INTERINSTITUTIONAL PROJECT | Monument – Drago Tršar
25 April 2017 — 03 June 2018
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Monument of the Revolution, 1975, Ljubljana (Republic Square), © Dejan Habicht, 2017, Moderna galerija

In the name of the project partners you are kindly invited to attend the opening of Drago Tršar’s exhibition at the Gallery Murska Sobota in Murska Sobota on Thursday, 8 March 2017, at 6 p.m. 

 

More on the website of Murska Sobota Gallery.

Invitation [PDF]

 

 

Unquestionably one of the main and most prolific representatives of modernism in Slovenia, Drago Tršar is celebrating his 90th birthday on 27 April this year. In collaboration with six other public institutions, Moderna galerija has conceived a project in the form of a series of retrospective and themed survey exhibitions across Slovenia, between April 2017 and mid-2018, in a tribute to the artist’s exceptional and exceptionally wide-ranging oeuvre. The project, entitled MONUMENT - DRAGO TRŠAR, includes monumental sculpture, public sculptures and monuments, small-scale sculpture, various series, e.g. erotic works and portraits, as well as works on Japanese paper, paintings, marine motifs and more – all the many threads that make up the artist’s oeuvre. The so-called year of Drago Tršar opens with a retrospective exhibition at the Gallery of the Prešeren Fine Arts Award Winners in Kranj, on Tršar’s birthday, and will then continue at different venues through the second half of 2018. In addition to the Gallery of the Prešeren Fine Arts Award Winners in Kranj, the other institutions that have joined Moderna galerija in the project are the Coastal Galleries Piran, the City Art Gallery Ljubljana (Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana), the Murska Sobota Gallery, the Art Gallery Slovenj Gradec, and the Božidar Jakac Art Museum in Kostanjevica na Krki. Each of the institutions will determine the exact dates and contents of their shows later in the process; and each exhibition will be accompanied by a bilingual publication. As the year of Tršar winds down, all of the publications will be compiled into a whole to wrap up the project. More than just a tribute to Drago Tršar, the project aims to present an unprecedented, comprehensive overview of the artist’s oeuvre to date to as wide an audience as possible. The project will be realized in close collaboration with the artist and his family. The project is led by Moderna galerija curator, Marko Jenko, PhD, in collaboration with the curators from the other institutions involved.

 

 

About the artist and his work:

Drago Tršar was born in 1927 in Planina pri Rakeku. After finishing secondary school in Rakek, he attended an evening class in drawing led by France Gorše in 1944 and 1945, after which time he spent eight months working and studying in the studio of Boris Kalin. After the liberation, he enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana, graduating in sculpture in 1951 under professors Boris Kalin, Zdenko Kalin, Karel Putrih and Peter Loboda. In 1951 and 1952 he pursued postgraduate studies in sculpture under Frančišek Smerdu. Between 1951 and 1959 he worked as a freelance artist. This was the time of his first commissions for public sculptures and monuments, which abound in his body of work. Between 1953 and 1955 he was a member of Group 53. He traveled to Paris, to Italy on a Prešeren Foundation grant (1956-1957), to Egypt in 1957, and to the Netherlands and Belgium. His 1957 work Manifestants still stands in Middelheim Park, which is part of the Middelheim Museum in Antwerp. Later he made study trips also to the Soviet Union, Germany, and again Italy. In 1956, he was invited to the World Exposition in Paris. In 1958, his work was featured at the Venice Biennale, and in 1959 at Documenta in Kassel. In 1960, he took the post of Assistant Professor for sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana, becoming Associate Professor in 1967, and Professor in 1974. He was also a member of Group 69. In the 1960s he participated in various sculpture symposia, e.g. in Seča, Aranđelovec and Danilovgrad. He has received numerous awards, including the Sculpture Award at the 1st Mediterranean Biennial in Alexandria in 1955, the Prešeren Foundation Award in 1968, the Rihard Jakopič Award in 1972, and the Prešeren Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990. In 1991, he became a corresponding member of the Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts and in 1995 a full member.

 

It is no exaggeration to describe Drago Tršar’s oeuvre as exceptional, both in terms of the sheer number of works and their great variety; in addition to sculpture, his work extends from drawing, painting, set design and printmaking to ceramics, tapestry, book design and more. It also testifies to the artist’s industrious nature, which keeps him going to this day. His exhibition history, too, is exceptional and includes many international successes. Linked to this is the mark he left on the public space in Slovenia, Yugoslavia, and internationally with his public sculptures and monuments. In 1967, ten years after he had developed his “crowd or mass compositions”, came one of the watershed events in his life: the Guggenheim Museum in New York included his Manifestants in a representative exhibition of sculpture worldwide. He exhibited internationally also at survey exhibitions of Yugoslav art. Art critics and theorists often point to Tršar as the most important representative of sculpture of his generation, especially in light of his departure from the full or traditional rendition of the human figure, which gradually became increasingly stylized, as can be seen from Janica (1953), and then evolved into compositions of figures, or rather, crowds and masses that became increasingly abstract over time. The most imposing example of such figurative compositions is Tršar’s best-known work: Monument of the Revolution in Revolution Square in Ljubljana. The underlying experience is one that also deserves consideration in the present day. In 1975, after the unveiling of the monument, Tršar described his work in an interview thus: “I saw the revolution, I took part in many volunteer work brigades, and it has left a stamp […]. A crowd is always something positive in my eyes, I always seek only positive things in it. I couldn’t have expressed the time, this movement with a single figure.” Tršar’s thoughts, expressed visually or in words, whether they refer to the field of art or further afield, reveal far more than just the time and place in which they emerged, i.e. 20th century Slovenia and well beyond. For they reveal something of the dilemmas of our time – dilemmas that in fact date back decades. Which brings us back to one of the central aims of the project at hand: to reveal something of the time and space in art, not just around it – through Tršar’s work, words, and views, past and present.

 

Head of Project:

 

Partnering institutions:

Galerija Božidar Jakac Kostanjevica na Krki / Art Museum Božidar Jakac, Galerija Murska Sobota / Gallery of Murska Sobota, Galerija Prešernovih nagrajencev za likovno umetnost Kranj / The Prešeren Award Winners of Fine Arts Gallery Kranj, Koroška galerija likovnih umetnosti / Koroška Gallery of Fine Arts Slovenj Gradec, Mestna galerija Ljubljana, Muzej in galerije mesta Ljubljane / City Art Gallery of Ljubljana, Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana, Obalne galerije Piran / Coastal Galleries Piran

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The project is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia.