Radovan Kunić's exhibition curated by Piera Ravnikar at Ravnikar Gallery Space in Ljbljana.
Radovan Kunić: Walkabout, solo show
Curated by Piera Ravnikar
Text by Lucija Švob
February 17 — March 15, 2021
RAVNIKAR GALLERY SPACE, Ljubljana
Some scenes entice and engage us at first sight. Whether they are small, seemingly insignificant and apparently invisible, or large and striking subjects, we instantly stop and merge with what we have before our eyes, we slowly withdraw from the visual content that has enticed us and take a step back into the space of our own experience.
The mutually coordinated relationship between the content depicted, the colour and the size of the format is what immediately lures us into Radovan Kunić’s work. An everyday object, a motif from nature, a detail we usually overlook, now stands solemnly before us and steals our attention. Conquered by the motif of overgrown, fresh but untrodden grass, we approach and begin to contemplate the painting. We follow the rhythm of the gradual transition from darker and cooler to lighter and airier tones, which the artist combines with warm pinks and light and open greens. The artist has executed each blade of grass with precise and patient strokes, drawing attention to the dynamics of its movement, creating an exciting visual game. The contrast in the size, colour and position of the lines makes us focus on the surface and entertains us as we look at it, while calming the composition through the creation of patterns and their repetition, taking on a meditative character and opening up the sensory space of the painting. By surrendering to the senses, we can easily reject the pictorial elements and the composition of the image, enter an Et(h)ernity and spontaneously open the way through the exhibition Walkabout by artist Radovan Kunić.
The artworks presented in gallery space are two paintings and one installation that includes a combination of over a hundred small formats of oil on wood and video animation, which create a harmonious artistic (outer) and experiential (inner) whole. Realistically depicted objects and scenes from nature represent a part of reality that the artist conveys through impeccable drawing and exceptional knowledge of composition and colour. Using traditional painting technique, he clearly describes what he sees; candles, grass and a sculpture with their recognisable features, and then with an almost imperceptible change of rhythm or contrast of light and shadow, he creates a space in which he connects and balances the opposites, offering us the possibility of free interpretation.
The sombre tones of the upright and massive columns connected to each other like elephant legs in a mirror are in the painting Memory Guard associated with heaviness and slowness, something that has been accumulating for a long time. This is the memory and the history of the world, but also our personal histories that have accrued. The lighter tones in the background of the columns and another unfinished column provide us with a freshness in anticipation of the time to come and the history we are yet to create. A single burning candle, by the movement of the flame and the constant change of the reflected light, makes it seem as if hundreds are burning. The artist repeats the motif of the burning candle on over a hundred small panels burning in an indeterminate, darkened space. The minimal transitions of light and dark tones refer to the subtle changes that take place in life. Such changes, the nuances of brief events that occur in our inner world, are further emphasised by the video animation, located in a separate room so that we can observe them alone in the glow of the candles. Together with the composition of oil on wood, the video presents the installation by the symbolic title Chamber. All three exhibited works, both individually and as a whole, form a walkabout, a retreat from everyday life into wilderness, into a space where the rules we are used to no longer apply and where we are not confined to a time or place.
Radovan Kunić (1987) graduated sculpture at the Academy of Applied Arts in Rijeka in the class of prof. Žarko Violić in 2012. Towards the end of his university education, he discovered that most of his interests are focused on painting, which became the sole essence of his artistic practice. In the field of painting, he aspires to use figurative scenes, in order to manifest conditions around which different stories can be built, and different questions asked – of contents which do not have an everyday impact on us, but are an inevitable part of a personal identity. Radovan participated in international art residences (GLOart, Belgium; Art OMI, NY, USA; De/construction of Painting, Leipzig, Germany) and his work was displayed at numerous group and solo exhibitions. He won several awards and acknowledgments, and his works are housed in private and public collections in Croatia and abroad (Italy, USA, Belgium, UK…). Besides his work in the studio, he also teaches as an associate in the capacity of assistant professor at the Academy of Applied Arts at the University of Rijeka. He lives in Matulji.
RAVNIKAR GALLERY SPACE is a contemporary art gallery based in the heart of Slovenia’s cultural capital, Ljubljana. Founded by Piera Ravnikar in 2017, the gallery’s mission is to open up a dialogue between artists and the public, as well as introducing a whole new audience to the world of visual art.
R—space provides a valuable showcase for a broad range of practices and creative backgrounds, including painting, drawing, sculpture and installation. The gallery is purposefully located in the capital’s cultural triangle, between the Museum of Modern Art, Academy of Fine Arts and Design and Cankarjev dom, a national center for arts and culture.
Representing established and emerging artists from Slovenia and international art scenes, R—space offers a venue for solo or group exhibitions, workshops and community-driven programming as well as a relaxed and social gallery space for locals and tourists to browse. The venue is closely connected to SKALINADA, an artist—in—residence project based in Croatia, Island Krk, which operates parallel to the gallery.
R — space provides an important gathering place and commercial platform for a thriving local community of visual artists, while boosting Ljubljana’s reputation as a capital city brimming with culture in the making.
Photo: Mario Zupanov