Featuring Eddie Arning, Martin Bernstein, Sally Bennett, Catherine Colangelo, Claire Cusack, Carlos Hernandez, Kelly Moran, Lance Letscher, W. Tucker
Slavko Kopač, an insider artist in the service of outsiders is an exhibition curated by Fabrice Flahutez, Pauline Goutain and Roberta Trapani of the Kopač Committee Association
The ArtRencontre Association (Croatia) and Kopač Committee Association (France) join forces to present for the first time in New York the work of the Franco-Croatian painter, sculptor and poet Slavko Kopač through an exhibition of selected works. It will also be an opportunity to present the book Slavko Kopač: Shadows and Materials, written by Fabrice Flahutez, Pauline Goutain and Roberta Trapani and published in 2022 in France by the prestigious Gallimard editions.
Slavko Kopac (1913-1995)
Born in 1913 in Croatia, where he trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, Slavko Kopač has been associated by and large with his role as the curator of the Collection de l’Art Brut, founded by Jean Dubuffet. Yet the Croatian artist left behind a fecund body of work on par with the complexity of the century it spanned. Emigrating to Italy in 1943, then settling in Paris in 1948, where he crossed paths with the surrealists, he enlisted the most unexpected techniques and materials in the service of a poetics of the marvelous.
The techniques Kopač employed included myriad experiments with unusual or repurposed materials. The washes, watercolors, charcoals, markers, pencil drawings are handled both masterfully and with a nearly automatic gesture, while the ceramics and enameled earthenware are illuminated with pigmented glazes. The viewer cannot determine the physical weight of the sculptures since one never knows if the work in question is made of brick, concrete, or paper mâché. The bestiary and the flora Kopač invokes are equally poignant because they populate the compositions with a harmonious world that can only be found in fairytales and popular legends.
Kopač’s modesty, his solitary, antisocial, and somewhat secretive personality contributed in large part to his being eclipsed. Jean Dubuffet portrayed him in 1982 as a friend with the perfect profile completely outside of professional artistic circuits, with total disregard for monetary gain and self-promotion, and intent on living the reclusive life of a loner. It goes without saying that his oeuvre can only be situated in an unidentified zone, an indeterminate place, uncharted territory.