Exhibition conception devised by
Zorana Jurić Šabić, Dalibor Prančević, Barbara Vujanović
Zorana Jurić Šabić, Barbara Vujanović
Exhibition design and spatial conception by
Graphic design of the exhibition and catalogue equipment
Author of the photographs
SCULPTURE AND NAKEDNESS – Corporeality and Eroticism in the Works of Ivan Meštrović
January 26 – February 26, 2016
The Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences Glyptotheque, Zagreb
It is seldom that Meštrović’s works are observed through the prism of the meaning of naked body and erotic readings.
The theme development can be traced through sculptures and drawings dating in the range from 1903 – 1946, and according to the motif and the period, the theme of melancholy and eroticism in the work of Ivan Meštrović can be observed through three readings, which will be intertwined in the exhibition narrative, whereas in the catalogue these will be presented separately, through three texts:
I. UNEASINESS IN THE BODY (TENSIONS IN REPRESENTATION: OLD AGE, EROTISICED PATHOS, DIFFERENT SEXUALITY, IMMEDIATE SENSUALITY) (Dalibor Prančević) – a whole that covers the wider time contingent of the first two decades of the 20th century, the selection includes works with various issues of nudity, aesthetic of the “ugly” and affirmation of the other.
II. BETWEEN TWO EROSES AND TWO AFRODITES – CLASSICAL CONCEPTION OF CORPOREALITY (Barbara Vujanović): this chapter deals with the works of Meštrović’s so-called “Zagreb period”, but also the earlier and later periods, in which it is possible to read the closeness to the ancient notion of the body, in accordance with the contemporary tendencies of European neoclassicism and other stylistic tendencies.
III. CONFLAGRATION OF THE SENSES (Zorana Jurić Šabić): statues of women (sculptures and drawings) from the 1920s, as well as many works dealing with mythological themes, are part of Meštrović’s opus saturated with intimate information and can be interpreted in substance by knowing the specific circumstances and emotional turmoil which the artist experienced, revealing thus his personal perception of sexuality.
All in all, this exhibition, this catalogue, with the three excellent contributions in which the numerous formal and iconological aspects of Meštrović’s nudes are considered da capo, are an important contribution to the understanding of one of the crucial places in the artist’s overall oeuvre. The huge range of different idioms in which the artist described the male and the female body might give us the right to claim that during his long career he did not change his styles, rather the manners of stylisation. The result of the fresh thinking of the authors of the exhibition is best expressed by the final sentence of the essay of Barbara Vujanović: ‘The idea that man represents the absolute measure of the world and the reality in which he lives, suggests the right to doubt, re-examine and relativise the truth that determines them.’ Nothing can better sum up the feelings and thoughts that we take away after carefully looking at the seventy-seven artworks included in this major exhibition. (From Joško Belamarić’s review)