Ivo Šebalj, Painter’s Memento (1994 – 2001)
Modern Gallery will premiere on Thursday 18th April at 7 pm a series of paintings by Ivo Šebalj, actually 5 diptychs and triptychs which this artist of exceptional creative power and self-effacing nature created in the period between 1994 and 2001. The exhibition will present a total of 52 works from the artist’s final creative period, who, with his own distinct abstract expression built on the basis of his own thinking, moral and aesthetic and visual principles confirmed his historical role in the 20th century Croatian painting. In the author’s concept of the architect Nenad Fabijanić and the painter’s monograph Zdenko Rus, and Biserka Rauter Plančić, the director of the Modern Gallery, exhibited will be the oil paintings, studies and drawings created in the nineties of the last century, as well as the artist’s diptych yet completely unknown to the public „My Memento on Barbarism in the Church in Knin“, the work through which the author reacted to the horrific war sufferings of the people and areas under the barbaric destruction in the Knin region. Along with Šebalj’s works, exhibited will be the charred wooden statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus created at the turn of the 18th and 19th century, which was ruined during the arson of the monastery church of St. Anthony in Knin, and as a special addition is a coloured glass sculpture by Raoul Goldoni, Portrait of Šebalj of 1966, by the sculptor Ivan Sabolić from the collection of the Zagreb Modern Gallery. The visual identity and graphic design of the exhibition are signed by Rašić + Vrabec, and it can be seen until 26th May at the Modern Gallery. It will be accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue with the texts by the creative team.
Šebalj and I, a firmly established relationship that lasts. I was a witness to his wise reticence, stable morality, clarity in attitude, strength in fragility. From our first encounter, he became the person to be followed.
Nenad Fabijanić excerpt from the exhibition catalogue Zagreb, 1st August 2018
… Self-sacrificing in his work as only a very few in our painting, Ivo Šebalj, a recluse artist of exceptional creative power and self-sacrificing, and yet, dignified nature, from 1995 until up to the very end, he deepened the requiem tone of his, completely powerful easel paintings. The result of such atelier work and his peculiar thinking nature is a suggestive painting memento, for which in its energetic charge which emerges from its presented attacks of the dark side of reality, by its imagination and particularly substantial chromatic painter’s expression, I see no equal in the painting of his contemporaries.
Biserka Rauter Plančić, excerpt from the exhibition catalogue
…We have been trying for a long time and we are still trying to figure out what it is in Šebalj’s painting, that has met unanimous and wholehearted acceptance and recognition. We still maintain the assessment outlined in one of our texts of 2003, which reads: I have always felt that his painting, in a way, slips through time, escapes the usual standards on innovation and obsolescence. The secret may be that his painting poetry has never been linked to a major direction or movement, so it has never shared the fate of the ever-present dominance and stringent extinguishment. Its position was „between“, it was „in the meantime“, it touched all painting eras and none in particular.
Zdenko Rus, excerpt from the exhibition catalogue
Photo: Goran Vranić©Moderna galerija, Zagreb