Close your eyes. Feel the space around you. Your body in space and the volume occupied. Then open your eyes and just before you close them again, focus your attention on the narrow line of sight. Everything around us is line and space. Dimension – what a magnificent word!

Taking into consideration the exhibition space of the Museum of Fine Arts, Petar Katavić decided to use a site-specific project and several artistic media that communicate with one another in the gallery space to interpret his main focus of interest – space and line. The display begins with sculptures – two metal cubes leaning against a wall, with two processed and gilded wooden plates positioned above them. The cubes became rusty through the natural process of corrosion and with their colour and texture create a formal unit with the plates. The project continues on the lateral gallery wall with a mounted grid of three hundred and five engraved MDF board tiles, while the remaining two walls display six paintings showing a motif of reduced architectural scenes that contain human figures. On the whole, they constitute an integral site-specific installation with clearly expressed individual aesthetic relationships.

The artist is obviously preoccupied with the effect that emanates from natural materials he uses in this work, specifically the heightened effect created by their transformations. Katavić studies the influence that weather conditions have on metal, and finds forms and colours created during the process of corrosion particularly intriguing. He, therefore, positioned metal cubes in spatial dialogue with wooden plates that were covered in gold paint as an interpretation of the process of corrosion. Thus, these visually similar parts of the installation are connected in a formally functional unit despite being created in completely different manners – one through a natural process, and the other with an artistic procedure.

Katavić’s painted compositions are characterized with a purity of line and carefully executed details reminiscent of the minimalist aesthetic. By referring to the famous motto of Mies van der Rohe: less is more, Katavić consistently applies the principle of reduction to all elements of the painterly installation. Obviously, the proverbial ‘white cube’ of the exhibition space that was used in the epoch of Modernism as a neutral container, even a medium of the complex interaction between art and its audience, which became the standard space intended for showing artworks, served as a trigger for this dialogue between architecture and painting, already specified in the title of the exhibition Space. The small exhibition space of the Museum of Fine Arts where Petar Katavić started his exhibition career as a participant in the programme Fast Forward / Tuesdays at the Museum, represents an almost literal realization of this modernist concept. Therefore, the exhibition Space, with its careful consideration of spatial and formal relationships at the conceptual level, presents the artist’s unexpected and sophisticated dedication to the formative exhibition space, and at the level of realization, by including the heritage of Art Informel, Minimalism and installation, it represents a dedication to painterly tendencies that characterized the epoch of domination of the ‘white cube’ and its influence on the production and perception of artistic work.

Started by Ivana Vukušić, completed by Branko Franceschi

Petar Katavić (Split, 1985.) graduated painting from the class of prof. Dean Jokanović Toumin, at the Art's Academy in Split, Croatia. He lives and works in Split.