GORAN FRUK Over and Beyond
Curator: Branko Franceschi

5 June – 1 July 2018

At his first solo exhibition in Split, Goran Fruk’s oeuvre is presented with paintings he created between 1987 and 1992 that established, together with his performances and installations, his status as one of the most original and talented artists of his generation as well as representatives of visual arts in Croatia in the 1980s. In the context of pluralism of the early post-modernist period and post-conceptual art practice, Fruk’s painting embodied a critical dialogue and a successful effort at synthesizing contrasting aesthetic theories that defined visual arts in the second half of the 20th century. His paintings represented a true compendium of painting procedures by the post-war generation of painters inspired by Existentialist worldview, namely Abstract Expressionists and representatives of Colour Field Painting in the American art scene, i.e. representatives of the European Art Informel who became prominent for their research of unorthodox materials and technologies of execution. In Fruk’s work, the expressive gesture and refined sense for synthesizing the classical painterly with non-artistic materials which characterized the visual arts of post-war modernism, were combined with an investigation of the physical boundaries of painting as an ultimate art object that was set forth as a primary task of artistic practice by the neo-avant-garde generation, and especially, the conceptual artists. Deconstruction of the painting was the predominant theme of Fruk’s final series. He adopted the method of cutting the canvas as a surface upon which the painting is constructed from the principles of Spacialism inaugurated in 1947 by Lucio Fontana. As opposed to the high aestheticism of Fontana’s procedure of cutting and piercing the canvas, Fruk’s process was aimed at abolishing the traditional understanding and limitations of painting as a physical manifestation of the artist’s vision. Fruk’s vision of the artwork connected the painted surface of the canvas solely as a field of the artist’s activity with physical components of the painting such as its blind frame and the space behind the painting, which he opened to the eye by cutting larger and smaller areas of canvas into sections that became an integral part of the composition. Fruk would expand this method in two directions. The first took him in the direction of the painterly installation in studies based on the Fibonacci sequence, and the second towards the inclusion of unpredictable factors like the influence of weather conditions on painted canvases. Fruk’s dialogue with the medium of painting ended suddenly and tragically in 1993.

The artist’s family donated three paintings to the Museum of Fine Arts thus providing an incentive for this exhibition.

Goran Fruk (Zagreb, 1959 – 1993) painter, poet and mountaineer. He enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts having completed his studies of comparative literature and art history at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb. From 1987 onwards, he exhibited at various solo and group exhibitions.