Zrinka Barbarić, The Monograph

The 2024 artistic exhibition program at the Kravata Gallery in Jelsa opens with an exhibition by young Split artist Zrinka Barbarić titled “The Monograph.” We are pleased to invite you to the opening of this exhibition on Tuesday, June 11, 2024, at 9 PM.

The artistic oeuvre of Zrinka Barbarić is crucially defined by introspection into the processes of birth and death, whereby death does not necessarily indicate a final end, but rather a new beginning. The duality of these concepts and the perception of diametrically opposite extremes represent a circle in which the artist conceptualizes the natural stages of life while provoking her own reactions to destructive creative processes. Here, destruction or death has a completely new context because it performs the function of creation, that is, the birth of a new object that implicitly problematizes the entire flow of thought in which these two united opposites move. As the active creator of an entire concept in which her only mission is to survive loss, the artist rejects her previous role of a passive observer, narrator, or interpreter, and starts to fully participate in the process of transformation to see what the lived emotional experience will bring, but it brings nothing. What comes after the loss is recurrent birth, because the being goes on living while the destroyed matter is transformed into artistic material yielding new conceptual forms.

The Monograph is an installation in the form of a book, created by the combustion of Zrinka Barbarić’s many years of artistic work. It is woven from 46 grey sheets created by pressing the dust and ashes of burnt paintings, drawings, and collages; a cover that represents an integral whole and depicts the importance of the book’s contents with its complexity and layering; and an inseparable part of 80 studies on hydrophilic gauze that bear witness to the process of creation of the mosaic on the book cover. Years of formal education yielded countless works of art that were destroyed here in a symbolic act of burning due to the mission to survive loss. The remaining material has been brought to the gallery space in the form of a book as a conceptual form that focuses on the content rather than the empty shell. Achromatic matter in the form of a 92-page book dominating the installation may symbolically allude, with its colour, to progressive loss and the nearness of the inevitable end, but the artist’s work continues to exist through the book form in which the essence remains whole, while the process of creative transformation results in something completely new and pragmatic. By making the book pages out of ashes, I have truly made that book from my artworks.

The cover of The Monograph, as an integral part of the art installation, delves deeply into the earliest research phases of Zrinka Barbarić’s art. The mosaic, in which the artistic and technical means consist of insects, reptiles, flowers, and rodents, shows geometric and freeform figures that subtly interpret the theme of departure and return with their conglomerate interweaving. The cover of the book is also a kind of homage to childhood, in which the artist plunges into the deepest pores of her artistic beginnings, when she created drawings, paintings, and spatial compositions using organic materials found in nature. Her examination of this process and her way of visualizing the artistic language is best reflected in the sketches that the artist brings on gauze. In them, she elaborates on the phenomenon in which non-living insects, through metamorphosis, acquire anthropomorphic forms, floral forms become zoomorphic, and vice versa, thereby closing the circle between life and death in which the end is given a new beginning.

Zrinka Barbarić (b. 1985 in Split) graduated in painting in 2009 from the Art Academy in Split, in the class of Professor Gorki Žuvela. She has exhibited at several solo and group exhibitions. In 2015, she participated in an artist residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, and in 2016, in a summer school organized by KONTEJNER > Bureau of Contemporary Art Practice and Cultivamos Cultura from Portugal on the island of Čiovo. She is currently employed at the School of Fine Arts in Split, where she teaches specialized subjects. Solo exhibitions in which she has participated include: Premiere 10, Loggia of the Public Open University, Split, 2008; Portrait of an Impostor (Once Upon a Time, Maybe Not…), Salon Galić, Split, 2010; Readings, Omiš City Museum, 2011; Portrait of an Impostor (Once Upon a Time, Maybe Not…), St Chrysogonus Gallery, Šibenik, 2011; Readings, Villa Rosina, Split, 2011; Service, Vladimir Nazor Gallery, Zagreb, 2015; Metamorphosis, Lauba, Zagreb, 2015; Arrangement, Pogon Jedinstvo, Zagreb, 2016; Mother, Museum of Fine Arts, Split, 2017; For Dust You Are and to Dust You Shall Return, Škola Gallery, Split, 2019; and Creation of Perunika x Jure Perišić, www.creationofperunika.com, 2020.

Dominik Duboković, exhibition curator

Photo credits: Ashley Ward

Graphic design: Nikola Križanac

Translation: Marina Schumann