The exhibition, staged at the premises of the Alliance Française, was opened by Gerard Denegri, the first honorary consul of the French Republic in Croatia, and Branka Bezić Filipović, the head of our Split branch office.
Ten years ago members of the Croatian community in the Argentinean capital of Buenos Aires asked the Split branch office of the Croatian Heritage Foundation to welcome Guillermo Escalante upon his arrival in Split and to help with the organisation of an exhibition of the work of this young artist. His work is idiosyncratic, imaginative and poetic, and the artist has tried his hand at multiple techniques and continues to develop his style.
Guillermo Escalante’s exhibition in Split was his first ever showing in Europe. It was staged at the Marko Marulić municipal library by host the Split branch office of the CHF and was very well received. He painted in a mural in the library after the exhibition. Our collaboration with this artist did not end there, and he staged another exhibition in Split a few years later.
The latest exhibition is titled Sleeping Goddess and is hosted by the Alliance Française. The exhibition was officially opened on the 5th of October by Gerard Denegri, the first honorary consul of the French Republic in Croatia, and Branka Bezić Filipović, the head of our Split branch office. The showing features works in the batik, oil on canvas and drawing techniques and pottery and will be open through to the end of the month.
Recalling his first meeting with Split, Escalante noted that, “When I first came to this corner of the world I was interested to learn the local sayings, as a way to understand the specific aspects of the local culture. The first saying I heard was ‘Kamen na kamen palača’ (‘Stone by stone builds a palace’), and I heard it from an artist when she was opening her Trag (Traces) exhibition. It is evident that any everyday impression in life may morph many years later into a work of art.” One of his works is titled Kamen na kamen palača.
Among the works on show are three inspired by the work of Toulouse-Lautrec. Related to these works Escalante recounted his experience during an exhibition of Toulouse-Lautrec posters in Ljubljana’s Cankar Centre from the 17th of March to the 25th of August of 2011. Toulouse-Lautrec was a painter Escalante has admired his entire life. Circumstances conspired to see him arrive at the exhibition on the last hour of the last day. He had brought a folio of architectural drawings made by a Slovenian student in 1929 drawn with Chinese ink. During this exceptional hour he drew posters and, quite spontaneously, created some works on the upper storey of the exhibition hall before the sudden arrival of viewers and employees. He also put on paper some original texts, concepts and ideas that seemed important at the time, trying to phrase them in the best possible French.
“It was not my intention to copy the works, rather to quote them, like parts of books or well known sayings are quoted, and to give them a modern and personal context,” Escalante recalled. When completed the series numbered eight works, five of which have been sold to European buyers.
The opening of the Split exhibition wrapped up with music, with Escalante performing a composition on the flute, followed by a Chilean song with guitar.
By: Branka Bezić Filipović