Plečnik on Brioni in Zagreb
The exhibition Plečnik on Brioni is on view at the Croatian Museum of Architecture - HAZU from 18 October until 30 November 2017. The exhibition, which is complemented by an overview of projects Plečnik completed or at least planned in Croatia, is part of the Plečnik Year 2017 and a collaboration of the National and University Library of Slovenia and the Plečnik House.
Zagreb is hosting Plečnik on Brioni as part of the 145th anniversary of the birth and 60th anniversary from the passing of Jože Plečnik, a giant of Slovenian architecture, who also left part of his extensive oeuvre in Croatia. The exhibition Plečnik on Brioni in Croatia’s capital city came as an initiative of the Slovene National Minority Council Zagreb, the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia Zagreb and the Slovenian Home in Zagreb, and has been complemented by the projects Plečnik had envisioned for our southern neighbours.
Opening of the exhibition on Wednesday 18 October at 6 p.m. at the Croatian Museum of Architecture – HAZU (Ivan Goran Kovačić Street 37, Zagreb) was accompanied by the lecture Ljubljana – A Mediterranean City? Plečnik’s Attempt by Prof Dr Peter Krečič, one of the leading connoisseurs of Jože Plečnik’s works.
In the development of Plečnik on Brioni, the exhibition about the last fully completed project in the architect's life - a garden pavilion on the Brijuni Islands in 1956, the Plečnik House collaborated with the Manuscripts, Rare and Old Prints Collection of the National and University Library of Slovenia. The Collection acquired a valuable donation from Dr Lojze Gostiša, which unveils original plans for the pavilion and photographs of Plečnik’s visits to the Brijuni, hitherto unknown to the public. Among the photographs are the last portraits of Jože Plečnik, taken in the autumn of 1956. Particularly valuable is also the recorded testimony of Dr Gostiša on the circumstances that lead to the completion of this project, which now stands as Plečnik's symbolic testament . The exhibition was on view at the Plečnik House between January and April 2017.
Dr Lojze Gostiša still remembers working with Plečnik, "On 5 January 1955, I met with the Prof Arch Jože Plečnik at the Faculty of Architecture following a recommendation from the architect Tone Bitenc. I passed on to him a request by the surviving WWII combatants to produce a plan for a garden pavilion on Brioni they intended as a gift to commander Tito. Plečnik readily complied with their desire.
In the early morning darkness of 14 January 1955 I drove him to Brioni. He wanted to take a look at the site. During the trip, he suggested stopping at Hrastovlje where he hadn't been before. A national monument in 1955. A church surrounded by a high enclosing Renaissance wall. A murky atmosphere inside. A sexton holding an oil lamp. Two Istrian women wrapped in black plaid. Dance of the death. Plečnik. Silence and a barely audible whisper:” A phantasm!”
On Brioni, the distinguished guest Prof Arch Plečnik was received in an almost protocolar fashion. He viewed the site and then took a stroll with his former student architect Vinko Glanz among the remnants of the Roman culture on Brioni Islands.
Towards the end of January 1955, in his workshed on Karunova Street Plečnik presented and handed to me the design of the garden pavilion which, unfortunately, remained unrealised. There wasn't a builder in Slovenia able to turn the architect's will into a reality.
He conceived a fresh plan. It was carried out by the firm Naravni kamen led by Milan Pertot; the sculptors Frančišek Smerdu, Ivan Sajovic and Marija and Stane Keržič; the carver Jože Lapuh and the painter France Mihelič who created the mosaic of the pavilion's circumferential wall. The construction was conducted by the architect Tone Bitenc, a long-standing assistant of Plečnik.
In the summer of 1956, the pavilion was built. I again took Plečnik to Brioni. He observed his last realised masterpiece of his life."
Read more about the Plečnik on Brioni exhibition by following this link.
The exhibition Plečnik on Brioni at the Croatian Museum of Architecture - HAZU is complemented by other projects Plečnik envisioned for Croatia: the completed crypt of the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes in Zagreb, the Jesuit Monastery of the Sacred Heart in Osijek (now demolished), the never realised Church of St Joseph in Zagreb, a reconstruction of the Franciscan church in Rijeka, the expansion of the Shrine of the Mother of God of Marija Bistrica and its pilgrimage complex, churches in Makarska and in Primošten, and the altar studies for Zagreb.
PLEČNIK ON BRIONI, temporary exhibition, 18. 10.–30. 11. 2017
Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana, Plečnik House, represented by: Blaž Peršin
Exhibition curators: Marijan Rupret, Žiga Cerkvenik (NUK)
Expert assistance by: dr. Damjan Prelovšek, Ana Porok (MGML)
Photographs by: dr. Lojze Gostiša, dr. Damjan Prelovšek, NUK Archive, MGML documentation
Short film: Žiga Cerkvenik (NUK)
Design: Bojan Lazarevič, Agora Proars
Proofreading: dr. Tomo Jurca, Murray Bales
English translation: Milan Stepanovič, Studio Phi
Croatian translation: Lenga Kuliš
Documentation: Matej Satler
Promotion: Maja Kovač, Ana Modic
Technical realisation and preparation for the exhibition: Printera grupa d.o.o.
PLEČNIK IN CROATIA
Material preparation and photo selection: Polona Jurinić, Agata Klinar Medaković
Plans: MUO exhibition catalogue, 2000, author Vladimir Maleković
Photographs by: Nino Lah, MGML documentation
On Friday 31 May, the atmosphere on the Croatian island of Veliki Brijun was especially ceremonial, as the exhibition Plečnik on Brioni opened there. The exhibition presents Plečnik's last fully completed work – the garden pavilion dedicated to President Tito. This also presented a unique opportunity for visiting the Plečnik pavilion in person.
On the initiative of the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia Zagreb, the exhibition Plečnik on Brioni has been visiting Croatian cities for the past two years. At the start of April you can catch it in Split, while at the end of May on the Brioni Islands.
From 24 April to 8 May, the State Archive of Varaždin is hosting the exhibition Plečnik on Brioni, supplemented by the architect’s projects realised elsewhere in Croatia, and some of his unrealised visions. The exhibition has been brought to Varaždin by ‘Nagelj’ Varaždin Slovenian Cultural Association to celebrate its 10th anniversary. Ana Porok who is in charge of the Plečnik House, Ljubljana, also addressed the visitors to the opening of the exhibition.