Blind Painter: Grgur Akrap @ Galerija Kranjcar, Zagreb, Croatia
“In this series of paintings, I painted very spontaneously and intuitively what appeared to me like internal visions,” Grgur Akrap says of his newest show currently on view at Galerija Kranjcar in the Croatian capital of Zagreb, The work mesmerizes like semi-conscious visions from a vivid dream. Vibrant colors melt into the atmosphere like cotton candy, and the apparition lingers. Following a solo exhibition last year at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, the young artist now presents this series he calls Blind Painter.
The young artist explains how he achieves almost aqueous tones of vibrant colors to achieve an almost translucent appearance that effectively conveys the mood and time of day, where morning is drenched in yellows and night is a dreamy, cobalt velvet. The effect of otherworldliness is further imprinted in the intense paintings by inspired scenarios of unspoiled Edens and mythic narratives. “The title of the exhibition refers to reality which is not so visible, deceptive and intrusive as the physical reality we live in," he adds, “I would call these images a kind of reflection of the spirit.”
Although working in figuration, his work is not necessarily guided by narration. “I did not paint to tell a story, the intention was to bypass the language of words and completely indulge in the language of painting,” Akrap explains about how he prioritized the medium. Speaking of a dedication to the “poetry of painting” rather than telling a story, he mixes the colored sections with his linework, uses different gestures to create visual surfaces and orchestrates tension between “dirty” and “clean” sections on the canvas. Drawing from elements of Post-Impressionism, as well as the spontaneity and freedom of naivete and “bad painting,” he indicates confidence and a big back of tricks. Akrap’s appreciation for the medium is apparent in his unorthodox framing choices, which represent his modern aesthetic in concert with 17th century masterpieces. —Sasha Bogojev