Vladimir Kristl Promoted in Paris

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The Vlado Kristl–Madeleine, Madeleine programme will open and close with three thematically linked units and is the work of the Paris chapter of the association of former student of Croatian universities AMCA, and the Lapidarium museum of Novigrad.



As part of the presentation of Croatia’s culture during its presidency of the Council of the European Union the first ever presentation of the oeuvre of painter, poet and filmmaker Vladimir (Vlado) Kristl is to be staged in France. Kristl was one of the most formidable Croatian artists of the second half of the twentieth century.

The exhibition runs from 14 to 29 February 2020 at the Galerie Cité internationale des Arts at No. 18 rue de l’Hôtel de Ville in Paris’s 4th arrondissement. The grand opening is slated for 6:30 in the afternoon of Thursday, 13 February.

The exhibition, which will also include audio/visual recordings, a bilingual catalogue and translations of two of Kristl’s poems penned in Fanjeaux, will feature over sixty works by Vladimir Kristl (a selection of his paintings, drawings, prints, films and poetry). The works are on loan from private collections and most will see their premiere showings in France. In the frame of this exhibition there will be a screening at 5:30 PM on Friday 28 February of the film Vlado Kristl: Ich bin ein Mensch-Versuch (“Vlado Kristl: I am a Human Experiment”), featuring a lecture by the film’s director Johanna Pauline Maier. Curating the exhibition is Jerica Ziherl.

Thursday 20 February will see an evening of poetry starting at 7:00 PM at the Croatian embassy at No. 7 Thiers square in Paris’s 16th arrondissement.

A collection of the poetry of Vladimir Kristl will be presented as selected by academician Tonko Maroević as translated into French by Martina Kramer for publisher L’Ollave. Anamarija Habjan will speak on the topic of Kristl’s poetry.

Monday 2 March will see a film programme at 7:00 PM at the auditorium of the Goethe Institute at No. 17 Avenue d’Iéna in Paris’s 16th arrondissement.

The event will be moderated by programme curator Branka Benčić and will cover the animated shorts and feature length films Kristl shot in Zagreb and his experimental and feature films made in Germany. Joining Benčić to discuss Kristl’s ouevre as a filmmaker will be Chris Dercon.

Born in Zagreb in 1923, Vladimir Kristl launched his career in the 1950s. He worked with the artists collected around the EXAT 51 group in introducing geometric abstraction in opposition to the ruling socialist realism art of the sanctioned Yugoslav culture scene, continuing to paint in the spirit of the informalism (art informel) pictorial movement, and publishing poetry. In the 1960s he joined the stylistic circle known as the Zagreb school of animated film. It was with this group that he created his animated short masterpieces. The massive success of his animated film Don Kihot (“Don Quixote”) won him international acclaim. When his short live action movie General i resni človek (“The General and the Real Human Being”) suffered official censorship, and when he grasped the level of unappreciation of his art, Kristl, unwilling to compromise, moved out of the former Yugoslavia in 1963 to live in the German cities of Munich and Hamburg and the French city of Fanjeaux.

In Germany he was celebrated as a genius of new German film. His body of work includes over thirty animated, experimental and live action films. He was a valued among filmmakers and anarchists, and a favourite of the students of the Hamburg Academy of Fine Arts (Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg), where he taught from 1979 to 1996. He wrote poetry and prose in German, self-published or released by his faithful publishers. In 1965 he returned to drawing and painting and exhibits a tenacity all his own in painting oils on canvas almost to the end of his life. To all appearances figural and classic, Kristl departed from all customary formal presentations of painting, working without any ambition to sell, promote or exhibit his work. Moreover, his sacrosanct personal expression shrank from any group and collective affiliation. Besides his literary production, painting would later in life become his primary channel of communication. His work drew its strength from a critical view that pervades the image and the word, into which the language of Vladimir Kristl has been impressed: simultaneously classic and avantgarde, intriguing and provocative, lucid and humorous, free and suppressed. He died in Munich in 2004.

The Vlado Kristl–Madeleine, Madeleine programme is the work of the Paris chapter of the association of former student of Croatian universities AMCA (www.amca-paris.com) and the Lapidarium museum in the Croatian coastal town of Novigrad. The visual identity design is by Đanino Božić.

The programme is funded through the culture ministry, the foreign and European affairs ministry, the Government’s national office for Croats abroad, and the city of Novigrad.


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