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(E,H) Anton Cetin - A Universe of Flow-Through
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  01/12/2003 | People | Unrated
(E,H) Anton Cetin - A Universe of Flow-Through
Distributed by CroatianWorld

 

Anton Cetin

more art on: www.antoncetin.com 

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Univerzum odredjen protokom

Anton Cetin je zaokruzivsi planetarni opus, Zagreb-Pariz-Toronto, ostavio ujednacen umjetnicki trag. Ishodiste ovome opusu je u klasi Alberta Kinerta i Marijana Detonija
na Akadmiji likovnih umjetnosti u Zagrebu. Upijajuci na izvorima umjetnost druge polovice XX stoljeca umjetnik je u Parizu 1966, u skladu sa svojim izricajem, modificirao informacije o enformelu, modificirao je svojevrsnu klaustrofobiju enformela, unoseci u kadar nesto od simbolicke prostornosti nadrealizma, i strukturalnosti art-bruta. Potom je na novom odredistu u Kanadi, u Torontu gdje zivi od 1968. godine, na autorskoj podlozi definiranoj u Zagrebu i Parizu razvijao samosvojne simbolicke inacice srcolikih glava, graficki odredjenih jednostavnim gotovo piktografski citljivim simbolicnim elementima reda ili nereda. Te su inacice ili sheme u raznim fazama ovoga umjetnickog trajanja prociscene do apstrktne forme koja potresa promatraca dubokim i tananim znacenjem linearne seizmografije. Upotrebili smo izraz seizmografija jer osebujna linearnost Cetinovog crteza govori o tektonici jednog snaznog likovnoga autorstva sa davnim korjenima u cvrsto i gusto odredjenome kadru. Kasnije ce umjetnik opsesivno varirajuci motiv glave zene sa pticom perpetuirati mogucnosti linearnog protoka zapisanog u motivu sto je postalo zastitnim znakom ne samo Cetinovog opusa nego Cetinovog univerzuma. Slikar je tako slijedeci «tajni znak» ugradjen u prvu sliku, tada jos tesko uocljivi znak autenticnosti, svojom interpretacijom simbola hrabro oslobadjao do banalnosti istroseni motiv. Tako je i vlastiti rukopis oslobodio tajne. Ako je u vizualno savrsenstvo dorskoga ili jonskoga stupa kao tajna ugradjena nepravilnost, takozvani enthasis, mozemo kazati da se Cetin, gotovo cijeloga umjetnickog zivota bavi ponajvecma enthasisom, cineci vidljivim nevidljiva mjesta nepravilnosti. Tako povecavajuci mali nepravilni autenticni pomak, onu apstraktnu liniju koja, na tocno odredjenom mjestu nesavrsenoscu ispravlja dovrseno Cetin gradi medjuprostor kao vlasiti Univerzum. I na tom tragu njegovi simboli postaju piktogrami sto uocavamo i u najnovijim ciklusima crteza podastrtih prvi put ovdje u Galeriji DAR u Rijeci.

