Josip Generalić

Josip Generalić, (Hlebine, 19. veljače 1935. – Koprivnica, 22. prosinca 2004.)

Josip Generalić, klasik Hlebinske škole i hrvatske naive, rođen je 19. veljače 1936. u Hlebinama, u Podravini. Nakon završene osnovne, pohađa Učiteljsku školu u Križevcima, a diplomirao je 1962. na Višoj pedagoškoj školi u Zagrebu. Slikati je počeo početkom pedesetih godina, ugledavši se u oca Ivana. Prvi put izlaže 1954., a samostalno 1959. Radio je kao učitelj u osnovnim školama u Podravini, a potom je nastavnik fizičke kulture u Zagrebu. Sredinom sezdesetih, uz potporu švicarskog galerista Brune Bischofbergera, posve se posvetio slikarstvu i postao profesionalnim umjetnikom. Godine 1998. vratio se u zavičajne Hlebine. Umro je u Koprivnici 22. prosinca 2004.

U prvom stvaralačkom razdoblju slijedi standardnu hlebinsku motiviku i stilistiku, slika podravske ljude, krajeve i idilične prizore seoskog života. Deskriptivan je, predočuje niz anegdotalnih situacija i služi se plošnim kolorističkim tretmanom. U doba traženja vlastitog puta, okušavao se i u djelima nadrealnih i apstraktnih značajki. Pojavivši se na likovnoj sceni istodobno s lvanom Večenajem i Mijom Kovačićem, Generalić mlađi razlikuje se od spomenutih umjetnika time što je napustio rodne Hlebine, školovao se i od 1960. živi i radi u Zagrebu. Prema tomu, on otad više nije bio u neposrednom dodiru sa selom i prirodom, pa je u njegovoj poetici memorijska slika njegovo ishodišno načelo: došljak u grad slika pejzaže i selo svoje mladosti i svoj ih sanja.

Sredinom šezdesetih mijenja tematiku, stilske i poetičke značajke, združuje idealizirane hlebinske prostore i novoosvojeni cvjetni dekor. Od sporednih, cvijeće i cvjetne arabeske postaju središnjom temom njegova slikarstva. Uz niz florealnih elemenata, česti su i erotski naboji: slika brojne kupačice, nage žene bujnih oblika u hedonističkim prizorima. Sve je poopćeno i nadindividualno, oblici su stilizirani i reducirani do znaka, do pojma o predočenome, a prizori često simbolički. U tom razdoblju mijenja i tehniku: sve više slika uljem na platnu i lesonitu, a sve manje na staklu.

Jospi Generalić - from Gallery's collection

Ova florealna faza nedvojbeno je reakcija na sivilo velegrada u kojemu slikar živi; riječ je o nostalgiji za cvjetnim predjelima djetinjstva, reminiscencijama na Hlebine i rodni krajolik. U njemu naime i nadalje snažno pulsira legenda o “sretnom dobu” i “prirodnom životu”. Zato i podravske pejzaže pretvara u arkadijske, irealne vedute: slika blaženstvo prirode, ponekad i s melankoličnim nabojima.

Početkom sedamdesetih, djelo ]osipa Generalića pretrpjelo jer nove metamorfoze: počinje slikati portrete prominentnih ličnosti iz svijeta glazbe, filma, show-businessa i pop-kulture. Uz seljačke figure i scene iz ruralnog zivota, javljaju se planetarne estradne zvijezde smještene u ambijente i pejzaže slikarova djetinjstva, njegove voljene Podravine. Umjesto u Woodstocku, hipiji održavaju koncert na podravskim ledinama, u pozadini portreta Sofije Loren zasnježeni je hlebinski krajolik; u parodiji Rousseauove Jadwighe, umjesto mlade, stasite djevojke vidimo otežale oblike ostarjele seljakinje smještene na tratinu ispred hlebinske crkve (Hlebinska Jadwigha, 1973), itd. Portreti su prepoznatljivi, no težiste je na ironiji i grotesknosti, cime autor demitologizira predočeno. Anegdotalnost i romantičnost hlebinske matrice preobrazile su se u alegorijske i satiričke slike. Time ostvaruje sintezu rustikalnog i urbanog, modernog. U tim je djelima zamjetljiva i autorova evidentna zaokupljenost mondenošću.

Sedamdesetih godina nastaje i serija njegovih vrlo ekspresivnih i psihološki uvjerljivih seljačkih portreta s nizom verističkih značajki (Jendraš, 1973; Furijan, 1975), u čemu prepoznajemo Generalićev vjerojatno najznačajniji obol hrvatskoj likovnoj umjetnosti. To je doba kada se ponovno posvema priklonio slikanju na staklu; pritom vrši redukcije na bitno, sve pročišćava i sažima, čime i postiže iznimnu sugestivnost.

