Integral View of Art and Integrity of the Artist

artist Ivan Picelj
written by Ješa Denegri


When an artistic oeuvre has grown, developed and spread over half a century, as is the case with the oeuvre of Ivan Picelj, figuring on the Croatian art scene ever since the early fifties, the creator of such an oeuvre is a person who was bound to find himself, as he indeed did, in the center of several historical artistic events in his cultural milieu. Picelj’s activist roles in our art scene reach back to an earlier age: he was a member of EXAT-51, a group that he helped found; he signed the Manifesto of December 1951 and participated in Kristl-Picelj-Rašica-Srnec, the first exhibition of abstract painting in Zagreb, held in March 1953. He took part in the organization and presentation of the international movement called New Tendencies and the series of exhibitions of that movement in Zagreb in the sixties. After that, through many initiatives, contacts and mediations be managed to bring his country closer to his favorite European circles and events. During the entire period, in parallel with his public roles, Picelj engaged in his own personal artistic pursuits, increasing his oeuvre as an artist (painter, draftsman, modeler) and a graphic designer, opening numerous concrete issues, and the answers provided by practice itself greatly changed the idea of art, the figure of the artist and the methods of artistic activity in his cultural environment.