The Retrospective exhibition at the Croatian Heritage Foundation is Herman Hemetek’s first showing in Zagreb after a four-year pause. The showing at the CHF is open to the public through to the end of November.

An exhibition of the work of Viennese Croatian Herman Hemetek opened on the evening of October 23rd. The gathered were welcomed by exhibition organiser Marija Hećimović, head of the CHF department for Croatian minority communities, and by CHF director Marin Knezović.
“Dear guests, dear friends of art, some artists have made a virtue of monotony, style from repetition, laws out of consistency. This is not the case with the art of Herman Hemetek. The paintings of Herman Hemetek lead us on a journey through the history of art in the twentieth century. Not a random wandering, but a journey. A trek on which the artist comes across diverse cultural influences and readily, without prejudice, offers his hand to each of them, inviting each one for a drink and a half hour chat. The result is an auspicious diversity. This exhibition is an invitation to the diversity we all need so much. A diversity that lies at the foundation of the institution I stand at the helm of. There is no future for this country, our people and our communities abroad without a respect for diversity. That is why this building and this space are as if created for an exhibition of this nature, as if created for diversity,” noted CHF director Knezović in his welcome.
Art historian Olga Šram provided a comprehensive presentation of the artist and the works on display:
“The unpretentious retrospective exhibition organised by the Croatian Heritage Foundation in Zagreb covers selected works from major phases in the work of painter Herman Hemetek. A solid knowledge of two cultural spheres, the Croatian, which he experiences intimately, and the Austrian, in which he recognises more pronounced European currents, largely elucidates the artist’s orientations – in particular those towards expressive colour and bold strokes. The majority of his work is characterised by an unconventional and free interpretation of motifs, and an open and dynamic composition. Some of his series were, however, created with a precisely defined message. Prominent among these are visual montages of sorts that are his personal appeal to the preservation of Croatian identity, traditions and writing. According to the artist himself, he is completely dedicated to painting, but he also brings into his artwork a personal experience of the artistic, cultural and political events in which he takes an active role.”
The Retrospective exhibition at the Croatian Heritage Foundation is Herman Hemetek’s first showing in Zagreb after a four-year pause. The showing at the CHF is open to the public through to the end of November.
The artist was born in Korenjak in 1944 and grew up in Zagreb, Bjelovar and Veli Lošinj. He settled in Vienna in 1974. Although Hemetek graduated from the Nautical Academy, he has been active as a painter since his childhood and staged his first exhibition a half-century ago in 1962. He has staged solo and participated in group exhibitions in Austria and Croatia regularly since 1987, and his work is characterised by various styles and techniques. Hemetek is politically active in the League for Human Rights, among the ethnic minorities in Austria and in particular among the Gradišće Croatian community.
(dšš)

Photos by: Hrvoje Salopek