Curator, author of the exhibition display and video
Andro Krstulović Opara
Exhibition display co-author
Authors of the essays
Andro Krstulović Opara
Author of the photographs
Video filmed and edited by
An Artist at Meštrović’s:
Marija Ujević Galetović
July 17 – September 14, 2014
The Meštrović Gallery, Split
Renowned artist Marija Ujević Galetović, an academic sculptor and a retired professor of the Academy of Fine Arts, a regular member of HAZU, exhibits her sculpture and painting works at the Meštrović Gallery in Split. The exhibition Marija Ujević Galetović at Meštrović’s was organized as part of the 60th Split Summer.
After previous successful exhibitions of Zlatko Bourek in 2010 and Matko Trebotić in 2011, Dalibor Stošić in 2012 and Vasko Lipovac in 2013, this year the Meštrović Gallery continues with the cycle Artist at Meštrović’s by displaying works of Croatian sculptors who establish a kind of a dialogue in the museum of a sculptor, Ivan Meštrović, testing their opus with Meštrović’s aesthetics and at the same time exposing the preoccupations of contemporary sculpture in the context of the present to the public.
Once again the garden of the Meštrović Gallery became the meeting place for two arts whose concordances blend in a miraculous playfulness of shapes, shadows, reflections … This anticipated joy that arises through dialogue of the two arts was an incentive for this challenging project.
The significance of this exhibition also lies in the fact that this is the first solo exhibition of Marija Ujević Galetović before the Split audience. The complex task of recognizing and facilitating the dialogue between the art of two artists, and especially between the restrained academic excellence of Meštrović’s work and the playful and witty art of Marija Ujević Galetović, is the biggest challenge for the curator, as well as for the visitors who are offered a critical approach and analysis of the demanding setting in the Garden of the Gallery and Meštrović’s Clay Modelling Studio.
The slimness and elegance of her Cats corresponds to Meštrović’s elongated columns and gracefulness of Distant Chords. The voluminosity of acts, such as Avocado or Act – dancer and Marija’s wittiness that is so expressly retained in them, fit perfectly into the company of Meštrović’s Persephone. The monumentality of the Wave, the largest exposed composition in the central plateau of the garden, is especially manifested by gradually raising the point of view of spectators who are climbing the front staircase when a beautiful view of the garden and on the grid of the main staircase in the background of the Wave opens. The fragile porcelain Franz Kafka and exquisitely evocative bronze portrait of Matoš testify of her skill of modelling in a variety of materials, but even more about the artist’s preoccupations and the subtleties that adorns her work.
Her paintings are particularly interesting because she took up painting only recently. She depicts the sea in three of her paintings, and does not attempt to confront it, but rather approaches it with great respect, again as a result of her experiences in the open sea where she spent almost half of her life. It is no wonder that, finishing the work on her Self-portrait in glittering carrara, she borrowed two dark pebbles that rested on the beach and inserted them as eyes in her character. Marija painted her sea motifs in Zagreb, far from the sea, but the wavy sea surface and the deep blue that she brought to the canvas were vigorously preserved in her eyes from the sea.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue designed by Viktor Popović, and the person behind the master photographs is the art photographer Zoran Alajbeg. The texts were written by art historians Vesna Bulić and Andro Krstulović Opara, who is the author and producer of the film that forms an integral part of the exhibition, and which presents the work of Marija Ujević Galetović, as well as the creation of this exhibition. The cameraman and editor of the film is Milan Latković, award-winning designer of visual communications from Kreativna agencija.