Mjesto tajne


Walter Benjamin ce u malim proznim zapisima pod nazivom Sjene podneva, otkriti mjesto tajne, tajnu autorstva, mjesto koje izdvaja umjetnicko djelo od proizvodnje, i dalje, koje ga izdvaja od ostatka svijeta. Dakle pod naslovom Tajni znak Benjamin prica pricu, na sloju druge price, slaze kratku proznu formu: Prepricavaju se ove Schulerove rijeci, kaze Benjamin, Svaka spoznaja u sebi sadrzi i trunak apsurda. Anticki motivi na tepisima ili ornamenti na frizu uvijek pomalo otstupaju od jednoobraznoga savrsenstva. I to nam govori kako kretanje u potrazi za spoznajom, kretanje od velike spoznaje do jos vece spoznaje, nijeuvijek presudno za umjetnicka istrazivanja i nalazenja. Presudna moze biti nekakva tanana napuklina, nepravilnost. Ona je neprimjetan znak autenticnosti.
Promatram rane slike Antona Cetina: «Macke» iz 1955, ulje na platnu, «Mladence» iz 1958, vodena boja, i «Djevojku sa pticom» iz 1959. takodjer ulje na platnu, i primjecujem rane znakove autenticnosti. Nije pretjerano kazati, svi motivi, svi karakteristicni obrisi, sva simbolicka mjesta ovoga opusa izvedena su iz tri spomenute slike. Srcolika glava macke kao srcolika glava Eve, nepravilna srcolika forma dviju glava sljubljenih u profilu i anfasu, nadalje, sa tockama dodira u krivuljama koje teku prema buketu cvijeca. Napokon, treca Cetinova slika sa ranim znakovima autenticnosti odredjena je lijepim, naizgled konvencionalnim, motivom djevojke i ptice koji u nepravilnosti haljine, u tamnom toku ruba te halje navjescuje sva buduca linearna pretakanja Cetinovih likovnih inacica. Najavljuje sve one zakrivljene tako prirodne, tako glatke tokove koji iz kadra u kadar Cetinov opus otvaraju uvijek novoj «nepravilnosti» uvijek novom tajnom mjestu. Zaista sve je izvedeno iz spomenutih slika koje sa velikom prciznoscu navodi i monografija Antona Cetina uz tekst Davida Burnetta iz 1986. godine. David Burnett o Cetinovom zagrebackom razdoblju 1955-66, o vremenu umjetnikovog formiranja, njegovim ranim crtezima i slikama pise: Vecina crteza iz toga razdoblja sadrze ono nesto sto mogu opisati jedino kao vizualiziranu klaustrofobiju: figure se hitno zele osloboditi ali sputava ih prostor u kojem egzistiraju. Potom Burnett izdvaja upravo «Djevojku s pticom» iz 1959. koja je kompozicijski izgradjena na kontrastu djevojcine glave i ptice dok se u donjoj, drugoj polovici slike dogadja dijagonalno otvaranje prostora slike k drukcijem apstraktnom poimanju prostora. I sve ce to: oprostorenost u beskraju, otvorenost linearnome toku, uz motiv zene i ptice, Eve i ptice-cvijeta (p)ostati trajnim simbolima Cetinovog slikarstva. Otuda tako prirodan odnos djevojke i ptice, kompozicijska i dijaloska otvorenost o kojoj pise David Burnett. Cetin je u «nepravilnosti» toka djevojcine haljine, u otstupanju od klaustrofobne zadanosti enformela otkiro «tajno mjesto», autenticno mjesto svojega autorstva koje traje i onda kada u vlastiti Univerzum unosi signalizaciju kao elemente nereda. «Universe Disturbed» ciklus crteza nastalih u razdoblju od 1999-2000 odredjen je novim inacicama, novim piktogramima koji simboliziraju upravo elemente nereda i na tom tragu umjetnik autorstvo prosiruje na nova autenticna mjesta primjerena uhodanoj, gotovo spacijalno glatkoj liniji.


O simbolu


Cetinova je slika svedena na cetiri simbola. Tu su tri uocljiva simbola - zena, ptica i cvijet a cetvrto simbolicko mjesto je doslovce mjesto: to je neograniceni prostor slike u kojem levitiraju i zena i ptica i cvijet. Ovaj je prostor tesko definirati rijecnikom likovne umjetnosti, jer nije pozadina, nije perspektiva, nije iluzija. Ipak, definira ga podloga, povrsina papira ili platna koja takvom i ostaje: neogranicena, bez ovako ili onako zacrtane dubine, bez pokusaja simulacije beskraja, cak bez elemenata koji odredjuju dole i gore desno i lijevo. Prostor u Cetina ostaje neogranicen kao Univerzum, ostaje definiran onom samo Cetinovskom linearnoscu koja je, eto, postala pojam i koja oslobadja simbol., prati ga do pretvorbe u piktogram.
Osebujan izraz Antona Cetina odredjen je, kazali smo, linearno koncipiranim pikturalnim sazecima, kozmickim sazecima sabranim u simbolima koji nose lapidarnu vedrinu. Stoga ih u planetarnom korpusu suvremene umjetnosti prepoznajemo kao – Cetinovu simbolicku sintaksu. Bit njegovoga opusa mozda mozemo odrediti naslovom jednog Cetinovog antologijskog rada koji navodi Hrvatska likovna enciklopedija: Eva u crvenom sa svojim duhovnim simbolom. A Evini duhovni simboli su u, Cetinovoj interpretaciji, i cvijet i ptica, nerijetko spojeni u jedno, u pticu-cvijet. To su mjesta prepoznavanja savrsenstva, prepoznavanja duhovne veze neba i zemlje. Cvijet je svojom pojavnoscu otslik savrsenstva, geometrijski, on je u progresivnoj simetriji ona tocka u prostoru koja sublimira i projicira savrsenstvo. Dakle cvijet mozemo tumaciti i kao umanjenicu rajskoga vrta, kao hortus conclusus. U Cetinovom slikarstvu on je simbol duse i zasigurno projicira sklad koji je vladao u praiskonu, u Rajskome vrtu. Uz stilizaciju cvijeta u ovom isjecku univerzuma, kako jos mozemo nazvati Cetinove kadrove, cesto nalazimo pticu koja posreduje izmedju neba i zemlje sabire naravno i nadnaravno. Cvijet - Anima i ptica- Animus doslovce levitiraju u Unoverzumu slike bez okvira.

