20 Years of the Contra Art Group
On 17th October, the 20 Years of the Contra Art Group exhibition opened at the Modern Gallery. For the occasion, Biserka Rauter Plančić, Director of the Modern Gallery, selected over one hundred and twenty paintings, sculptures and sets by artists who have been acting as an informal art group for the last twenty years. These are painters Vladimir Blažanović, Tihomir Lončar, Vladimir Meglić, Željko Mucko, Goran Petrač, Davorin Radić, Velimir Rački, sculptor Petar Ujević, and set designer and musician Žorž Draušnik. Although they are all autonomous in terms of style and true to their very own poetics and expression, what these artists share is a conception of artistic activity as a calling, and their innovative dialogue with historical role models. The exhibition, which closes on 24th November, is accompanied by a richly illustrated exhibition catalogue with texts written by academician Tonko Maroević and Director of the Modern Gallery Biserka Rauter Plančić.
“Members of the Contra Art Group most certainly do not share Argan’s immanent scepticism about the assumption about painting’s “near obsolescence”, but they may well share Argan’s understanding of the irreplaceability of painting as an instrument, the specificity of its sonority and its special qualities. In fact, the idea about the required knowledge of execution can and must be stimulating to them, and the metaphorical comparison of painting with music, of brush and paint with instruments, similar in so many ways to the violin or the double bass (to remain within the etymological “opposition”) particularly appropriate.” (An excerpt from the text by academician Tonko Maroević published in the 20 Years of the Contra Art Group exhibition catalogue.)
Photography: Goran Vranić©Moderna galerija, Zagreb