Ties that Bind. Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb and Slovenian Artists Between the Two Wars

10. 09. 2021 – 13. 02. 2022

The exhibition Ties that Bind. Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb and Slovenian Artists Between the Two Wars presents artist who studied in Zagreb and their works prior to World War II. The exhibition represents the influences, ties and cooperation between Slovenian and Croatian artists and addresses certain central artistic and social questions that were explored during that period – from national artistic expression to socially engaged art.

In the period between the two wars Zagreb was a bustling metropolis, a cultural and educational centre with the only Academy of Fine Arts in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The Academy was established in 1907 and led by Ivan Meštrović between 1923 to 1944. A lot of the students came to study in Zagreb from other parts of the Kingdom, including almost one hundred Slovenian artists (for example Zoran Mušič, Gabrijel Stupica, Zoran Didek, France Mihelič, Miha Maleš, France Gorše, Nikolaj Pirnat, Marij Pregelj, Maksim Sedej, Mira Pregelj, Frančišek Smerdu, Boris and Zdenko Kalin, Bara Remec and many others). Many left a mark on Slovenian art and culture as painters, sculptors, set designers, art educators, cultural workers, theoreticians and, eventually, professors at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana, which was established in 1945. Long-term friendships were formed between the artists that emerged from the Zagreb Academy, former professors and students became colleagues, former schoolmates became co-workers, artists exhibited and cooperated in associations, they sat on committees together and together they shaped 20th Century art.

The exhibition showcases over 130 paintings, sculptures and graphic prints by the most renown Slovenian artists as well as vast archive material from their time spent at the academy. Some works had already been exhibited together before the war, while others are on display in Slovenia for the very first time. The artworks by Slovenian artists are presented together with the works of their Croatian colleagues Antun Motika, Oton Postružnik, Marijan Detoni, Fran Šimunović, Slavko Kopač and professors Ljubo Babić, Vladimir Becić, Ivan Meštrović, Krsto Hegedušić, Marino Tartaglia and others.

The exhibition emerged in cooperation between three Slovenian and Croatian institutions (Galerija Božidar Jakac, Kostanjevica na Krki, National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb and Academy of Fine Arts, Zagreb).

Curators: dr. Asta Vrečko, Dajana Vlaisavljević.

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