Tuesday, March 1, 2022




    Putting pictures that constitute a narrative unit one after another, their cyclical repetition, the forming of movement by the animation of hand-drawn drawings, slotting the movement into a restricted space and involving a sound backdrop, references to natural processes and their coexistence with artificially created situations: these are the visual determinants and at the same time a short précis of the works shown at the exhibition Etherarium.
    Radovan Kunić’s work to date is mainly based on paintings done in oil on canvas in which figurative scenes prevail. His paintings are not overloaded with content, they record details extracted from their usual and expected context, and the visual and symbolic significance of the work is collected in the details depicted.
    A hint of the movement, animations, and the temporal sequences necessary for their materialisation are indicated in the artist’s recent painting, a series of works that show the process of a candle burning down. The two-dimensional image is in its very nature a static medium and records a moment in time halted. By multiplying it and placing one picture next to another in such a way as to create a polyptych the artist creates out of static images a kind of animation, a moving image. The candle motif is the same on each part of the polyptych, and the separate images differ only in the strength of the flame. Although the light that the candle creates provides a complex iconographic interpretation, in this case there are also autobiographical connotations.

    The author brings the element of luminousness into the work discreetly: the candle flame 
smoulders and flickers, burns brighter or goes out and once again achieves full strength. We can interpret it as a formation of the artist’s inspiration and creativity, a symbol of creation that is continued and yet has its high and low points. Flame is also a meditative element, a moment of peace and quiet in which an opportunity for re-consideration and introspection can be discovered.
    Paintings done in oils that in terms of their texture and visual configuration correspond to the content depicted are transformed into an animated video entitled Forgotten Space, which repeats in a loop, its form thus bringing out the repetitiveness and meditativeness of the content shown. The internal space, that in which we are alone with ourselves and that belongs only to us, will from time to time become that forgotten space, but yet it is always accessible, one to which we return when prompted by some trigger from outside.
    We can experience the exhibition Etherarium like some spatial tale, its core consisting of two video-animations, Gathering and 1-24, at the basis of which is a depiction of the natural world, of insects and animals. The first of these two pieces shows a cloud of butterflies and moths of various sizes and shapes with various wing patterns, showing the individuality of each individual, while the use of black and white technique secures for the whole depiction a note of balance and seriousness.
    If we bring the composition down to its component parts, we will conclude that it consists of lots of small formats that are combined and together build up a unit, recalling the process of creating and building the image, from detail to finished form. The animated video is founded on detail, made of a large number of hand drawn lepidopterans shown in every phase of opening and closing their wings. By combining the drawings into a moving image, an uneven visual rhythm consisting of the unexpected movement of the insects’ wings is acquired. The insects shown are assembled into a unit and create a kind of crush in the frame. The sound that can be interpreted as the amplified sound of wings flapping is an integral part of the work, and the sequences of the urban hubbub bring an element of disquiet into the whole scene. Rephrasing the words of the artist, the motif of butterfly symbolises fragility as well as the miraculous process of the metamorphosis that is part of the life-cycle of the lepidopteran. Transformation similar to that which occurs in the natural world is needful for the human
species too, but it is very much to be wondered whether it is at all likely or possible. 

In a similar way that the work Gathering pulls together a motif from nature and the artificially 
created world of information, the animated video 1-24 shows the walk of the tiger that is cyclically repeated entering and exiting the frame. The title of the piece, 1-24, not only signifies the four and twenty images of the tiger used in the animation but also has associations with the repetition of one and the same scene in a given span of time. At the same time, by placing the work in correlation with a life context (and each work on show is founded on personal experience), the given unit of time is a metaphor for the repetition that can have a positive or minus sign or will perhaps be associated with the creative or life cycle that is at the very heart of human existing.
    The visual shaping in the work is accompanied by sound in which we can recognise an imagination jungle space complemented with the thundering of steps that can be either human or animal, or both, and this work merges thematically into a unit with Gathering.
    Although animation implies the technique of achieving motion, Gathering and 1-24 at a symbolic level show a deal of stasis, for neither tiger nor butterflies are going anywhere, moving around in a limited space. Both works were created in the context of the pandemic restrictions that have imposed on our quotidian new rules of behaviour that until that moment were unknown and incomprehensible.
    The subject of one of the paradoxes of contemporary society in which the issue of identity and
personal information is both protected and made public is taken up in the video work Gate and
an installation in the form of a flag placed in front of the gallery venue. Both works make use of
the QR codes of the author’s accounts into which the encoded personal information of the
owner is imprinted. In the animation and in the installation, the codes are distorted and modified, take on new geometrical forms, and the code comes across as the bearer of a huge amount of personal data that are nevertheless in this form illegible. The question that inevitably arises is whether it is possible to protect privacy, even if modified, or whether the right has been lost forever.
    The coinage in the title is composed of the words ether, which we can connect with the electronic media, and terrarium, which refers not only to the exhibition display case of the living world but also to terra, and refers to the totality of the phenomena that Radovan Kunić brings together in his current artistic work. He visualises the world of nature in correlation with artificially created situations by a blend of well versed methods of work such as the drawing in Gathering or painting in Biorama with new ventures in animation. Etherarium is a spatial tale consisting of works linked with similar motifs or formal characteristics, revealing themselves in layers, full of symbols and hidden meanings, impinging on social phenomena, everyday life, intimate stories and themes, and focusing on the ambivalence of meaning, the mixing of natural and artificial, human and wild.

