The tour, which will take place on the third day of the Conference (September 16th, 2015), will include a visit to the former Institute of Metallurgy of the Sisak Ironworks, a walking tour of the Sisak Sculpture Park, a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, and a tour of the Vjenceslav Richter and Nada Kareš-Richter Collection, also in Zagreb.
Institute of Metallurgy of the Sisak Ironworks
From the end of WW2 to the early nineties, Sisak Ironworks was the biggest industrial giant in Sisak. At the peak of its power, the works employed over thirteen thousand people. The Croatian War of Independence (1991-1995) and the political and economic reforms that followed brought many changes and eventually led to the collapse of the Sisak Ironworks. Only minor parts of the plant are operating today, and the labour force has dropped to one hundred.
Our tour will start in the building of the former Institute of Metallurgy of the Sisak Ironworks. The Institute was a scientific institution in charge of product quality control and R & D. The 36,000-square-meter building was completed in 1968, and enormous amounts of money were invested in its construction and the related furnishings and equipment. The top floor of the building provides a great view of the Sisak Ironworks plant surrounded by dense oak forest. This will be a perfect setting for the story of Sisak Ironworks’ rise and fall, as told by Vlatko Čakširan, MSc, Director of the City Museum Sisak.
Sculpture Park created in the context of the Sisak Ironworks Colony of Fine Artists
The walking tour of the Sisak Sculpture Park will start with the sculpture Antipodi (1972), which marks the entrance to the Ironworks premises. The sculpture was created by Ivan Kožarić, a famous Croatian sculptor and internationally recognized multimedia artist. Alma Trauber, curator of the City Gallery Striegl, will acquaint us with the history of Sisak Ironworks Colony of Fine Artists.
We will then take a walk through Caprag, an estate located next to the Ironworks. The public areas in Caprag are adorned with some thirty sculptures created by the artists who participated in the Sisak Ironworks Colony of Fine Artists. (The rest of the sculptures – there are 38 in total – are located within the Ironworks premises.) We will take a look at Josip Diminić’s sculpture Object II (1979), the first professionally restored sculpture from the Park. Sagita Mirjam Sunara (Conservation-Restoration Department, Arts Academy in Split) will briefly present the complex treatment that this sculpture was given in 2014.
Our final stop will be the small square in front of the Caprag library reading room. Four sculptures are located there: Branko Ružić’s Doors (1984), Ante Rašić’s Orator (1984), Hamo Čavrk’s Form I (1982) and Belizar Bahorić’s High Voltage (1982). Ivana Miletić Čakširan, Head of the Conservation Department in Sisak, will give a short presentation of the project “Sisak Ironworks – Heritage Factory”, which aims to revitalise the cultural policy of the Sisak Ironworks.
You can take a virtual tour of the Sisak Sculpture Park right here by clicking on the pin icons on our Google Map. To view images and descriptions of all the sculptures, click here .
The walk through the Sculpture Park will be an opportunity to explore Caprag, the Sisak Ironworks workers’ estate. The Ironworks paid great attention to improvement of the standard of living, and was aware that securing accommodation for the workers in the vicinity of the factory was not enough: other facilities necessary for normal everyday life had to be secured, too. It is for this reason that Caprag got a library, a post office, a bank, a kindergarten, an ambulance, a supermarket, tennis courts, bowling alleys; even an Olympic-sized open-air public pool! Unfortunately, many of these structures have been left to decay, but even in the poor state of preservation inspire a sense of wonder and admiration.
Museum of Contemporary Art
The Museum of Contemporary Art will be our first destination in Zagreb. The Museum was founded in 1954 under the name City Gallery of Contemporary Art. Its goal was to promote and collect recently produced artworks of the younger generation which, among others, included the Exat 51 group – Ivan Picelj, Vjenceslav Richter, Aleksandar Srnec, Božidar Rašica, Vlado Kristl, and other artists who advocated geometric abstraction. In the fifties the Museum organized the first travelling exhibitions of abstract art (Didactic Exhibition: Abstract Art) and had an important role in drawing the attention of the culturally interested public to international modern and contemporary art. By the end of the fifties, the group of artists called GORGONA (Josip Vaništa, Ivan Kožarić, Julije Knifer, Marijan Jevšovar, Đuro Seder…), “the last European avant-garde group” as it was later labelled by international critics, initiated their activities under the auspices of the Museum.
The Museum moved into the new building in December 2009. The permanent display, which is accommodated within an area of 3,500 square meters, provides an insight into the fifty years of compiling and creating a highly specific collection, unique not only in the works which it displays, but also as a whole. Here, the Croatian and the international public can enjoy collections formed during a period of half a century at the cultural border between the East and the West, rich and varied exhibition and educative programs, archives, library, audio-visual centre, multimedia hall and many other facilities.
Curator Martina Munivrana will give us a tour of the highlights of the Museum’s permanent collection. If you would like to learn more about this museum, please visit its website.
Vjenceslav Richter and Nada Kareš-Richter Collection
Our tour will end with a visit to the Vjenceslav Richter and Nada Kareš-Richter Collection, located in a one-storey villa in the west part of Zagreb. The collection presents the entire creative works of Vjenceslav Richter, one of the most influential Croatian artists of the 1950s and 1960s.
The history of the collection begins in 1980, when Vjenceslav Richter and his wife Nada Kareš Richter donated works of art and their family home to the city of Zagreb with the objective of creating a place where Constructivist Art could be studied and where young artists could gather. The Richters also wanted to encourage the spreading of cultural contents outside the core downtown area of Zagreb.
The Richter Collection, as it is most frequently called, was entrusted to the management of the Zagreb Museum of Contemporary Art in 1998. This was the beginning of vigorous expert work on the study of the works of art of Vjenceslav Richter, as well as of close cooperation between the museum curator and the artist, directed towards creating conditions for opening up the collection to the public. At the initiative of the donor, the park was set up with an arrangement of sculptures, while the ground floor of the villa was redecorated to host a permanent exhibition of donated works.
Today, 188 works of art, the artist’s archive and the library he created in the period from 1963 to 2002, are kept in the Richter Collection. Curator Vesna Meštrić, Keeper of the Richter Collection, will introduce us with all areas of Richter’s artistic activities.