Lilijana Domic

A Universe of Flow -Through

By rounding up his artistic opus on a planetary voyage from Zagreb to Paris to Toronto, Anton Cetin has left us an even artistic trail in his wake. At the root of this opus are classes with Albert Kinert and Marijan Detoni at the Art Academy in Zagreb. Drinking from the sources of the second half of the 20th century art in Paris in 1966, Cetin, in harmony with his means of expression, modified information on informel, certain claustrophobia of informel, introducing some of the space symbolism of surrealism, and structural features of art-brut. Then, at his new quarters in Canada, in Toronto, where he has been living ever since 1968, and by using the artistic background defined in Zagreb and Paris, he has kept developing symbolic variations of the heart-shaped heads, graphically defined by almost pictographic symbolical elements of order or disorder. Those varieties or schemes have been purged, at various stages of his career, to an abstract form which shocks the viewer with its deep and rarified communication of linear seismography. The word seismography has been used on purpose, as the quaint linearity of Cetin’s drawing speaks of tectonic force of a powerful visual authorship with roots planted far back in a firm and densely defined cadre. Later, while obsessively varying the motif of a female head with a bird, the artist would perpetuate a possibility of a linear flow-through written into the motif which has become a hallmark of both Cetin’s artistic opus, and of his Universe. By pursuing the “secret sign” written into the first painting, yet not quite obviously a sign of authenticity, the painter would, thorough his reinterpretation of the symbol, boldly deliver the apparently used up motif from banality. Delivering, at the same time, his own handwriting from secrets. If the visual perfection of a Doric or an Ionic column is based on the enthasis, we may say that Cetin has spent his entire life dealing in enthasis, making invisible spots of irregularity visible. By enlarging small irregular and yet authentic shifts, that abstract line which at a precisely determined spot corrects, through its own irregularity, the finished forms, Cetin keeps building the in-between space as his Universe. On that path his symbols turn into pictograms, so evident in the newest drawings shown for the first time in the DAR Gallery exhibition in Rijeka.

The Locus of Secret

Walter Benjamin has discovered, in small prose notes entitled The Noon Shadows, the locus of secret, the secret of authorship; briefly, the point which separates art work from industry, and, further on, from the rest of the world. Thus under the title of A Secret Sign Benjamin tells a story overlaying another story, putting together a brief prose sketch: We retell the words by Schuler, Benjamin says. Every insight contains a bit of absurd. Ancient motifs on carpets or frieze ornaments always step just a little bit away from uniform perfection. And this informs us that a move in search of understanding or a move from a simple to a more complex insight is not always essential in the process of artistic searching and founding. A thin crack, a tiny irregularity may prove crucial, as an imperceptible sign of authenticity.
I view early Cetin’s works, such as “The Cats” (oil on canvass, 1955), “The Newlyweds” (watercolor, 1958), and “The Girl with a Bird” (oil on canvass, 1959), and I notice early signs of authenticity. It is no exaggeration to say that all motifs, all characteristic outlines, and all symbolic places of this opus derive from those three paintings. The heart-shaped head of Eve, an irregular heart shape of two heads joined in profile and en face, as well as the curves which from the juncture points flow toward the bouquet of flowers. And the third Cetin’s painting listed above, also bearing signs of early authenticity is defined first of all by a handsome, apparently unconventional motif of a girl and a bird announcing in the irregularities of the dress, in the dark flow of its hem, all future linear cross-flows of Cetin’s visual repertoire. It announces those entire curving but so natural, so smooth flows which from frame to frame open up Cetin’s work to ever novel “irregularities”, to a newly found Locus of Secret. Indeed, everything derives from those three paintings which have been, keenly, singled out by Cetin’s monograph from 1986 (text by David Burnett). Writing about Cetin’s Zagreb Period (1955-1966), his formative years, and his early paintings and drawings, Burnett says: Most of the drawings from that time contain something I can only describe as visual claustrophobia; figures are looking for a quick delivery but they are bound by space in which they exist. And Burnett quotes exactly “The Girl with the Bird” from 1959, built upon a compositional contrast of the girl’s head and the bird, while in the lower section we witness a diagonal opening up of space toward a different abstract spatial conception. All this – spatiality of the infinite, openness to linear flow-through, along with the motifs of woman and bird, of Eve and bird-flower, would become and remain permanent symbolic material of Cetin’s painting. This is the source of the ever so natural relationship of the girl and the bird, and the compositional openness as well as an openness of dialogue emphasized by Burnett. In the “irregularity” of the girl’s dress, in stepping away from the claustrophobic determination of informel, Cetin has discovered the “secret place,” the authentic place of his art which continues even when he introduces signals of disorder. “The Universe Disturbed,” a cycle of drawings created in 1999-2000, is determined by new variations, new pictograms symbolizing disorder expending his art toward new places of authenticity compatible with well-oiled, almost spatially smooth line.