Vilma Bartolić, 2021.


Thursday, March 18, 2021


 Ravnikar Gallery Space, Ljubljana, 2021.

Some scenes entice and engage us at first sight. Whether they are small, seemingly insignificant and apparently invisible, or large and striking subjects, we instantly stop and merge with what we have before our eyes, we slowly withdraw from the visual content that has enticed us and take a step back into the space of our own experience.

The mutually coordinated relationship between the content depicted, the colour and the size of the format is what immediately lures us into Radovan Kunić's work. An everyday object, a motif from nature, a detail we usually overlook, now stands solemnly before us and steals our attention. Conquered by the motif of overgrown, fresh but untrodden grass, we approach and begin to contemplate the painting. We follow the rhythm of the gradual transition from darker and cooler to lighter and airier tones, which the artist combines with warm pinks and light and open greens. The artist has executed each blade of grass with precise and patient strokes, drawing attention to the dynamics of its movement, creating an exciting visual game. The contrast in the size, colour and position of the lines makes us focus on the surface and entertains us as we look at it, while calming the composition through the creation of patterns and their repetition, taking on a meditative character and opening up the sensory space of the painting. By surrendering to the senses, we can easily reject the pictorial elements and the composition of the image, enter an Et(h)ernity and spontaneously open the way through the exhibition Walkabout by artist Radovan Kunić.

The artworks presented in gallery space are two paintings and one installation that includes a combination of over a hundred small formats of oil on wood and video animation, which create a harmonious artistic (outer) and experiential (inner) whole. Realistically depicted objects and scenes from nature represent a part of reality that the artist conveys through impeccable drawing and exceptional knowledge of composition and colour. Using traditional painting technique, he clearly describes what he sees; candles, grass and a sculpture with their recognisable features, and then with an almost imperceptible change of rhythm or contrast of light and shadow, he creates a space in which he connects and balances the opposites, offering us the possibility of free interpretation.           

The sombre tones of the upright and massive columns connected to each other like elephant legs in a mirror are in the painting Memory Guard associated with heaviness and slowness, something that has been accumulating for a long time. This is the memory and the history of the world, but also our personal histories that have accrued. The lighter tones in the background of the columns and another unfinished column provide us with a freshness in anticipation of the time to come and the history we are yet to create. A single burning candle, by the movement of the flame and the constant change of the reflected light, makes it seem as if hundreds are burning. The artist repeats the motif of the burning candle on over a hundred small panels burning in an indeterminate, darkened space. The minimal transitions of light and dark tones refer to the subtle changes that take place in life. Such changes, the nuances of brief events that occur in our inner world, are further emphasised by the video animation, located in a separate room so that we can observe them alone in the glow of the candles. Together with the composition of oil on wood, the video presents the installation by the symbolic title Chamber. All three exhibited works, both individually and as a whole, form a walkabout, a retreat from everyday life into wilderness, into a space where the rules we are used to no longer apply and where we are not confined to a time or place.

Lucija Švob, art historian, 2021.



Mala Galerija, POUP Poreč, 2020.

A multimedial installation „Uncharted“ brings a synergy of painting (canvas and wall), sound and hand-drawn animation. In a fusion, these three elements,  are creating a blockage towards the outside world at the same time opening the door to one hybrid reality. Individually, everything in this work is familiar, almost innate to all of us, but in the combination of this integral elements, an experience of strangeness, surreal; a leap towards the unknown is achieved. A somewhat adventure.

Regarding the motif, the work derives from the experience of nature and its forces/appearances which are always respectable, fascinating, and often awakening the purest feelings inside of us. Beneath the surface of the first impression, discretely infiltrated, are the signs of human existence and action; here, they are not indicating a threat, rather witnessing of a pressence – an echo of unclear ideas, historical residue, human endeavor for discovering and creating of new and „better“ relations.

            This need mirrors in the structure of the work itself- we have a traditionally executed figurative oil painting, in this case extended through the gallery space by decorative wall painting elements; the sounds which fulfill the space, adding a  superstructure, as well as influencing it in a distractive and independent way. The animated part of the installation, in its achromaticity, simplicity and movement, is a counterbalance to the detail-saturated, still painted space. Besides that, it is a place to take a break, spend some time isolated with repetitive, hypnotic-like structure of the video.  

From the relations between different segemts of this work, which vary from harmonic to unstable, and also from the symbolics of the motifs, we can draw a parallel to the relations between human kind and nature as its given habitat, and between an individual and civilisation as well. Considering condition of the society, those relations are complex and unpredictable, and our judgement is clouded in a constant battle of our wish to progress and awareness of our limits as an intelligent but very fragile species.


Radovan Kunć, 2020.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Structures of Disorder

Gallery SC, Zagreb, 2017.


