Exhibition organised by
Cankarjev dom, Ljubljana
Muzeji Ivana Meštrovića
Exhibition conception by
Zorana Jurić Šabić
Zorana Jurić Šabić
Nina Pirnat Spahić
Exhibition display by
Ivan Meštrović: Corporeality and Eroticism in Sculpture
February 13 – May 20, 2018
Cankarjev dom, Ljubljana, Slovenija
After the exceptionally successful exhibition Sculpture and Nudity – Corporeality and Eroticism in the Works of Ivan Meštrović organized by Ivan Meštrović Museums in 2016 in the Glyptotheque of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Zagreb, an exhibition named Ivan Meštrović – telesnost in erotika v kiparstvu is presented to the Slovenian audience in Cankarjev dom in Ljubljana. More than fifty works, sculptures and drawings from private and public Croatian collections were gathered for the exhibition.
Within the exhibition, Meštrović’s output is viewed through the prism of significance of the nude body and erotic readings, and the theme development can be followed in sculptures and drawings from the period between 1903 and 1946. According to the motif, as well as the period, the subject of nudity and eroticism in the works of Ivan Meštrović can be viewed through three readings, intertwined with the exhibition narrative.
The unit called Uneasiness in the Body (Dalibor Prančević) encompasses a wide time contingent of the first two decades of the 20th century, and includes works with various issues of nudity, aesthetics of the ugly and affirmation of the other. Chapter Between Two Eroses and Two Aphrodites (Barbara Vujanović) deals with the works of Meštrović’s so-called Zagreb period, as well as earlier and later periods, from which it is possible to read the closeness to the ancient concept of the body, in accordance with the contemporary tendencies of European neoclassicism and other stylistic tendencies. The third unit, Conflagration of the Senses (Zorana Jurić Šabić), approaches the topic from a biographical perspective and observes the female nudes (sculptures and drawings) from the 1920s. This part of Meštrović’s output is saturated with intimate details and can be substantively interpreted by knowing the specific circumstances and emotional turmoil in which the artist was, thusly revealing his personal perception of sexuality.
It is an indisputable fact that throughout his prolific artistic career Meštrović masterfully chiselled some of the finest female nudes of twentieth-century sculpture, figures that stand as ultimate expressions of his luscious Mediterranean sensuality. Considering the sculptor from a contemporary angle and unburdened by his fame, three younger Croatian art historians have explored the subjects of corporeality and eroticism in the works of Ivan Meštrović. Their valuable insight is a meaningful contribution to the scientific study of this subject as Meštrović’s output has rarely been approached from the perspective of nudity and its erotic readings. The treatises explore various formal and iconological aspects of Meštrović’s nudes, both male and female, examining multiple connotations of the naked body and erotic elements of sculptures as well as drawings made over a longer period of time; from the artist’s student days in Vienna until the post-WWII era (between 1903 and 1946).
(Nina Pirnat Spahić, from the foreword of the exhibition catalogue)