Tuesday, February 22, 2011

FDC from Croatia/FDC de la Croatie


Adoration of the Shepherds, Josip Biffel, Gallery “Šimun” of the Franciscan Monastery of St. Anthony, Dubrave near Brčko, Bosnia and Herzegovina Christmas lasts. Already for 2010 years the Child is born into its death and resurrection. Ever since the world has been counting time from this birth, the scene of birth was being complemented and enriched. Apart from the main characters, there appear and exchange also the episodists; metaphors gain bodies and the warm muteness of animals completes the human register. The spirit of time arranges the story, lavishing presents and deducing the story to essentials. The styles and epochs have been exchanging round the stall, but never disregarded it. Many painters and sculptors have brought the goodness of their lives, dear lineaments of their wives and children, their next of kins and even their own into the scene of birth. By one’s own experience or longing anyone could settle in this scene. It survived also the chase of narration in modern times. A new, sometimes stiff emotion has carried over the torches of Bethlehem into our time. The painter Josip Biffel (born in 1933, graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1959 in the class of Đuro Tiljak, professor at the same Academy) is among many who bowed in front of the stall. He did it in a modern way, renouncing the tiny details and filling out the space of great expansibility by the magic of light. The blue darkness of the sky and the little cave, the caring Joseph and animals in it, the reflection of light across the distant country, the night behind the shoulders of modest characters who had heard the call and have come to admire the new life, the shine on the mother and child, on the crown of a magical tree dialoguing with heavenly voices and the unusual purple sent off by the night – so could maybe Biffel’s painting be translated into word. Biffel has not taken that much with him from his professor at the Academy, much more has he exchanged with his contemporaries, with Ivančić, Stančić, Lesiak…A great part of his work he devoted to sacral motifs and especially to sacral spaces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Creation of space, investigation of its dimensions, rotating of horizons, compression or extension of deepnesses are main features of his poetics. Exactly his paintings concerned with space are probably his most own and finest works. And this space is filled with colours that carry light and darkness, that replace the description by their shine and glowing. The Gallery “Šimun”, housing Biffel’s painting together with seven hundred and twenty other Croatian modern works of art, from which also this year’s Christmas stamp comes, is the collection of the great Franciscan collector, Fra Stjepan Pavić. It is also one of the most beautiful collections of Bosnia and Herzegovina and also Croatia which contributes to understanding and defining of not only our but also universal homeland.

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