About Symbols

A Cetin painting can be reduced to four symbols. Three of them obvious – woman, bird, flower, whereas the fourth symbolic place is literally a place, i.e., the unlimited picture space in which the woman, the bird, and the flower levitate. This space can hardly be defined by the language of visual arts, as it is neither background, nor perspective, nor illusion. Still, it is defined by a background, the surface of paper or canvass which remains what it was: endless, without any indication of depth, without any attempt to simulate infinity, even without elements which distinguish the left from the right, above from beneath. Cetin’s space remains unlimited, just like the Universe, or it is defined only by Cetin’s linearity, which has become a concept liberating the symbol in this process accompanying it until it turns into a pictogram.
Anton Cetin’s peculiar expression is defined, as we have stated, by summing up the symbols, cosmic summaries conveying lapidary serenity. Therefore, within the planetary corpus of contemporary art we recognize them as Cetin’s symbolic syntax. The essence of his opus may be defined by an anthological work listed by the Croatian Encyclopedia of Visual Arts: Eve in red with her spiritual symbol. Eve’s spiritual symbols are, in Cetin’s interpretation, both flower and bird, not infrequently joined in one as a flower-bird. These are the points of recognition of perfection, of spiritual links between the land and the sky. The flower is, formally, a reflection of perfection, geometrically speaking it is in terms of progressive symmetry that point in space which sublimates and projects perfection. Therefore a flower could be interpreted as a diminutive Garden of Paradise, or Hortus Conclusus. In Cetin’s art it is a symbol of the soul, and it undoubtedly projects the harmony which existed in the primordial Garden – of Eden. Along with stylized flowers in this Cutout from Paradise, another name we may attach to Cetin’s work, we often find a bird mediating between Heaven and Earth, summing up both the natural and the supernatural. The Flower – the Anima, and the Bird – the Animus, literally levitate within a Universe of a frameless picture.


