Vladimir Novak / Silent Invaders
Imposing ground floor halls, primarily in the role of constructive supporters of an imperial residential block, have recently become an exhibition space that necessarily seeks from the artist to establish dialogue between his own artwork and the late antique architecture.
Accepting such challenges and adapting to the demands of the space is not strange to Vladimir Novak, who in a series of previous realizations created unique spatial installations with an ambiental character which are presented together in this case and represent a sort of conclusion of an artistic research process. The massiveness of the supporting walls vaulted halls is challenged by monumental sculptures that, despite the apparent battle of giants, realize a subtle complementary relationship. By placing sculptural creations in the ambient, the artist emphasizes their melding with the environment, shaping thus a symbiotic unity. At the same time, these crude, monumental, wild, free, untamed and calm ambient sculptures witness the concealed sensibility that is yet to be perceived by the observer – moving through the ground floor halls and hallways refined by artwork promotes a sense of continuity and enables a new dimension of space interpretation.
In the five works presented, with an emphasis on natural materials and organic forms, the artist examines the interplay of materials and mass. The tripartite installation made up of iron structures as carriers of large reed bits, the key natural material that Novak uses in this cycle, placed in front of the basilic-type parapet evokes the sacral composition and a metaphysical feeling. Reed is outside of its natural environment and becomes an intrusion in the marine area. Smooth and yet durable and invasive in its natural habitat, here the reed’s splendor, unpredictability and defiance stand in opposition to clean, smooth stone blocks of the late antique complex. Iz Središća dole v Rit (From Središće down to Rit) is a representative example of the raw power of natural materials, a massive structure made of oak with lined reed, which forms a concave-convex dialog with the barrel vault, using its material and shape to remind of the previously placed beam structures, whose slots are nowadays remaining by the side walls of the hall. Similarly conceived, the work Odnosi (Relationships) is set in a separate room and its monumental character imposingly obstructs the visitor and forces them to go arouns the sculpture made of large compact bundle of reed that is held by two seemingly floating horizontal massive oak beams. The title of the work insinuates and requires a reading of the work at a symbolic level, another sphere of perception, where the reed bundles represent social cohesion and thus the key to the strength of the human community.
Material research is continued in Tihi razgovor (Quiet Talk) where the artist makes can prints in concrete, setting the relationship between fragility and strength, the natural and artificially created. Leaning against the wall, the work establishes direct contact with the architecture, in contrast to the freestanding sculpture entitled Korijeni (Roots), also a concrete casting of the reed bundle, which, placed at the center of the circular room, resembles the prehistoric monolithic structures, creating thus its own microcosm.
With a minimalistic, but by no means poor or inadequate expression, Vladimir Novak translates his own fascination with the riverside landscape, a natural watercourse that symbolizes cyclicity and renewal of nature. With his sculptural expression, he encompasses primordial human needs – building architectural forms, as well as basic human needs for socialization and social affirmation. The ambiental value of sculpture with transcendental character inspires introspection, contemplation of the timelessness of existence and non-verbal spheres invisible to the human eye, as well as reflection of the self in relation to an environment that rapidly loses its naturalness and becomes artificially constructed.
Vladimir Novak graduated in sculpture in 2017 at ALU in Zagreb. He won the Rector’s Award in 2015. He has exhibited at the Studio of the Gallery of Antun Augustinčić in Klanjec in 2017, the French pavilion (2017) and the SC Gallery in Zagreb. He has participated in several group exhibitions in Croatia and abroad. Some of them were the 34th youth salon – Panoptikon in Zagreb 2018, DravaArt Biennale 2017 in Koprivnica, Žeravica 4 “Quadrologloditi – mesmerizacija” in České Budějovice, NEU NOW – Europe’s emerging artists 2016 in Amsterdam, Sculptumes & Costures in Lausanne 2015 . His works can be found in ALU in Zagreb and in the Gallery of Antun Augustinčić in Klanjec, in private collections and as public installations in Vrsar and Bjelovar. Since 2017 he is a member of HDLU. He lives and works in Lausanne and Zagreb.