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Visnja Markovinovic

Born on 20 June 1930 in Zagreb.

In 1955 graduated from the Academy of Applied Arts in Zagreb in the class of Professor Ernest Tomasevic.
From 1961 to 1977 lived and worked in London. Study trips to Italy, France, the Netherlands and Spain.
Since 1977 lived and worked in Zagreb.
Her works are in England, Canada, Poland, Austria and Croatia.
Many solo and group exhibitions in England, Croatia and abroad.


Vlaska 102a
10000 Zagreb
e-mail: visnja.markovinovic@gmail.com

Elena Cvetkova: Visnja Markovinovic - to the retrospective exhibition 2000
Translation: Nikolina Jovanovic

This retrospective exhibition of Visnja Markovinovic’s art is being mounted forty years after she first exhibited in the Ulrich Gallery in Zagreb. In the fullness of her creative strength, the artist has accepted this presentation more as a summary of her work to date than as a starting point for the final appraisal of her role in Croatian art. Nevertheless, this recapitulation is sufficiently broad to show her importance as an artist: in scope of metier, in strength of communication with the public, in self-denying originality. In the eyes of most of the public and critics Visnja Markovinovic is a very prominent ceramic artist and people often forget that she has worked in a great variety of techniques and convincingly proved herself in painting and drawing, as well. A more careful look at her work shows that it hinges on the “discipline of the schooled hand”, the drawing, which is the result both of talent and an education that started in her childhood. Essential for Markovinovic’s artistic development is that she enrolled, and in 1955 successfully graduated from, the Academy of Applied Arts in Zagreb. The innovative methods used in this Academy revolutionarised art studies in Croatia and soon showed their effect on overall art life in the country. Markovinovic had her first independent exhibition in 1960 (with Visnja Jelacic), exhibiting at the Ulrich Gallery monotypes memorable for their high art quality. Devoted to figuration, in these works the young artist fragmented the motif (predominantly the human figure) into its basic components, which she then combined in interesting and inventively balanced compositions. These early works already revealed the fundamental characteristics of her art: an inclination to experimentation, a critical and demanding approach. Despite the good reception of her first exhibition, in the following year, 1961, Markovinovic went to London with the intention of staying there for an extended period of time. Her decision was encouraged by circumstances on the art scene in Zagreb and by the situation in the English capital, which had in those years become the Old Continent’s leading art centre closely linked with New York, whose strength as the leading world art centre was daily growing stronger. What the artist says about those years is interesting: “In 1961 the art scene in London seemed like calm water which might at any moment spout into a waterfall. Everything was tense with new exciting current, novelty in technique and expression, peak art acrobatics and quips. It was fascinating…” Markovinovic enumerates the artist, exhibitions and art movements that made a strong impression on her. For example pop art and hyper-realism had a decisive impact. Although she did not adopt these approaches in the literal sense, they stimulated and liberated her. During the sixteen years she spent in London the artist created a large number of paintings, taught in art workshops and had many exhibitions. In the first years she continued to make monotypes, which were very well received in London, and later she also made her name as an excellent portrait artist. All the time she drew a lot, taking motifs from imagination. Still, it is very difficult to reconstruct this period because a great number of works were bought and remained in London (and in England). This retrospective includes some of the paintings inspired by London parks and gardens, preceded by many drawings “made on the spot”, and study-drawings for these paintings. They were made between 1969 and 1971 and are a synthesis of how Markovinovic viewed new developments in art, especially in painting. The artist returned to Croatia in 1977 bur she did not begin to show until 1983. In that year she mounted an exhibition of portraits in the Josip Racic Gallery. This was a new beginning, and the predominantly positive reviews show that the old/new environment recognised her as an artist. The portraits were distinctive and rendered in an hyper-realism realistic style, however, she did not use photographs for studies, like other realists, but instead made drawings. It is interesting that she stopped painting portraits soon after that and ceramics strongly engaged her sensibilities as an artist.

19.06.2024 - 13:02