SELECTED ARTWORKS FROM THE PERMANENT COLLECTION
>> On view from 10 October until 4 December 2023.
>> Curators: Marko Košan and Jernej Kožar
The academic painter Štefan Planinc (1925–2017) ascended to the throne of fantastic and surrealist painting in Slovenia during his creative arch from the early 1960s onwards. A visual storyteller with an unceasing expressive drive, he created an almost boundless artistic oeuvre of large, medium, and small-scale paintings, complemented by an extensive corpus of drawings in various techniques. Since 2005, a representative selection from his donation, comprising 133 canvas paintings, 274 works on paper, and 198 original book illustrations, totalling 605 works of art, has been stored in the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Koroška in Slovenj Gradec. The current presentation of selected works focuses on large-format paintings created in the 1980s.
The life of Jože Tisnikar (1928–1998) ended in a tragic car accident in 1998, precisely at the time when he celebrated the greatest triumph of his artistic achievement with a major retrospective exhibition for his seventieth birthday at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Slovenj Gradec. His unique, incomparable, and indescribable artistic story of a bitter search for the profound truths of human existence remains an endless source of inspiration for the conception of new projects, focused on one of the core collections of the Museum, entitled “HOMMAGE TO TISNIKAR”, founded by the art historian and then-director of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Koroška Milena Zlatar. In memory of the great painter, the collection combines works by Slovenian and foreign artists with a similar artistic poetics. The current presentation, in addition to selected works by Tisnikar, includes paintings, prints, photographs, and sculptures by Valentin Oman, Hermann Falke, Tina Dobrajc, Natalija Šeruga Golob, Vladimir Veličković, Herman Pivk, Tihomir Pinter, Metod Frlic, and Mirsad Begić.
For the current presentation of works from the Bogdan Borčić (1926–2014) collection, we have selected paintings from the 1980s and paintings from the early 21st century, which represent the final point of Borčić’s minimalist painting. From that point on, Bogdan Borčić gradually returned to representation, which is also evident in the fact that the paintings’ titles move beyond indifferent names such as “Unified Space of Tonal Contrast”, “Subtractions”, “Organization of the Pictorial Field/Vertical Stripes”, “The Same Luminance Tone”, and “White T”, acquiring completely concrete titles, such as “Matisse in New York” and “Porte fenetre”. In the works presented here, we can discern Borčić’s exceptional sense of colour and their interaction. In Bogdan Borčić’s oeuvre, radical geometry appears in paintings, where the artist enhances the impact of colour by assembling different colour fields, thereby challenging our ability to perceive different shades. In some instances, colour fields are delimited by lines that stand out in relief from the painting, as in the work “Subtractions”. In this case, the line serves as a marker, representing a precedent in the entirely vacated world of abstraction and minimalism. This seemingly insignificant detail here signifies a transition into the realm of representation. The line, along with colour, is the primary signifier that immediately triggers an associative flow in our minds.
The art of Pino Poggi (1939) is infused with political activism and social engagement, serving also as a means to demonstrate his political stance and his concern with current social events. He named it Arte Utile, encompassing the AU process, AU environment, AU alphabet, and AU artist books. In addition to these, Pino Poggi also creates performances, sculptures, and poetry. Drawing on the ideas of modernist avant-garde movements in the mid-1960s, when it seemed that art could actively influence political events in society, Pino Poggi developed the concept of Arte Utile and, through this, the AU (Arte Utile) process. The AU process consisted of four phases: 1. Initiation; 2. Social Development; 3. Confrontation, Analysis. In the fourth and final phase, called Metamorphosis, these AU sheets were cut and stored in special boxes. This is the ultimate result of the AU process, which can also be exhibited in a museum or gallery. The AU process is the antithesis of conventional art, which presents and depicts. Pino Poggi, like some before him, distances himself from it to the extent of redefining himself from an artist to a utilitarian.