Pondering the Substance

author Marija Ujević Galetović
interviewed by Vera Grimmer, Iva Körbler


Interviewed in Zagreb on 15 December 2015


For a prominent Croatian contemporary sculptor and painter, academician Marija Ujević Galetović, year 2016 has been very dynamic and intensive when it comes to work. Her unique style and morphology she has brought into Croatian sculpture are equally fascinating for all generations of art historians, curators, fellow artists and architects, as well as art collectors. Although prone to modernist reduction of form, Marija Ujević has never abstained from the emotional layer of a work, a humorous and witty portrait sculpture, and, in the domestic space of religious and architectural sculpture, she has equally maximally raised the bar of aesthetic refinement and genuine spirituality. This summer in Zagreb, as part of the events at the Scena Amadeo, on the premises of the Croatian Natural History Museum, she had an exhibition of sculptures and paintings, simultaneously with the exhibition on the premises of the Lovinac Culture Centre. Also, she has recently completed a new door for the cathedral in Požega, a huge relief titled, The Golden Gate of Heaven. In September, at the Vienna International Art Fair, she represented the recent Croatian art in the selection of several artists of Zagreb Gallery Kranjčar, where she received outstanding reviews. She is currently working on the concept of a memorial to Croatian philosopher, poet and politician Vlado Gotovac.


ORIS — Marija Ujević is a sculptor with hundred faces, to quote Šimat Banov. Indeed, your work is not predictable in terms of creating some style, but this range is very wide. You leave sculpture to deal with painting, where we find all over techniques and Matissian-, Magrittian-like elements.


Marija Ujević Galetović — There are always two alternating poles, romanticism and classicism, as cold and warm. The time in which I worked was constantly changing and, logically, I changed as well. Do not blame me for being so inquisitive. You rebuke me when I repeat the same thought, the same sentence. To repeat the same way of expression was very modern at some point because it functioned as the persuasiveness of work, but what was actually changing was life, styles changed. Less is not always more! The first works were somehow cubist, the impact of the Academy was felt, and it went further, to pop art. For me, it is extremely boring to do the same work. It is altogether one, my same family, my own capabilities. I do not think I would embark on an adventure in the sense of negation of the existing. It is logical that one changes, and I do not know how to copy myself. Change is wonderful. I am bored by the sameness. There is a wonderful Verdi’s quote: Why do we change? Out of sheer boredom. Listen, Boito, I have learned what a true demon is, what is actually the secret behind all arts. The secret of art is boredom. Boredom? asks Boito. Yes, by natural law, all actions become boring. It is necessary to find new ones by trickery. It is the entire aesthetic improvement.