Jospi Generalić - from Gallery's collection

Potkraj sedamdesetih započinju nove mijene u Generalićevu stvaralaštvu. Ako je dotad tražio harmoniju, nakon 1978. okreće se disharmoničnosti, ako je isprva bio opsjednut Ijepotom, sada počinje naglašavati nakaznost. Sa slika nestaju Podravina i Arkadija, pastorale i idilični prizori. Na temelju vlastite drame (smrt majke, nesporazumi s ocem) počeo je svjedočiti o tragičnom osjećanju života. Sve postaje prepuno oporih poruka, prikazuje naličje svijeta, osućluje animalnost Ijudske prirode, vidimo brojne bizarne erotske aluzije. Ruga se pohlepi i iskvarenosti, mračnim ljudskim strastima, ističe moralnu nakaznost i slika tragične scene suvremenog života (Gvajana, 1978, inspirirana znanim kolektivnim suicidom). To više nisu simboli strave, nego prikazi užasa samoga, nepodnošljive egzistencijalne more. Očito slikar bijaše opsjednut rasapom suvremenog svijeta i čovjeka. U ovoj crnoj fazi sve je prepuno monstruoznih bića, mutanata, podjednako Ijudskih i životinjskih značajki. Uz ikonografiju horrora, dominiraju dijaboličnost, sarkazam i ironija.

Promjena tema i sadržaja uvjetovala je i izmjenu tehnike: umjetnik sve manje slika na staklu, a sve se više bavi akvarelom i grafikama.

Već od kraja šezdesetih, Josip Generalić prepoznat je kao vrlo osebujan umjetnik. Od njegovih najzapaženijih uspjeha valja izdvojiti: sudjelovanje na izložbi Ivan Generalić und die Schule von Hlebine, City-Galerie, Zurich 1964; niz samostalnih nastupa s ocem od sredine šezdesetih do sredine sedamdesetih godina u brojnim švicarskim, njemačkim i talijanskim galerijama; učešće na međunarodnim trijenalnim smotrama naive u Bratislavi (Insita 1969, 1994) i Zagrebu (Naivi  1970, 1973, 1977, 1987). Slijedi sudjelovanje na povijesnim izložbama Die Kunst der Naiven, Haus der Kunst, Munchen 1974, i Yougoslavie / Peintres et sculpteurs naifs, Grand Palais, Pariz 1976. Godine 1981. sudjeluje na izloibi Hlebinski krug / 50 godina naivnog slikarstva, u Galeriji primitivne umjetnosti u Zagrebu; 1986. na putujućoj izložbi Japanom Eleven Naive Artists from Yugo slavia, započetoj u Setagaya Art Museumu, Tokyo, a 2000. na kritičkoj izložbi The Fantastical World of Croatian Naive Art u Museum of Fine Arts u St. Petersburgu, Florida. Josipu Generaliću priređeno je vise od stotinu pedeset samostalnih izložaba, a sudjelovao je i na velikom broju skupnih. U nekoliko je navrata djelovao kao kazališni scenograf, bavio se tapiserijom, a brojnim je crtežima opremio niz knjiga i časopisa. Objavio je nekoliko grafičkih mapa u tehnici svilotiska i bakropisa. Posljednjih godina života snažno se angažirao oko ustroja i vođenja Galerije Ivan i Josip Generalić u Hlebinama, s nizom očevih remek-djela te velikim fundusom vlastita stvaralaštva. Skupio je i vrlo respektabilnu zbirku etnografske građe rodnog kraja.

Jospi Generalić - from Gallery's collection

Josip Generalić, a classic of the Hlebine School and the Croatian Naive, was born on February 19. 1936. in Hlebine, Podravina. After finishing primary school, he attended the Normal School in Križevci, and took his teacher’s certificate in 1962 at the Educational College in Zagreb. He started painting at the beginning of the fifties, taking his father Ivan as his model. He had his first exhibition in 1954 and his first solo show in 1959. He worked as a teacher in primary schools in Podravina, and then became a PT teacher in Zagreb. During the sixties, with the support of Swiss gallery owner Bruno Bischofberger, he dedicated himself entirely to painting and became a professional artist. In 1998 he went back to live in his native Hlebine. He died in Koprivnica on December 22. 2004.

In the first creative period, he followed the standard Hlebine set of motifs and style; he painted Podravina people, regions and idyllic scenes from rural life. He tended to be descriptive, presenting a number of anecdotal situations and employing a flat colorist treatment. When he looked for a manner of his own, he tried his hand at works with surreal and abstract characteristics. Appearing on the art scene at the same time as Ivan Večenaj and Mijo Kovačic, Generalić Junior nevertheless differed from these artists in that he left his native Hlebine, became educated and, from 1960 on, lived and worked in Zagreb. Accordingly, from this time he was no longer in direct contact with the countryside and nature and in his poetics it was the remembered image that was the originating principle: the newcomer to the city painted the landscapes and countryside of his youth and his dreams.

In the mid-sixties he changed themes, stylistic and poetic features, and combined the idealised Hlebine regions with a newly-adopted floral motif.  At first subsidiary, flowers and floral arabesques became the central topic of his painting along with the series of floral elements, there were frequently erotic overtones: he painted numerous bathers, nude women of somewhat luxuriant forms in hedonistic settings. Everything is rather generalized and supra-individual, the forms are stylised, reduced to the sign, to the idea of what is represented, and the scenes are often symbolic. In this period he also changed his technique, painting increasingly in oil on canvas or hardboard, and less and less on glass.

