This is the ninth time the Republic of Croatia has appeared at the international exhibition of fine arts in Venice under its own national flag. The preparation and organisation have been entrusted to the Modern Gallery, an establishment that has, during its own and the Biennale’s more than century long history, been the most frequent organiser of the showing of Croatian artists at the celebrated Mostra, right back to the time of the fourth Venice Biennale of 1897.
In accordance with the theme for this year Fare mondi, Croatian contemporary art is represented by the painters NIKOLA KOYDL (born in 1939), ZOLTAN NOVAK (1963) and MATKO VEKIĆ (1970). Each of them is presenting pieces that constitute units in style and content and the sum and substance of their painting production during the last two to three years. These oil paintings are without exception completed a short time ago, and yet for this occasion they have each done one three-dimensional object that correlates exceptionally well with their painting idioms, investigative endeavours and creative credos, which are all, in turn, on the same wavelength as the Biennale’s official area of interest.
The Croatian pavilion in Venice this year too is in the Fondazione Querini Sampalia, the rooms in the ground floor of a palace located in the immediate vicinity of St Mark’s Square. The set-up has been done by artist and consummate connoisseur of the Croatian art scene Getulio Alviani. With a lot of respect for the work of the painters and of course for the restored premises of the old Venetian palace, the exhibition put on its much more than a pleasure, more than an object for a rapid tour, more than a review of the work of these three painters. The works on show make it a place of reflection, a unique zone of artworks in which the accomplishedly articulated individualities of the exhibitors tell of their being focused on keeping up the beauty of the creative act and of innovative transformations in the space of the painting. At the same time, our works provide answers to the questions: what are their roots, how are they building upon the modern heritage with their contemporary idioms, whence do they draw their inspirations for the creation of worlds of the still unfathomable future of an authentically painterly art.
The existential and the spiritual, the imaginative and the realistic, the two-and the three-dimensional alternate in the works of these three artists, making current the issue of the relationship between picture and reality. Their proclivity for the traditional procedures and their openness to the new spaces of painterly material are well justified for they give strength to freedom in choice of expression language. The energy and exclusiveness that Koydl, Novak and Vekić put into their works go through and beyond the impersonality of contemporary artistic practice and put before the observer once again the enduringly kindling painting.
Biserka Rauter Plančić, Commissioner of Croatian exhibition