IMAGES Journal for Visual Studies

events: Visual studies today: The power of images


Blaženka Perica
Some Aspects of Abstraction in Works of Young Artists in Croatia: Between Index and Opacity

Beside the fact that David Joselit has described the current state of affairs in painting with the well-accepted sentence "The painting is beside itself", and despite the inter- and "non-disciplinarity" as an approach to images and art in general – a more specific question arises pertaining to the medium of painting, especially abstract painting. A lot of young artists who have recently graduated from the art academies in Croatia (Zagreb, Split, Osijek), in their most recent works, show openness to abstraction. Their works can be described as abstract expressionism, as well as ("pure" or "mixed") practices which include interest for colour field painting, ornamentality, hard edge, geometry or structured surfaces, mostly using traditional way of (manual) technics of painting, drawings or graphics. They did not constitute common statements, groups or manifestos, but work and articulate their interests very individually. Rather than to show a return to the modernist tradition or to make up a clearly new determined concept of work, these artists are interested in the artificial production of images – "literary paintings" – where abstraction appeals as a familiar subject matter for the expression of the "hyper-mediatized society". It is less a tendency to theoretical transparency, but more a sense and sensibility for the opacity. Therefore, it is reasonable to try to answer questions that W.J.T. Mitchell posed some time ago: "What are the current possibilities for abstract painting at the end of the postmodern era?" and "Who are the continuators of abstraction in the last twenty five years? Do they add up to a sustaining alternative tradition, or are the contradictions among them so fundamental that their common look of abstraction is quite misleading?" Linking these issues with some new approaches, the aim of the paper is to analyze some current phenomena in the art practice in Croatia.