This floral phase was without doubt a reaction to the drabness of the big city in which the artist lived, at work here is nostalgia for the flower-filled areas of his childhood, reminiscences of Hlebine and his native landscape. The legend of “the golden age” and “the natural life” still pulsed strongly within him. And so he turns the Podravina landscapes into irreal, Arcadian vistas: he painted the bliss of nature, sometimes with tinges of melancholy.

At the beginning of the seventies, the work of Josip Generalić suffered a new metamorphosis: he started painting portraits of prominent personalities from the world of music, film, show-biz and pop-culture. Alongside the bucolic figures and the scenes from rural life, planetary pop stars appeared, located in the settings and landscapes of the painter’s childhood, his beloved Podravina. Instead of in Woodstock, the hippies held their concert on the greenswards of Podravina, and in the background to the portrait of Sophia Loren looms the snowy Hlebine landscape; in a parody of Rousseau’s Jadwigha, instead of the buxom young girl we see the ponderous form ofa peasant woman of somewhat advanced years on the grass in front of Hlebine Church (Hlebine ]adwigna, 1973), and so on. The portraits are identifiable, but the focus is on irony and the grotesque, the author demythologizing what he presents. The anecdotalism and romanticism of the Hlebine mainstream have been transformed into allegorical and satirical images. In this, he manages to produce a synthesis of the rustic and the urban, the modern. In this works the artist’s very obvious absorption with the fashionable is also much to the fore.

Josip Generalić - from Gallery's collection, iz zbirke Galerije

The seventies saw a series of very expressive and psychological portraits of country people, with a number of veristic characteristics (Jendras, 1973; Furijan, 1975), in which we can recognise what is probably Generalić’s most important input into Croatian visual art. This is the time when he once again entirely devoted himself to painting on glass, carrying out at the same time a reduction to essentials, refining and condensing everything, achieving thereby an exceptional suggestiveness.

Around the end of the seventies new modifications appeared in Generalić’s work. Up to that time he had sought harmony, but after 1978 he turned to disharmony; previously obsessed by beauty, he now started to emphasize the freakish. Podravina and Arcadia vanished from the paintings, along with the pastorals and the idyllic scenes. Working out some of his own dramas (the death of his mother, disagreements with his father), he started to tell ofa tragic sense of life. Everything was now instinct with harsh messages; he showed the other side of the coin of the world and condemned the animality of human nature, and we can see numerous bizarre erotic allusions. He mocks greed and corruption and the darker side of human passions, foregrounding moral monstrosity and painting tragic scenes from contemporary life (Guiana, 1978., inspired by the collective suicides). These are not symbols of horror, but depictions of horror itself, of an intolerable existential nightmare. The painter was clearly obsessed with the idea of the disintegration of the contemporary world and humanity. In this black phase, everything is full of monstrous beings, mutants, with characteristics that are equally human and animal. Dominant alongside the horror iconography are sarcasm, irony and intimations of the diabolic.

A change in the topics and contents entailed changes in technique as well: the artist painted increasingly little on glass, and more and more went in for water colors and prints.

Josip Generalić - from Gallery's collection, iz zbirke Galerije

As early as the end of the sixties, Josip Generalić was recognized as a distinctively individual artist. Of his most important successes, particular mention should be made of his participation in the exhibition Ivan Generalic und die Schule von Hlebine, City-Galerie, Zurich 1964; a number of solo shows together with his fatherfrom the mid-sixties to the mid-seventies in numerous galleries in Switzerland, Germany and Italy; participation in the international triennial exhibitions of the Naive in Bratislava (Insita 1969,1994) and Zagreb (Naivi 1970, 1973, 1977, 1987). After this came appearances at the historical exhibitions Die Kunst cler Naiven, Haus der Kunst, Munich 1974 and Yougoslavie / Peintres et sculpteurs naifs, Grand Palais, Paris 1976. In 1981 he took part in the exhibition The Hlebine Circle / Fifty Years of Naive Painting, Gallery of Primitive Art, Zagreb 1981; in 1986 his work was featured in a travelling exhibition in Japan called Eleven Naive Artists from Yugoslavia starting off at the Setagaya Art Museum, Tokyo; in 2000, the artist’s works were shown at the critical exhibition The Fantastical World of the Croatian Naive Art, Museum of Fine Arts, St, Petersburg, Florida.

Josip Generalić had more than hundred and fifty one-man shows, and took part in a very great number of collective exhibitions. Several times he worked in stage design, dealt with tapestry, and provided drawings as illustrations for numerous books and magazines, He issued a number of graphic albums of silkscreens and etchings in the last years of his life he was very much engaged with the organisation and running of the Ivan and Josip Generalić Gallery in Hlebine, with a number of his father’s masterpieces and a large stock of his own work. He also put together a very worthwhile collection of ethnographic material from his native region.

Josip Generalić - from Gallery's collection, iz zbirke Galerije

Article taken from the book “Umjetnost Hlebinske škole” (by Vladimir Crnković).
Članak preuzet iz knjige “Umjetnost Hlebinske škole” (autora Vladimira Crnkovića).

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