More than Words

A Kaleidoscope of Cultural Delights: Art That Touches the Heart

And again, writing this from a cold Zagreb, I am thrilled to bring you a glimpse of upcoming cultural events in Zagreb throughout January 2024. The city of lights and arts never ceases to amaze with its diversity, and this January is no exception. Let's dive in and explore the artistic worlds that will come to life in my city.

As winter slowly creeps into every corner of the city, art in Zagreb becomes like a warm embrace, enveloping us from the inside out. These January days will be enriched by exhibitions that invite introspection, warmth, and togetherness.

Raffaela Zenoni: "Gallery of Other Ancestors" at the National Museum of Modern Art Josip Račić

The first one I want to present is Raffaela Zenoni's exhibition, "Gallery of Other Ancestors," which will be held at the National Museum of Modern Art Josip Račić until January 10th. As I heard, this exhibition is a powerful testament to the evocative nature of art. Zenoni skillfully blurs the thin line between reality and fiction, inviting us to explore the enigmas, contradictions, sensations, and emotions surrounding us daily. Her collection of portraits, forming her "Gallery of Other Ancestors," transcends the realm of concrete memories.

Image Credit: TZGZ

Each portrait in this exhibition is a product of the artist's imagination—a beautiful fiction with its own name. Zenoni draws inspiration from a parallel reality, referencing the historical tradition of displaying family portraits in the representative rooms of a home.

This may be an opportunity for an additional family gathering and enjoying something different together after the holiday season, especially if you have an artistic family who loves to explore hidden messages and emotions expressed with the artwork.

As explained by historian Franceschi, Zenoni's art defies the conventional approach to portraiture. While most artists base the color and form of a portrait on a model, Zenoni's "family" emerges through the colors available to her, with the countenance evolving during the process. This unique methodology adds more depth to the exhibition, emphasizing the artist's sincere approach to her craft. 


Jessica Gobert: "Dearest" at the Events Gallery

Moving on to another captivating exhibition, let's explore the world of Jessica Gobert in "Dearest" at the Events Gallery, running until January 19th, inspired by moments spent in the company of loved ones.

Using ink strokes reminiscent of delicate lace, the artist depicts scenes where characters are captured in their ordinary, routine activities. From observing the street, sipping afternoon coffee, and playing with a cat to preparing the ground for a game of bocce on one of the Adriatic islands, the artist expresses attention to the generic, everyone's experience, yet precious moments of bonding with the elemental aspects of the loved ones' everyday life.


Image Credit: TZGZ

"Dearest" protests against loneliness and helplessness, calling for humane support as the greatest solace. The entire concept, mimics, and gestures can be interpreted as a uniquely designed expression of appreciation and gratitude to all who contribute to the joy of living with their engaged presence.

In simple language, this exhibition manifests a renaissance of organic solidarity, demonstrating that even a hectic way of life can be a fertile ground for creating suitable picture book illustrations that create a mutual need for both children and parents to demonstrate etiquette and attention to their loved ones.

"Ivan Meštrović – Retrospective" at the Klovićevi Dvori Gallery

Then, there is the artistic journey of one of the most significant Croatian artists at the retrospective exhibition in the Klovićevi Dvori Gallery. Opened on November 22nd to mark the 140th anniversary of the birth of this eminent artist, the exhibition presents a comprehensive overview of Meštrović's sculptural work.

Over 200 sculptures provide insight into the development of his opus, from his earliest childhood, through his formation at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, to his affirmation in Paris and Rome, where he created cycles that achieved great success at exhibitions from the Vienna Secession to the Venice Biennale.

Image Credit: TZGZ

Sculptures from New York, the Tate Gallery in London, Leeds, Ljubljana, Belgrade, Rome, Prague, and various parts of Croatia will be on display until March 3rd, 2024. Don't miss the opportunity to witness the artistic legacy of Ivan Meštrović, a journey through time and form that leaves an indelible mark on the Croatian art scene.

The influence of different artists' cultures is best seen in the works - and Mestrović is undoubtedly full of surprises.


Cirque du Soleil's "OVO" at the Arena Zagreb

The last, but no less attractive, even the most interesting cultural attraction in Zagreb is a Cirque du Soleil with the newly revitalized "OVO" show. From January 25th to 28th at the Arena Zagreb, allow yourself a trip in the colorful and buzzing world of insects, where acrobatic feats redefine the limits of the human body. "OVO" explores the beauty of biodiversity through astonishing acrobatics, highlighting the unique personalities and abilities of selected insect species.

Featuring about 100 individuals from 25 different countries, including 52 artists, "OVO" known as the "joyous community," has enthralled over 7 million people worldwide since its opening in Montreal in 2009. With five performances in the Arena Zagreb, "OVO" promises to be a funny, chaotic, wonderful, and enchanting experience, awakening the child in each of us.

In 2017, I visited their Toruk show, also held in the Arena Zagreb, so I am telling you firsthand that this show is a unique experience you'll remember for years. Back then, the theme was inspired by the Avatar through the Toruk show, and if we expect an equal play of sound, light, acrobatics, and expressions, I'm already looking forward to this year's theme. If you think like me, secure your tickets in time.

Image Credit: TZGZ

With this, it's safe to say that we've excitedly concluded the topic of upcoming exhibitions and attractions. Therefore, January is reserved for cultural elevation and enjoyment of the works of acclaimed artists and their works in whose world I can't wait to get lost.

Hope to see you there!

Header Image Credit: TZGZ

Author: Kristina Duvnjak