition setup directly points to Murtić's importance as a prominent and influential cultural actor, an unwavering advocate of democratic and libertarian principles.
The spatial division of the Prsten Gallery enables a separate presentation of several disciplines that Murtić expertly used in his work. In the central exhibition space, the paintings on canvas highlight Murtić's dynamic relationship to the established division into abstract and figurative, which marks the history and present of modern art. After that, cycles in graphic and drawing techniques, and cycles of works in ceramics and enamel follow through space. In a separate space, a multimedia installation by Ivan Marušić Klif presents Murtić's compositions performed in public spaces, ie representative spatially specific mosaics and murals performed in public buildings.
Edo Murtić (Velika Pisanica, 1921 - Zagreb, 2005), with his painting oeuvre and strong artistic personality, marked and formed the cultural life of Croatia and the region in the second half of the 20th century. He attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, and the school of Petar Dobrović in Belgrade. He held his first solo exhibition in Zagreb in 1935. During World War II, he opted for the anti-fascist movement and the values it nurtured, and expressed it in his artistic and cultural work for the rest of his life. Murtić's early figurative painting, thanks to a continuous evolution inspired by study trips to France, Italy and the USA, and contacts with the world's leading post-war artists, gradually transformed into a personal variation of abstract painting with expressive gestures, lyrical charge and strong colorism. With his unique and recognizable painting style, he created one of the most influential oeuvres of high modernism in Southeast Europe. His exhibitions in 1953 in Zagreb and Belgrade were among the first solo exhibitions in the socialist world to present elements of abstract art. Edo Murtić has realized more than three hundred solo and as many group exhibitions on all continents, including notable performances at the Venice Biennial. His works are present in most representative public and private collections around the world. In addition to a rich oeuvre, Murtić's work includes theatrical scenographies, murals, mosaics, enamels, sculptures and ceramics. He is the winner of many major domestic and foreign awards and recognitions. He lived and worked in Zagreb and Vrsar.
Branko Franceschi (Zadar, 1959), an art historian, has been the director of the Modern Gallery in Zagreb since 2020. Before that, he was the director of the Museum of Fine Art in Split (2014-2020), the Virtual Museum of Avant-Garde Art (since 2010), HDLU Zagreb (2008- 2010), the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rijeka (2004-2008) and the manager and curator of the Miroslav Kraljević Gallery in Zagreb (1987-2004). He was the commissioner/curator of the Croatian pavilion at the 16th Biennial in Sao Paulo (2004), at the Venice Biennials in 2013, 2007, and 2008, and at the 11th International Architecture Exhibition. He was the co-curator of the 2nd Biennial of ARK D-0, Konjic, BiH (2013) and the Helsinki Biennial of Photography (2014), also a member of the curatorial team of the International Biennial of Young Artists, Bucharest (2006, 2012). He initiated the Biennale Kvadrilaterale in Rijeka, Croatia (2005), the radio show Radio galerije for Jadranski Radio in Split (2015), residencies for Croatian artists in PS1, New York (2001-2007), the residency program Art in General (2004 - 2011), and since 2017 he has been leading and coordinating the Art Omi residency for artists living and working in Croatia. His diverse activities include the production of online works, articles for daily newspapers, and reviews for art magazines in Croatia and abroad, monographs by contemporary Croatian artists, editing books on art criticism in Croatia, TV and radio shows. Membership: HS AICA (President 2010 - 2016), ICOM, CIMAM, IKT, DPUH. He is a member of the Art Omi Advisory Board and the Vladimir Nazor Award Commission for Fine and Applied Arts.