Lilijana Domic 


Indeks i karika Antona Cetina

Pisuci o djelu hrvatsko-kanadskog slikara Antona Cetina, jedan od doajena hrvatske umjetnicke kritike 20. stoljeca, Josip Depolo, primijetio je da je “Cetinova emigrantska sudbina” mozda “povremeno i odalecila autora od ‘old countryja’”, ali Cetin nije “brisan iz indeksa hrvatskih umjetnika... On ostaje neodvojivi suputnik ove povijesti. Cetinovi ce sazeti poetski simboli u poglavlju purizma hrvatske figuracije predstavljati kariku koja je nedostajala u europskom kontinuitetu (novije) hrvatske umjetnosti”.
U drugoj godini treceg milenija, nakon gotovo nezamislivih drustvenih i politickih promjena u Europi poslije pada Berlinskog zida, a posebice na ovim nasim prostorima, vrijedi u casu najnovijeg pogleda na pola stoljeca umjetnickog djelovanja Antona Cetina barem ukratko razmisliti o tim indeksima i karikama koje nam nudi lucidni Depolov uvid.
Rodjen u Bojani kraj Cazme 1936. Cetin, nakon umjetnickog skolovanja u Zagrebu, odlazi u Francusku 1966., dakle kao zreo covjek, tridesetgodisnjak, da bi se dvije godine kasnije upustio u veliku avanturu odlaska “zauvijek” na drugi planet koji se zove Sjeverna Amerika (Kanada). Sto covjeka, a posebice stvaratelja, navodi da napusti vlastiti kraj, gdje su boje, kako u vezi Cetina pise Milan Ivanisevic, ipak najljepse? Neki nedostatak – slobode, prostora, kretanja – ili pak neko negativno obilje drustvenih, politickih, ekonomskih i kulturnih ogranicenja? I, nakon odlaska i dugotrajnog odsustva da li je takav umjetnik “izgubljen za Hrvatsku” kako je u slucaju Maksimilijana Vanke mislio Grgo Gamulin, ili ipak pripada tom nasem “indeksu” kako to vjeruje Depolo?
Odlicja, casti i pohvale koje Cetin stjece u Kanadi jasno pokazuju da je on umjetnik kanadskog “mainstreama”, koji koristi jezik razumljiv publici tog “mainstreamea”, odnosno univerzalini jezik umjetnosti (“Cetinovo djelo je slavljenje – svemira i beskonacnosti, ljubavi i mita, nadahnuca i sjecanja”, pise kanadski kriticar, Gordon McLennan), ili, ako se zelimo izraziti kroz negaciju, nije umjetnik koji barata nekim uskim, etnickim, “hrvatskim” vokabularom, ukratko jezikom kica. Dakle, prvi indeks koji prepoznajemo je jezik univerzalne umjetnosti, opceljudskih tema, “duhovne istine” (McLennan). I upravo taj univerzalni indeks omogucuje da se Cetina sa zanimanjem, uzitkom i veseljem “cita” kako u Kanadi, tako u Hrvatskoj i u desecima drugih zemalja u kojima je izlagao – od Tokija do Bruxellesa, od Melbourna do New Yorka.
Stvaranje suvremene suverene Republike Hrvatske otvorilo je mogucnost novih pogleda na onu drugu polovicu hrvatskog narodnog bica koje se vec vise od dva stoljeca iseljava, uglavnom u zemlje Prekomorja. Iako te mogucnosti jos nisu niti izbliza sagledane (a manifestacije poput ove izlozbe skromni su koraci prema njihovom postepenom sagledavanju), jasno je da se unutar tog opce-hrvatskog globala namece novi indeks koji je bio nemoguc u casu kad se Depolo zagledao u Cetinovo djelo. A to je indeks Globalne Hvatske i njene kulture. Kako bi preciznije odredili mjesto Cetina u tom indeksu, pozabavimo se i drugom kategorijom koju sugerira Josip Depolo, karikom u lancu.
Cetin stize u sjvernoamericko ozracje u casu dok se jos osjecaju zracenja velikog “prodora” americke umjetnosti u vidu apstraktnog ekspresionizma i njegovih istaknutih teoreticara Clementa Greenberga i Meyera Schapira. Cetin dolazi u casu kad se taj svijet americke moderne pocinje urusavti pod pritiskom postmoderne u vidu Pop-Arta (kako ukazuje Francis Frascina). No dali se u slucaju Antona Cetina uopce smije zazivati pojave i pojmove koje smo upravo izustili? I nije li Cetin usao u taj svijet naizgled kao slijeditelj u Sjevernoj Americi javno osumnjicenog nadrealizma? No asocijacije na Miroa i Kleea su izrazito povrsne. I ustvari je zacudjujuce koliko Greenbergova temeljna postavka (jos 1940 u anticipaciji Pollocka et co. u klasicnom tekstu “Toward a Newer Laocoon”) vazi i za Cetina u jednom kasnijem razdoblju i potpuno (?) drugacijem jeziku oblika, t.j. da “cista” poezija tezi k beskonacnoj sugestiji, a “cista” likovnost minimalnoj. Odnosno, da se u likovnoj umjetnosti nema sta citati u smislu literarnog sadrzaja, vec se “sve treba osjetiti”. Greenberg bi u tom kontekstu zacijelo zapljeskao Cetinovom konceptu prostora, jer za velikog americkog teoreticara, slika postaje sve to vise slikom sto odbacuje pokusaje da se prostor “produbi”. A Cetin stvara ples oblika u prostoru koji to nije, odnosno koji je i beskrajna praznina, i ploha i svjetlo. Kapa dolje Depolu i njegovoj opasci o “purizmu”.
Desetak godina prije Cetinovog prispjeca u Sjevernu Ameriku, Meyer Schapiro je upozorio u seminalnom tekstu “The Liberating Quality of Avant-Garde Art”, da je umjetnost kao rijetko koja ljudska djelatnost ostala u domeni rucne proizvodnje pojedinacnog izradjivaca. Stvorivsi lik Eve u Parizu 1967. Cetin krece na put jedne fascinantne “industrije” oblika. To je zaista jedinstvena “karika” kako primijecje Depolo. No ona mozda i nije toliko fascinantna u uskom formalnom smislu, vec po svojoj slobodi – slobodi od “proslosti” (sto bi takodjer izazvalo pohvale Greenberga i Schapira). Iako se tesko u Cetinov opus moze ucitati postojanje – paralelno – Pop Arta, ipak mi se cini da je Cetin na neki nacin, u svojoj suptilnoj i vrlo konzekventnoj logici, jasno izrazio slobodu post-moderne, koju smo vec prozvali “slobodom od proslosti”. Cetinova vizija je i “fragmentirana” vizija post-moderne, no stjece visoku koherentnost jer se, da se vratimo McLennanu, “bavi duhovnom istinom,”, i jer Cetin “stvara jer nema izbora”.
Cetin, dakle, presjeca nekoliko “indeksa” – hrvatski, sjevnernoamericki, svjetski te -- od posebnog znacenja za nas -- globalno-hrvatski, posebnu inacicu indeksa vrijednosti koje pripadaju (i) nama, a koje jos cekaju sustavnu kriticko-povijesnu obradu. U tom lancu koji se polako kuje pred nasim ocima, slikarstvo Antona Cetina predstavljati ce zacijelo jednu od vrlo vaznih karika.

