• 01.03.2019. - 30.03.2019.

    Josip Zanki, Mantra of Compassion

    Within the local framework, it is hard to find an artist who works so systematically on connecting art and cultural anthropology to have been lead into a hybrid field that lies somewhere between art practice and scientific research, as is the case with Josip Zanki. Truth be told, Zanki is interested in what resists modernization in the concept of “a man as a social and cultural being”: religion, magic, premodern art, etc. Therefore, it is not surprising that the objects of his interest are so diverse: sepulchral practices of Zadar hinterland, the importance of cultivating barley in European rural areas, Buddhist painting, Petar Zoranić's “Planine”, Velebit, shamanism, hiking, prayer, meditation, etc. At the exhibition in Velika Gorica, Zanki – in full accordance with the mystical tradition of combining the incommensurable – focuses on the complex relationship between the East and the West, often marked by mutual misunderstandings, and exemplifies it via pictorial representations. What is the purpose of Buddhist paintings; how are they created; what is their relationship with the deity they depict; how much do these paintings rely on the Western understanding of space and geometry; are there any similarities between Eastern mantras and Christian or Islamic prayers and can they be prompted by an image; what is the role of an art form on the one hand, and individual intervention on the other in the tradition of Buddhist and Western painting; how does one become a master painter in Buddhist art and is it comparable with Western painting? In addition, the exhibition will also present the international results of the artist’s educational work via dozens of drawings and paintings. Regardless of whether Zanki is in the role of a student or teacher, working and living in the Indian or the South American subcontinent, he seems to continuously point out one thing: the human need for transcendence and to express oneself.

    Below we bring the text of Nevena Škrbić Alempijević, professor at the Faculty of social and humanistic sciences in Zagreb (Department for etnology and cultural anthropology):