Homage to Tisnikar. Collection of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Koroška
6. 7.—1. 10., Gallery of Contemporary Art

The life of Jože Tisnikar ended in 1998 in a tragic road accident, right at the time when he achieved the greatest triumph of his art with a large retrospective exhibition for his 70th birthday in the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Koroška (KGLU) in Slovenj Gradec. The original, unrepeatable and inimitable artistic story about his bitter quest for the ultimate truths of human existence, however, remains an endless source of inspiration for creating new projects focused on one of the central collections of the Slovenj Gradec Museum, entitled Homage to Tisnikar, which was conceived by the former director of the KGLU Milena Zlatar. To commemorate the great painter, the collection combines the works of Slovenian and foreign artists who share similar artistic poetics.

The Museum houses a selection of works from all of the artist’s creative periods, thus vividly illustrating Tisnikar’s development and the recognizable themes of his painting. In 2001 KGLU prepared a large exhibition for the Zittadella Spandau Gallery in Berlin, in which Tisnikar’s works were engaged in an exciting dialogue with the sculptural works of Mirsad Begić (1953). The mutual complementation between the existential sculptures of Begić and the works of the painter was so stirring it encouraged the creation of the permanent collection Homage to Tisnikar.

Milena Zlatar first connected the creative mythology of both artists with the painting realm of Zdenko Huzjan (1948). Another artist whose works come close to the “Tisnikarian” questioning and awareness of the transience of human existence is the painter Valentin Oman (1935). In 2004, the Museum acquired a print portfolio by the painter and graphic artist Zoran Mušič (1909 – 2005), whose motifs from the cycle We are Not the Last fit into the Tisnikarian context remarkably. Tisnikar’s friend from Slovenj Gradec, and from the eighties onwards his colleague, Bogdan Borčić (1926 – 2014) also created his own Dachau cycle of painting, albeit relatively late, as well as several works that were made “in memoriam” immediately after Tisnikar’s tragic death.

Like a magnet, Tisnikar’s photogenic appearance excited numerous photographers, Tihomir Pinter (1938) made, among many others, also his last portrait before tragic death in 1998, but in particular it was Dragiša Modrinjak (1935 – 2011) from Maribor, who accompanied him with series of portraits through decades of their friendship. Herman Pivk (1963) “discovered” Tisnikar already during his student years and later, with skilful photographic interpretation, frequently created suggestive images depicting the awareness of transience. The sculptor Metod Frlic (1965) also paid tribute to the painter with a phantasmagorical portrait depiction. At the great exhibition in Slovenj Gradec, another photographer to get to know Tisnikar’s work closely was Roberto Kusterle (1948) from Gorica, who then contributed his own “homage”, a photographic diptych that represents a significant addition to the collection.

Within the context of the city of Slovenj Gradec cooperating in the project European Capital of Culture Maribor 2012, the KGLU organized the prominent exhibition Angels of the Apocalypse, in which selected Tisnikar’s images were put in dialogue with the large-scale paintings of the Serbian painter Vladimir Veličković (1935 – 2019) who lived and worked in Paris, and whose prints were then also incorporated into the collection.

The collection Homage to Tisnikar continues to offer formal and substantial starting points for the creation of new projects that refer to the subject of so-called expressive figurative art, such as the exhibition project Memento (2016) including works by Hermann Falke (1933 – 1986). Furthermore, the collection is constantly enriched with new works, not only by Jože Tisnikar and his colleagues or contemporaries, but also the works by artists of the younger generation, such as Natalija Šeruga Golob (1971), Matej Čepin (1977), Tina Dobrajc (1984).

 

Production: Koroška galerija likovnih umetnosti, Zavod Celeia Celje − Center sodobnih umetnosti
Exhibition curator: Marko Košan
Text: Marko Košan
Supported by: Mestna občina Celje, Mestna občina Slovenj Gradec, Ministrstvo za kulturo RS

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