Vladimir P. Goss 

Anton Cetin: Index and Link 

Contemplating the oeuvre of Anton Cetin, a doyen of Croatian art criticism of the 20th century, Josip Depolo, wrote: “Cetin’s emigrant fate may have severed him from the old country from time to time,” but “in no case has he been erased from the index of Croatian artists and from the history of contemporary Croatian art. He remains its inseparable companion. Cetin’s concentrated poetic symbols are going to represent a link in the chapter on purism in Croatian figuration, which has been lacking in the European continuity of (recent) Croatian art.”
In the second year of the third millennium, after almost unthinkable political and social change in the Post-Berlin Wall Europe, and in particular in our region, it may be worth one’s while, at the moment of this new look at Cetin’s art, to at least briefly consider the categories of “index” and “link” lucidly singled out by Mr. Depolo.
Born at Bojana near Cazma in 1936, Cetin, after art school in Zagreb, leaves for France in 1966, a mature man of thirty, to make another move, two years later, by crossing the Ocean to “another planet” called North America (Canada). What makes a man, or, in particular, an artist, leave his homeland where “colors are most beautiful” as in the case of Cetin wrote Milan Ivanisevic? A lack of freedom, space, movement? Or some negative abundance of social, political, economic, and cultural limitations? And, after this departure and a prolonged absence is such an artist “lost to Croatia”, as Grgo Gamulin maintained in the case of Maksimilijan Vanka; or does he after all belong to “our index” as Depolo believed?
Awards, prizes, and honors Cetin has received in Canada clearly show him as an artist of the Canadian mainstream, using a language understood by the mainstream public, i.e., the universal language of art (“Cetin’s work is a celebration – of the universe and infinity, of love and myth, of inspiration and memory”, as Gordon McLennan, a Canadian art critic, has stated); or, if we wish to put this in negative terms, Cetin does not operate within an ethnic, “Croatian” vocabulary, briefly a vocabulary of kitsch. The first index we thus identify is that of universal art, of universal themes, of “spiritual truth” (McLennan). And it is exactly that index that makes it possible to “read” Cetin with joy, interest, and pleasure in Canada, in Croatia, and in a dozen other countries where he has exhibited – from Tokyo to Brussels, from Melbourne to New York.
The creation of the new, sovereign Republic of Croatia has opened a possibility of new insights into that other half of Croatian national being which has been moving, for over two centuries, abroad, primarily overseas. Although this possibility has not yet been fully realized (and exhibitions such as this one are a step toward its gradual realization), it is quite clear that within this new concept of Croatian global presence, a new index, unthinkable at the time of Depolo’s writing, has been imposing itself. The index of a Global Croatia and its culture. In order to more precisely determine Cetin’s place on that index, we should consider the other category offered by Depolo – the link in a chain.
Cetin arrived at the North American art scene at the moment when one still felt the radiation of the powerful breakthrough of American art in the form of Abstract Expressionism, and its august theoreticians, Clement Greenberg and Meyer Schapiro. He arrives, however, when this world starts to crumble under the pressure of Post-Modernism in the form of Pop-Art (as observed by Francis Frascina). But may we in the case of Anton Cetin invoke such phenomena and concepts at all? And did not Cetin enter that world as, apparently, a follower of surrealism, proscribed in North America? But associations to Miro and Klee are clearly superficial. And it is truly amazing to what extent Greenberg’s basic tenet (adopted in anticipation of Pollock and co. already in 1940 in his classic text “Toward a Newer Laocoon”) applies also to Cetin, namely, that “’pure’ poetry strives for infinite suggestion, ‘pure’ plastic art for the minimum.” Or, that in plastic arts there is nothing to “read” in a sense of literary content, but “everything (is) to feel.” In that context, Greenberg would surely applaud Cetin’s concept of space, as for the great American theoretician, a painting becomes more of a painting as it resists attempts to “hole through” it. Cetin creates a dance of forms in a space which is no space at all in a traditional sense of the word, but both a void, a plane, and light. One is bound to bow to Depolo’s insight on “purism.”
Some ten years before Cetin’s arrival at North America, Meyer Schapiro warned, in his seminal text “The Liberating Quality of Avant-Garde Art,” that art, as opposed to most other human activities, has remained within the domain of hand-made production of an individual maker. Having created the image of “Eve” in Paris in 1967, Cetin has embarked on a fascinating “industry” of forms. This is truly a very specific “link,” as stated by Depolo. Maybe not so fascinating in a narrow formal sense, but in its freedom, a freedom “from the past” (which would have also pleased both Greenberg and Schapiro). Although it would be difficult to read into Cetin’s opus a parallel existence of Pop-Art, it still seems to me that Cetin, following his subtle but consistent logic, has clearly declared the freedom of Post-Modernism, which we have already called “a freedom from the past.” Cetin’s vision may be also a “fragmentary,” Post-Modernist vision, but it is marked by a high degree of coherence as it deals, to return to McLennan, “in spiritual truth,” and as Cetin creates “because he has no choice.”
Cetin thus cuts across several indexes – Croatian, North American, Universal, and, which is of a special importance for ourselves – a Global Croatian index, a special version of an index of values which are (also) ours, and which are awaiting a more thorough historical and critical review. In that chain which is slowly being put together in front of our eyes, the art of Anton Cetin will surely represent a link of great importance.

