Workers’ Gallery – RaGa opens in Zagreb

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Zagreb’s Radnicka Street is quickly turning into an “in” location in Zagreb.

Trendy restaurants, bars, clubs and the newly opened business and shopping centres have recently been joined by a new gallery, RaGa, or the Workers’ Gallery, spreading across 150 square metres. It was opened at the personal initiative of lawyer and art collector Marijan Hanzekovic. The gallery is intended to become a new gathering place for aficionados of modern art and, although its collection consists mostly of works by Croatian artists, the gallery will occasionally feature exhibitions by foreign artists.

The gallery was opened with an interesting opus by a foreign artist; the British artist Anthony Slessor, titled “44.4 seconds”. His works, sculptures and art installations are dedicated to the victims of Hiroshima. As the title of the exhibition suggests, the works symbolise the time the atomic bomb was in free-fall, from the moment it was dropped to the moment it exploded. The artist had been indirectly tied to those tragic events at the time as he had long been a pilot in the British Air Force, and he took part in numerous battles around the world. His military life ended at the age of 38, but the war has forever been burned in his memory, and over time it has become an inspiration for his artwork, for which he often uses (un)usual materials such as burnt wood, cotton, pebbles and stones.

After this exhibition, in early autumn, RaGa will feature works by young female artists, students at Zagreb’s Academy of Fine Arts, while the month of October will feature yet another international artist, Ara Güler. He is one of the most influential Turkish photographers, known for his black and white images of Istanbul from the 1950s and 1960s, as well as numerous portraits of famous people such as Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Winston Churchill, Indira Ghandi, Alfred Hitchcock and many others.

Since the gallery is owned by a private collector, the public will occasionally have the opportunity to take a peek into his private collection which consists of many valuable works by great Croatian artists. Among them are Vlaho Bukovac’s “Girl With a Green Veil” and the “Girl from Cavtat”. During presentations of the collection the public will also have the opportunity to see works by other Croatian greats who have contributed to Croatian art throughout history. Among them are Vjekoslav Karas, Vladimir Varlaj, Vilko Gecan, Celestin Medovic, Mirko Racki, Ljubo Babic, Vladimir Becic, Robert Auer and many others.

In December, the gallery will feature yet another exhibition of part of the collection, specifically nudes, which will be presented under the title “Art Exchange”.

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