The Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb
Volumen: catalogue of the Collection and chronology of Exhibitions. Zagreb, Museum of Contemporary Art, 2008
editor: Snježana Pintarić
736 p., ill.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb has just published the catalogue of the Museum's Collection, titled Volumen. This comprehensive, bilingual (Croatian / English), richly illustrated book (736 p., 308 ill.) lists the entire Museum holdings, featuring a representative selection of reproductions. In the catalogue the authors are presented in alphabetical order and the works in chronological order. It also contains a chronology of exhibitions from 1955 to 2006.
The collections of the Zagreb Museum of Contemporary Art contain more than four thousand works by Croatian and international artists in different media, divided in Collections of painting, sculpture, film and video, photography, media art and drawing, posters and works on paper.
Volumen makes the Museum Collection accessible to domestic and international public even before the opening of the new museum building in the spring of 2009.
The holdings comprise the total of nine hundred artists, 60 per cent international and 40 per cent Croatian. The collected works of art were mostly created after 1950, although the Museum also posesses works from the beginning of the 20th century. As one of the earliest works we would like to single out the abstract collage Pafama from 1922, by the painter and architect Josip Seissel, the artwork that has become the Museum's trademark, while Frames (2004) - a joint work by Ivana Franke, Petar Mišković, Lea Pelivan, and Toma Plejić exhibited at the Venice Biennale of Architecture - is one of the most recent works included in the Museum's holdings.
Since its foundation in 1954, the greatest part of the Museum's activities has covered monitoring, supporting, and documenting occurrences in contemporary art, as well as collecting and presenting works created in Croatia and abroad.
In addition to that, the Museum has organized exhibitions showing a logical development of particular tendencies in art, as well as their direct and indirect influences on art practice. The exhibitions have also promoted actual Croatian art production in relation to simultaneous developmental tendencies of the international visual scene.
The collection of Croatian and international art, encompassing the works created in the period from 1945 until today, documents dominant tendencies within the production of a particular historical period, but at the same time follows the development of individual life works, enables the problematization of the very notion of art, and critically revises the disciplines within the history of art. The second half of the twentieth century in an exceptionally complex period in which we encounter different occurrences, stylistic entities, currents, program groups, and major individual contributions to visual arts. Abstract expressionism, geometrical abstraction, lyrical abstraction, figuration, and semi-figuration, informal painting, minimalism, proto-conceptualism, analytic painting, primary painting, New Painting, Fluxus, Biafra, conceptual art, painted field art, monochromatism, optic art, trans-avant-garde, organic sculpture, new sculpture, marginal art, and many other notions used for labelling particular occurrences in art, have accompanied the current of contemporary art until today. The richness of expression corresponds to the variety of media represented in our collections; apart from classic media - painting, sculpture, drawing, and graphics - the Museum possesses a series of works on the verge of particular media and works that examine their essence, such as objects, ready-mades, experimental film and video, conceptual photography, photo-installations, installations, site-specific works, luminokinetic objects, multimedia installations etc. Particular collections stand out for their specific and exhaustive treatment of their thematic and stylistic complexes, as well as for their international character. An excellent example of a collection uniting these two key criteria is the collection of constructivist and kinetic art, whose basis are the works by the members of the EXAT 51 group, later joined by other Croatian representatives of the New Tendencies movement. Thanks to intensive collaboration with artists, the Museum owns one of the most comprehensive collections of this kind of art.
Volumen has been graphically designed by awarded designers Jurij Armanda and Karl Geisler from the Produkcija004 studio; its editor-in-chief is the director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Snježana Pintarić.
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