Vladimir P. Goss



ANTON CETIN je rodjen u Bojani kraj Cazme 18.rujna, 1936. Interest za umjetnost pokazuje od ranih dana, te u Zagrebu polazi Skolu primijenjene umjetnosti gdje diplomira slikarstvo u klasi prof. Ivana Sebalja 1959. Nstavlja studij na Akademiji likovnih umjetnosti u Zagrebu (1959-64) te diplomira grafiku u klasi Marijana Detonija. Po prvi put posjecuje Pariz 1964, gdje se i nastanjuje 1966. Lik Eve nastaje u Parizu 1967., a 1968. Cetin se upusta u novu pustolovinu, prijelaz preko Ocena i trajni smjestaj u Kanadi (Toronto). 1975. objavljuje prvu graficku mapu, Eva i mjesec, a 1988. zajedno s hrvatskim pjesnikom Stjepanom Seseljem pjesnicko-graficku mapu Amerika Croatan America. Zajedno su primljeni u audijenciju kod Svetog Oca Pape Ivana Pavla II 1989. O Cetinovom slikarstvu snimljena su dva filma, u Njemackoj 1990. i u Torontu 1993. Njegova je djela izbarao 2001. ugledni Circulo del Arte u Barceloni.
Medju castima koje su mu ukazane navodimo susret s kanadskim premijerom, Pierre Eliott Trudeauom (1976.) i proglasenje umjetnikom godine Kanadsko-hrvatskog drustva umjetnika (1987.). Opsezna monografija izdana je u Zagrebu 1986. Nositelj je hrvatskih drzavnih odlicja Reda Danice Hrvatske s likom Marka Marulica i Reda Hrvatskog Pletera.
Do sada je odrzao vise od 80 samostalnih izlozbi, te sudjelovao u vise od 150 skupnih. Djela mu se nalaze u istaknutim muzejsko-galerijskim ustanovama sirom svijeta. Galerija Antona Cetina otvorena je u Cazmi 2001.

