A virtual tour of a critical retrospective of Vatroslav Kuliš at the National Museum of Modern Art

When a retrospective of Vatroslav Kuliš’s work was planned at the National Museum of Modern Art, no one could have imagined that the whole world would be facing COVID-19, one of the biggest pandemics in modern history, or that Zagreb would be struck by an earthquake, the most severe in the last 140 years. In view of the said circumstances, there was no opening ceremony, which was planned for 31st March. However, so that you do not have to wait for better times to enjoy Kuliš’s art and aesthetics, on our website, Facebook and Instagram profiles we are bringing segments of the exhibition that we managed to set up before the earthquake hit.

In collaboration with the author of the exhibition and a prominent art critic, Milan Bešlić, one of Croatia’s greatest colourists, Vatroslav Kuliš, has selected over one hundred large- and small-format paintings from his rich oeuvre created between 1974 and 2020 to be exhibited at the National Museum of Modern Art.

– For more than four decades, Kuliš has been building his very own artistic language whose changes are read in his many series of paintings, in his lucid transformations of his gesture, in the wide and circular sweeps of his hand, in his swirling and spiral curves, curly lines, in spray droplets, dotty spots, in paint squeezed vertically onto canvases, and poured across and over the edge of paintings into infinite space – that is, into the space of the “intimate and human” in both Kuliš’s being and art. The abundance of signs and the vast array of innovations in his language speak volumes about the dynamics of the changes in his language, about the endless exploration of the visual expressiveness of his language, about him intensifying boldly the very process of painting and, above all, about a solidly built structure of art, within the context of which Kuliš’s language has been placed precisely by means of colour and the wind of gesture – Milan Bešlić writes in the preface to the exhibition catalogue.

Branko Franceschi, director of the National Museum of Modern Art, also writes in the exhibition catalogue: “Drawing from the holdings of Croatia’s institutions, private and corporate collections, Kuliš’s archives and studio, and curated by Milan Bešlić, the exhibition is presenting not only paintings from all of his key series, but also his lesser-known works done in the mediums of installation art and assemblage or experiments that have varied his highly distinctive artistic formula through atypical executions and materials. Ultimately – since no artist is an island and because the position of an artist is always at the crossroads – a review of Kuliš’s creativity reminds us, both through affirmation and deviation, of all the phenomena of visual art that have marked our era. Nostalgia has never had more intense colours.”

We hope you enjoy the virtual tour of the exhibition. Until we meet again at the National Museum of Modern Art after we defeat COVID-19, make sure you follow the instructions given by the National Civil Protection Headquarters and stay home!

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5. Pogled na postav kritičke retrospektive Vatroslava Kuliša u Modernoj galeriji Foto Goran Vranić©Moderna galerija, Zagreb

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9. Pogled na postav kritičke retrospektive Vatroslava Kuliša u Modernoj galeriji Foto Goran Vranić©Moderna galerija, Zagreb

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3. Pogled na postav kritičke retrospektive Vatroslava Kuliša u Modernoj galeriji Foto Goran Vranić©Moderna galerija, Zagreb

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10. Pogled na postav kritičke retrospektive Vatroslava Kuliša u Modernoj galeriji Foto Goran Vranić©Moderna galerija, Zagreb

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4. Pogled na postav kritičke retrospektive Vatroslava Kuliša u Modernoj galeriji Foto Goran Vranić©Moderna galerija, Zagreb

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6. Pogled na postav kritičke retrospektive Vatroslava Kuliša u Modernoj galeriji Foto Goran Vranić©Moderna galerija, Zagreb