Sunday, June 3, 2018

Collecting of Time

Prsten Gallery, HDLU, Zagreb, 2017.

    The extent of Radovan Kunić’s arrogance is best displayed when he exhibits his paintings. Far below on this imaginary scale of arrogance is the introduction of purple. This is an “urban” purple, very aggressive and it smells like Spite. Maybe he also sees his Big painting “Brown Forest on a Gloomy Day” somewhere on the horizon of the future, the painting which will say Almost Everything through Almost Nothing, about anything people could even wish to think about. A beige and grey scene, plain peaceful forest of dead leaves, with no planes and no counterpoints. Pale and uniform, the most boring forest scenery one can imagine, and yet bursting with powerful appearance, vibrating and flowing in abundance of friable matter charged with existence, etc. In itself, this is the place and time in a forest where ALL OTHER PEOPLE IN THE WORLD would say “But there is nothing there. Why would you want to paint that?”. He is afraid of this painting, he feels that he is not ready, so he tries some other, more feasible ideas, less conceptually and more painterly pompous.

    On this path, which he makes no haste on, some of his paintings sometimes go beyond his intentions, and thus he can delight in them as a general curiosity. In the painting with a bed, of otherwise peaceful, graceful monumentality, there is an extension cord coming out of the frame in the far right, required to turn the decorative lights on (what are decorative lights without a cord anyway?), and the corner on the wall says that he might not have had access to larger spaces with large white walls, but only to these ones, but never mind, “even better”. Besides, what kind of architecture is this? It looks as if the architect was changing his mind, or was sloppy, but just “a
bit”, nothing spectacular, precisely what Croatia is. Contemplating the final result, departing from and approaching this ambivalent, calming-disturbing painting, one can feel something rarely felt spontaneously, i.e. the existential gratitude.

    Not to mystify these already hazy artistic powers, the major part of this energy was simply “painted” with colours through many days of painting. The rest, the 15% of pure cream, the spiritual friction that could not have be predicted, that is the New Horizon, which the artist himself looks forward to, because he is not acquainted with it, and nobody even guarantees him that any horizon will open up, but he has the privilege to see it first, if it happens; and why wouldn’t it if it happened to so many other painters. Besides – it is oil paint on a tight canvas; besides using a 500 year-old painting trick – always mixing tones on a fresh surface (which he does in a stingy, turpentine-like way, but undeniably), there is also the colour itself, which, of course, is bursting with its “innate” beauty, just as on a good instrument one can hit any tone and make it sound well and interesting, not in relation to some other tone, but in relation to silence. After he is finishes a painting, he “gives” it a name, just like people give names to their canaries or tracks without vocals. He did not think that a painting needed a name, but one should not be stingy, they say. He “adds” to it, on that account, a name, and thus the painting itself and its title do not mutually explain each other. The title of the painting will help some to start contemplating, but the ones not interested in words at the painting exhibition, will be able to experience everything “they should”.

At the same time similar and opposed to Peter Handke’s dark mind from “A Moment of True Felling”, whose obsessions with accidentally gathered “trivial” objects turn out to be the bearers of false hope after the initial elation, Radovan “just loves” the objects, so he “appreciates” them in front of us by painting them. In the middle of the painting process he also starts to love the paintings itself, and he also loves when others love that painting, so the possible joy is simple and plausible. Maybe he received a letter once, opened it and saw it was empty. He thought to himself “but there is nothing”, still holding something in his hands. He realized that the envelope itself is a “great” paper work: each envelope, including this one, contains the total history of solving that problem THUS FAR, everything is in a perfectly rational order, there is no added likeability, nobody is trying to trick anyone, all in all an easily achieved social consensus on an obviously satisfactory idea-design concept; only the tip of the triangle is slightly curved, the eye can rest there, it is good, it is great. A proper little feast of forms. Looking up, he noticed a thin white cover high on a white wall, he sensed a small covered niche, filled with unorganized loop of flat black cables tied together with yellow and green duct tape, and he was pleased. After all, of all the problems in this world, it is up to him to produce a flat object-painting, which should “evoke” some relatively rare feeling in people, pleasant if possible, in a broader sense, which could satisfy anyone, just as any good radiator heats all the people in the waiting room, he thought to himself in a literary sense and started painting a larger painting, giving up on the watermelon scene*.

(*We cannot understand why he gave up on the watermelon, but we do not even know why he wanted to paint it in the first place, and so our regret for what has not been painted is redundant, even rude. The fact that all the painters of this world by the end of the total available time for painting will not have painted more than a fraction of what “should be” painted, for him and the ones like him is a major conceptual problem, and requires a certain self-darkening of the mind, in order to finally start from something, which is a key precondition to create anything. Isn’t this the only difference among people – some start “from one end” and the others do nothing.)

Bruno Velčić, MA in Visual Arts

Monday, October 31, 2016

Not far from the truth

Three paintings made during four weeks staying at Gloart residency, Lanaken, Belgium. "Not far from th truth" 1,2 and 3. I started without a plan, but in the end it all became connected in a way.

"Not far from the truth 1", 120x100 cm

"not far from the truth 2", 190x115 cm

"Not far from the truth 3", 90x125 cm