Photographed by Goran Vranić

Zoltan Novak – Heart of Darkness

October 13, 2021 – December 5, 2021 (Vjekoslav Karas Gallery, Karlovac)

Zoltan Novak (1963), one of the most distinguished painters of his generation, is displaying twelve of his more recent works of the social and intimate subject matter at the Vjekoslav Karas Gallery in Karlovac.

One of them is Heart of Darkness, a homage to Joseph Conrad’s novel of the same name that inspired Francis Ford Coppola’s film Apocalypse Now. Representing the relentlessness of violence that feeds itself and takes over destinies and lives is the theme of the painting Unforgiven, a reference to Clint Eastwood's 1992 anti-western.

Cosmic Family has in its focus a group that appears to represent an idyllic family scene, in which the characters are devoted to each other as if they were the center of the universe. The intimate moment is captured in the painting Embrace with two embracing human figures whose pale naked bodies stand out against a background resembling the night sky.

In his works, Novak continues to use large formats and stencils. The human figure is the central motif—sometimes performed as a pictogram (the leitmotif best known from his cycle Walker) and sometimes executed with more detail and realistic outlines.


Photographed by Goran Vranić


Milan Vulpe – Decoding

June 28, 2021 – October 30, 2021 (Museum of Arts and Crafts, Zagreb)

The latest exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Crafts presents the works of Milan Vulpe, one of the most significant graphic designers in Croatia and the former Yugoslavia. During his career that had spanned from the mid-to-late 1940s until the late 1980s, Milan Vulpe's work shaped our everyday life—watching us from bookshelves, from almost every medicine packaging we picked up, from advertisements and posters, from stationery and laundry detergent.

More than four decades had passed from the last retrospective of his work, and his name and career faded from the collective memory. This exhibition intends to revive Vulpe’s long-forgotten legacy and decode his mode of working.

We still know very little about Milan Vulpe (1918-1990). Born in Dubrovnik, Vulpe spent his working life in Zagreb, where he died. He was an academic painter who worked as a graphic designer.

Vulpe built his career thanks to some favorable circumstances. Between the 1950s and the 1970s, the industrial sector was thriving in Croatia and Yugoslavia, accompanied by the emerging mass tourism. On top of that, there was a vibrant and internationally recognized art scene. He worked for some 380 companies, institutions, and manifestations and developed a visual identity for more than 60 companies.

The Decoding exhibits for the first time a selection of works acquired by the Museum of Arts and Crafts from Vulpe’s family in 2014. The author of the exhibition is Koraljka Vlajo, who selected 850 objects that are on display.


Photos by Denis Bučar


Ratko Petrić – Make Them Face the Truth

March 30, 2021 – June 13, 2021 (Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb)

One of the most intriguing contemporary Croatian artists, Ratko Petrić (1941-2010), created a large, diverse, and distinct opus during an almost 50-year long career. Known as a member of the Biafra Group, he inaugurated a new kind of figuration in Croatian sculpture, rejecting the idea that the purpose of art was to express beauty. Commitment to figuration led to marginalization by the art critics in Croatia who, during the second half of the 20th century, supported abstract and conceptual art.

Petrić used caricature and grotesque to expose individual human flaws and society’s dysfunctions as well. As a sculptor, he created simplified and generic human figures, often with exaggerated body parts. This tendency can be traced back to his beginnings as a cartoonist in the 1960s. In general, his engaged attitude, critical thinking, and simplified presentation are also present in the works he created in other media: graphic art, drawings, cartoons, comic strips, posters, and prints.

He also produced 49 public sculptures and ten monuments, mainly in Croatia (but also in Austria, Germany, and Slovenia). One of his chief preoccupations was to bring art to public spaces and demystify the artistic act by working among passers-by. He initiated an international sculpture colony and founded several sculpture parks.

Ratko Petrić experimented with materials and techniques but preferred to work with colored polyester—cheap and expendable material, a symbol of the modern consumer society, thus ideal for achieving “plastic” surrealism. Unfortunately, exposure to the toxic polyester had a detrimental effect on his body, leading to illness and untimely death.

This retrospective is the most comprehensive exhibition ever held of his work, with many of his art presented for the first time.

The exhibition is installed thematically, through a selection of the most important works from several cycles: Seal, Orator, Feast, Abortion, All-Seeing, The God Eros, American Sculpture Diary, Letterman, Black Egg, Animal Farm, Croatian House, Sculptor’s Studio, Exhibition, etc.

Author of the concept and exhibition curator: Nataša Ivančević

Individual sections by: Koraljka Alavanja, Frano Dulibić, Nataša Ivančević, Lovorka Magaš Bilandžić, Snježana Pintarić


Photos by Ivona Marić


Fashion and Comics

Museum of Arts and Crafts, Zagreb (until March 28, 2021)


Yves Saint-Laurent's La Vilaine Lulu, Lorenzo Mattotti's illustrations from Vogue, Dior's dress inspired by the “ninth art”, clothes from erotic and fetish comics… these are just some of the attractive exhibits on display at the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb. The exhibition Fashion and Comics (Mode et bande dessinée) opened on February 21, on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the French Institute in Croatia. It is produced by the Comics Museum in Angoulême (Cité Internationale de la Bande Dessinée et de l’Image).

Visitors can learn about the intriguing relationship between the world of fashion and comics and their mutual influences through original comic boards and drawings, audiovisual documents, clothing and fashion accessories, and other attractive items from the Museum's unique collection. Comics in the form as we know them today were created at the beginning of the 20th century as mass media products and were initially used to entertain the readership of the daily press, which is why it was perceived as a trivial medium. The turning point was in 1962 when the first official institution for research and evaluation of comics was established in France, after which art theorists began to call it the “ninth art”, and it started to be discussed in cultural circles.

The exhibition aims to show that the relationship between fashion and comics goes beyond entertainment and aesthetics and grows into more complex topics, questioning gender, class and sexual identities, freedom of expression, and political censorship, as well as the issue of high vs. low art.


Source: Museum of Arts and Crafts


Fragments of the Past of the Imperial Palace in Split

Split City Museum (December 22, 2020–)


The exhibition presents the fragments of the architectural and decorative elements of Diocletian’s Palace. 

The Palace of Diocletian, built between 295 and 305 AD, is the largest and best-preserved example of Roman palatial architecture. In 1979, the palace was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It is significant for its masonry construction techniques and the decorative repertoire of the tetrarchy period. Each building within the palace complex had a differently carved decoration relating to its intended function. This meant that a tetrarchic art adorned public buildings and entrances, while religious decorative ornamentation covered temples and sepulchral decoration embellished the mausoleum of Diocletian.

During his reign, Emperor Diocletian (284–305) reorganized the fiscal, administrative, and military system of the Roman Empire and introduced tetrarchy. He is known for the last persecution of Christianity, which became a threat to the Tetrarchic ideology due to its rapid expansion. After his abdication, Diocletian retreated to his magnificent palace, where he died in 313. Later, in the 7th century, inhabitants of Salona, destroyed in the invasions of the Avars and Slavs, took refuge within the palace. In that transformation from the imperial residence into a Late Antique Christianized city, much of the decorative and sculptural architecture was discarded or reutilized as a building material. The old walls and columns were incorporated into new structures.

This story of the palace is illustrated by the objects found during numerous archaeological excavations—notably of the southern part of the complex where the Emperor's apartments were located and the cellars below them. In total, 53 movable stone monuments are on display for the first time.



Split City Museum