Gathering of time
March 16-26, 2017
Exhibition opening: Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 7pm
The extent of Radovan Kunić’s arrogance is best displayed when he exhibits his paintings. Far below on this imaginary scale of arrogance is the introduction of purple. This is an “urban“ purple, very aggressive and it smells like Spite. Maybe he also sees his Big painting “Brown Forest on a Gloomy Day“ somewhere on the horizon of the future, the painting which will say Almost Everything through Almost Nothing, about anything people could even wish to think about. A beige and grey scene, plain peaceful forest of dead leaves, with no planes and no counterpoints. Pale and uniform, the most boring forest scenery one can imagine, and yet bursting with powerful appearance, vibrating and flowing in abundance of friable matter charged with existence, etc. In itself, this is the place and time in a forest where ALL OTHER PEOPLE IN THE WORLD would say “But there is nothing there. Why would you want to paint it?“. He is afraid of this painting, he feels that he is not ready, so he tries some other, more feasible ideas, less conceptually and more artistically pompous.
On this path, which he makes no haste on, some of his paintings sometimes go beyond his intentions, and thus he can rejoice in them as a general curiosity. In the painting with a bed, of otherwise peaceful, graceful monumentality, there is an extension cord coming out of the frame in the far right, needed to turn the decorative lights on (what are decorative lights without a cord anyway?), and the corner on the wall says that he might not have had access to larger spaces with large white walls, but only to these ones, but never mind, “even better“. Besides, what kind of architecture is this? It looks as if the architect was changing his mind, or was sloppy, but just “a bit“, nothing spectacular, precisely what Croatia is. Contemplating the final result, departing from and approaching this ambivalent, calming and disturbing painting, one can feel something rarely felt spontaneously, i.e. the existential gratitude.
Not to mystify these already hazy artistic powers, the majority of this energy was simply “painted“ with colours throughout the many days of painting. The rest, the 15% of pure cream, the spiritual friction that could not have be predicted, that is the New Horizon, which the artist himself looks forward to, because he is not familiar with it, and nobody even guarantees him that any horizon will open up, but he has the privilege to see it first, if it happens; and why wouldn’t it if it happened to so many other painters. Besides – it is oil paint on a tight canvas; besides using a 500 year-old painting trick – always mixing tones on a fresh surface (which he does in a stingy, turpentine-like way, but undeniably), there is also the colour itself, which, of course, is bursting with its “innate“ beauty, just as on a good instrument one can hit any tone and make it sound well and interesting, not in relation to some other tone, but in relation to silence.
After he is finishes a painting, he “gives“ it a name, just like people give names to their canaries or tracks without vocals. He did not think that a painting needed a name, but one should not be stingy, they say. He “adds“ to it, on that account, a name, and thus the painting itself and its title do not mutually explain each other. The title of the painting will help some to start contemplating, but the ones not interested in words at the painting exhibition, will be able to experience everything “they should“.
At the same time, similar and opposed to Peter Handke’s dark mind from “A Moment of True Felling“, whose obsessions with accidentally gathered “trivial“ objects turn out to be the bearers of false hope after the initial elation, Radovan “just loves“ the objects, so he “appreciates“ them in front of us by painting them. In the middle of the painting process he also starts to love the paintings itself, and he also loves when others love that painting, so the possible joy is simple and plausible.
Maybe he received a letter once, opened it and saw it was empty. He thought to himself “but there is nothing“, still holding something in his hands. He realized that the envelope itself is a “great“ paper work: each envelope, including this one, contains the total history of solving that problem THUS FAR, everything is in a perfectly rational order, there is no added likeability, nobody is trying to trick anyone, all in all an easily achieved social consensus on an obviously satisfactory idea-design concept; only the tip of the triangle is slightly curved, the eye can rest there, it is good, it is great. A true party of forms. Looking up, he noticed a thin white cover high on a white wall, he sensed a small covered niche, filled with unorganized loop of flat black cables tied together with yellow and green duct tape, and he was pleased. After all, of all the problems in this world, it is up to him to produce a flat object-painting, which should “evoke“ some relatively rare feeling in people, pleasant if possible, in a broader sense, which could satisfy anyone, just as any good radiator heats all the people in the waiting room, he thought to himself in a literary sense and started painting a larger painting, giving up on the watermelon scene*.
(*We cannot understand why he gave up on the watermelon, but we do not even know why he wanted to paint it in the first place, thus our regret for what has not been painted is redundant, even rude. The fact that all the painters of this world by the end of the total available time for painting will not paint more than a fraction of what “should be“ painted, for him and the ones like him is a major conceptual problem, and requires a certain self-darkening of the mind, in order to finally start from something, which is a key precondition to create anything. Isn’t this the only difference between people – ones start “from one end“ and the others do nothing.)
Bruno Velčić, MA in Visual Arts
Radovan Kunić was born in Rijeka in 1987. After finishing grammar school he enrolled in the Academy of Applied Arts in Rijeka from which he graduated in sculpture in 2012 in the class of Prof Violić. During his studies he was also involved with painting, which he continued to engage in, only to make it his defining practice, the one that differentiates him in the sea of people of different professions. As a painter, he has participated in international art colonies and residencies and exhibited in numerous group and solo exhibitions. He has been awarded and acknowledged, and yet his greatest reward is when someone wants to hang his painting on their wall. He is a member of the Croatian Association of Artists in Rijeka and Croatian Freelance Artists Association. Besides working tirelessly as a painter in his Rijeka studio, he also works as an Associate Professor, i.e. Assistant at the Department of Painting, Academy of Applied Arts, University of Rijeka. He lives in Matulji.