House of Marin Držić To Host Davor Vrankić Exhibition

Lauren Simmonds

Art lover?

A solo exhibition by the internationally renowned painter and graphic artist Davor Vrankić will be opened on Tuesday, the 14th of August, 2018, at 20:30 at the House of Marin Držić.

Following this year’s several exhibitions in Bruxelles, Paris and New York, and before his big exhibition taking place at the Zagreb Museum of Contemporary Art in 2019, this fascinating artist, who was born in Osijek and has been living in Paris, is bringing his exhibition ‘On ugliness – Držić’s grotesque’ to the House of Marin Držić, which is scheduled to open on the aforementioned date.

The works for this year’s central exhibition at Držić’s home were selected from several series’ from Vrankić: High noon, True Self Portraits, Don’t Worry, Tomorrow is Another Day, Spinning Company and L’observateur.

Davor Vrankić is an internationally renowned artist with Croatian and French citizenship who has been living and working in Paris for more than twenty years. His works can be found in MOMA (New York), but also in the collections of some of today’s most notable art collectors such as Ronald S. Lauder, Georges Renand, and Rosenthal, as well as in the Overholland collection.

The last time he held a solo exhibition in Croatia was in 2010 at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rijeka, and that same exhibition had been previously held in 2009 in Zagreb and his hometown, Osijek. He has recently been awarded the well-deserved Prize of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts at the 5th Croatian Drawings Triennial covering the following topics ‘Intimate small-format drawings’ and ‘Miroslav Kraljević and Croatian contemporary artists’ for his eight drawings named Collateral (pencil on paper), made between 2016 and 2018. In the meantime,

Davor Vrankić has exhibited his work in Rijeka, Osijek and Zagreb in group exhibitions.

Here is an excerpt from the preface to the catalogue written by the art historian Anita Ruso: ‘’The works by Davor Vrankić are resistant to categories. The artist with Croatian and French citizenship relies solely on his pencil and imagination, both personal and collective, from which emerges his surprising artistic universe. There is no template. No sketch. Minimal use of eraser. It is completely unnecessary to compare Vrankić to anybody, not even to the great masters of Northern Renaissance Art (Grünewald, Boch, Brugel, Artdorfer), with whom he has been sometimes compared for similar deformations of their characters and horror vacui which is highlighted in some of his series to the extent that it causes a claustrophobic feeling…

The exhibition On ugliness – Držić’s grotesque by painter and graphic artist Davor Vrankić consists of drawings which are not images of the real world and something inside them is irresistibly grotesque and ugly. They do not create a comic effect; on the contrary, they mostly evoke a sense of discomfort and even terror… Is Vrankić drawing his ideas from the ancient world or perhaps the medieval one – from Paris gargoyles, i.e. famous gargouilles – for his grotesque drawings that are so irresistibly reminiscent of Držić’s description of the false people as well as of his many protagonists and supporting characters? A rugged depiction, that artist uses directly as one of the methods of building his characters without a shade of embellishment, is what contributes to the impression of the grotesque and ugliness.

One of the scariest drawings at Vrankić’s exhibition in Dubrovnik is Asphyxia from 2006. For the observer, it causes double anxiety and a feeling of tightness in the stomach: beside the fact that the monster is horribly ugly being in its impossible pose and keeping a grimace of a smile, it is also tragic for being trapped in time and space.Gregor Samsa has been transformed again, but this time into a weird, pointless monster. The grimace of the lips is not a grimace that makes you laugh, but the one that makes you terrified, and the look is a deeply shocking indication of the tragic absurdity in which Vrankić imprisoned his character.

Here indeed are true wise words that Držić places in the mouth of Tripcheta in Uncle Maroye (Dundo Maroje): ‘They say: he who is a beast will die a beast.’ You can rest assured that this will be the scariest exhibition you have ever seen.”

Davor Vrankić was born in 1965 in Osijek. He graduated in Graphic Arts from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in the class of Ante Kuduz, and then from the Faculté des Arts Plastiques in Paris, where he has been living and working with his wife Silvija Vrankić.

For the past two decades he has been living in Paris, New York and Zagreb, and continuously exploring many possibilities of the graphite lead pencil. He is one of the most famous Croatian artists in the world whose works can be found in the collections of today’s most prestigious museums and art collectors.


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