ANTON CETIN was born in Bojana near Cazma in Northwestern Croatia on September 18, 1936. From an early age on he displayed an interest in art, and he enrolled in the Arts and Crafts School in Zagreb where he took his degree in the class of Professor Ivan Sebalj in 1959. He continued his studies at the Art Academy of Zagreb (1959-1964), and graduated in graphic arts in the class of Professor Marijan Detoni. Cetin visited Paris for the first time in 1964, and he settled there in 1966. The image of “Eve” was born in Paris in 1967. Cetin embarked on a new adventure in 1968 when he crossed the Ocean and settled in Canada (Toronto). He published his first graphic series, Eve and the Moon in 1975, and in 1988, in cooperation with the Croatian poet, Stjepan Seselj, he produced a map Amerika Croatan America. Both authors were received by the Holy Father Pope John Paul II in Rome in 1989. Cetin’s paintings were the topic of two movies, one in Germany (1990), another one in Toronto (1993). His works were selected by the prestigious Circulo del Arte in Barcelona in 2001.
Among honors Cetin has received we single out his meeting with the Prime Minister of Canada Pierre Eliott Trudeau in 1976, and his selection as the Artist of the Year of the Croatian-Canadian Art Association in 1987. A comprehensive monograph was published in Zagreb in 1986. Cetin has received two Croatian state decorations – the Order of the Croatian Danica with the Image of Marko Marulic, and the Order of Croatian Interlace.
So far he has had more than 80 one-man exhibitions, and he has also participated in more than 150 group exhibitions. The Anton Cetin Gallery was opened in his native Cazma in 2001.

Odabrane samostalne izlozbe / Selected One-Man Exhibitions

1968. Paris, Atelier E. Noel
1974. Tokyo, Isetan Gallery
          Bruxelles, Galerie Le Creuset
          Toronto, The Hart House Art Gallery
1975. Zürich, Galerie Krause
1977. Los Angeles, Canadian Consulate General
1979. Mexico, D.F., Galeria Juan Martin
1981. Mannheim, Mannheimer Abendakademie
          Bogotŕ, Salon XX
1982. New York, Art Expo NY
1983. Chicago, Gilman Galleries
1986. Zagreb, Muzej za umjetnost i obrt
          Frankfurt, Frankfurter Buch Messe
          Toronto, Joseph D. Carrier Art Gallery
1987. Toronto, Galerie Evan
          Bonn, St. Johan und Petrus
1988. Zagreb, Nacionalna i sveucilisna biblioteka
1989. Dubrovnik, Galerija Dubrava
1990. Passau, Oberhausmuseum
          Hamburg, Kunst Hamburg ‘90
1991. Tokyo, Sony Plaza Art Gallery
1992. Tokyo, Sony Building Art Gallery
          Stuttgart, Galerie Experiment
          Seattle, Michael Pierce Gallery
1993. Hong Kong, Gallery 7
          Mexico, D. F., Canadian Embassy
          Mexico, D. F., Museo del Chopo
          Mexico, D. F., Academia de San Carlos
1994. Buenos Aires, Salas Nacionales de Cultura-Palais de Glace
1995. Mar del Plata, Museo Municipal de Arte Juan Carlos Castagnino
1996. Zagreb, Muzejsko-galerijski centar Gradec
1997. Capetown, Peter Wisser Gallery
1998. Varazdin, Galerija starih i novih majstora
          Split, Galerija umjetnina
          Siroki brijeg, Franjevacka galerija
          Mostar, Umjetnicka galerija kraljice Katarine Kosace
1999. Karlovac, Galerija Vjekoslav Karas i Galerija Doma oruzanih snaga RH
2000. Osijek, Galerija likovnih umjetnosti i galerija Waldinger
          Calw, Hermann Hesse Museum

Odabrane zbirke/Selected Collections

Zagreb, Muzej za umjetnost i obrt
Zagreb, MGC Klovicevi dvori
Zagreb, Nacionalna i sveucilisna biblioteka
Split, Galerija umjetnina
Varazdin, Gradski muzej
Ottawa, National Library of Canada
Toronto, Ontario Collection
Toronto, Council for Business and Arts in Canada
Calgary, Esso Resources Canada
Dearborn, University of Michigan
Princeton, Princeton University
Mexico City, Museo del Chopo
Mexico City, Academia de San Carlos
Bogotŕ, Salon XX
Buenos Aires, Salas Nacionales-Palais de Glace
Vatican, Vatican Collections
Paris, Bibliothčque Nationale
Passau, Oberhausmuseum
Lodz, Bureau of Art Exhibition Collection
Tokyo, UNESCO Art Educational League
Tokyo, Sony Plaza
Barcelona, Circulo del Arte

To purchase Anton Cetin's art log on: www.antoncetin.com 

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