Exhibition concept by: Vesna Leiner, Aleksandra Bugar
Duration: 15 April – 8 May, 2022
After the exhibition “Touching art - Mladen Mikulin” in 2021 was visited by many Zagreb residents and foreign visitors, the exhibition was also hosted at the Vukovar Municipal Museum. In 2022 the exhibition is on display in Opatija, at the “Juraj Šporer” Art Pavilion. The exhibition was jointly organized by the Zagreb City Museum and the Opatija Festival under the auspices of the City of Opatija.
We emphasize that the Touching art exhibition is an inclusive exhibition intended for and adapted to all visitors, including people with disabilities. It is especially intended for people with impaired vision and hearing.
As blind and partially sighted people experience the world around them, including art, tactilely, every sculpture on display can be touched.
The Exhibition actively encourages all visitors to touch the sculptures.
Given that the classic means of experiencing works of art is through the gaze of one’s eyes, the fact that each sculpture can be touched provides diversity. It is precisely this diversity that leads to equality and inclusion.
All visitors have a unique opportunity to experience sculptures of famous Zagreb and Croatian personalities and the legendary musician Jim Morrison on several sensory levels through observation and touch. Only as active observers can we truly feel and understand a work of art.
There are several reasons why we suggested arranging this Exhibition in Zagreb City Museum. The first is the existing long-term collaboration with the artist who produced these sculptures – Mladen Mikulin, a Professor at the Academy of Applied Arts in Rijeka – on Zagreb City Museum’s project 'Info taktilne točke' (‘Tactile Info Points’) – an adaptation of the Museum for blind and partially sighted people. The second reason is that Zagreb City Museum is currently the only Museum in the City of Zagreb and in Croatia that in 2020, for its permanent display, joined the Come-In European Museum Network. Our museum has been recognised as a place open to all social groups, regardless of their abilities, and that it is a cultural institution that permanently encourages accessibility for people with disabilities. The third, and possibly most important reason, is the beauty of the artworks themselves and the stories that are associated with them. The exhibition is accompanied by an exhibition catalogue.
Mladen Mikulin graduated in sculpture in 1986 at the Zagreb Academy of Fine Arts. He has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions, and has won several awards and commendations. Mikulin has produced a number of public monuments within Croatia and abroad.
As a great portait artist, Mikulin made a series of sculptures of people from public life. He most often mentions Jim Morrison as the person who, in his words, ‘determined his life and whose songs instilled him with confidence and courage’.
The choice of sculptures presented in this Exhibition is not accidental. Visitors to the Exhibition can find out the artist’s motivation for producing a particular sculpture, what inspired him and what is the artist’s private relationship with the individual portrayed.
In Opatija you can see sculptures by musicians Jim Morrison, music critic Darko Glavan, actors Ene Begović and Zvomir Črnek, athletes Vilko Sever and Snježana Ušić, General Janko Bobetko, journalist Siniša Glavašević, writers Marko Marulić, Dragutin Tadijanović and Miroslav Krleža, cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, Friar Grga Martić, president Franjo Tuđman and mayor of Zagreb Većeslav Holjevac. Two more busts have been selected for the Opatija exhibition ̶ one by Herman Dalmatin, an important Croatian scientist of the 12th century, originally placed in front of the Pazin College, and the second is a bust of Otto von Habsburg, which was made for the Croatian Paneuropean Union in Zagreb. He was the last heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, a great friend of Croatia in its struggle for independence.