The works of Croatian artist Izvor Pende are explorations of the artist’s own relationship to his media, practice, and journey of self-discovery. As many artists before him have also done, Pende’s artistic journey has been one that saw him evolving from figurative work to pure abstraction. As viewers, we often aspire to cling to the semblance of representation – often, where there is none. For instance, we want to find a figure lurking in the curvature; to locate an eye in a paroxysm of paint; a human gesture in the flesh-coloured forms of paint. Certainly, the tendency would have been heightened in 2019 when Pende exhibited his works in a two-man show alongside Daniel Richter, whose works did exactly that. But the relationship to the body in these paintings seems to be Pende’s own self. He describes his process as a sort of marathon, a never-ending exploration between artist and artwork that is only explored through the very act of painting. The notion is a sensical one: the painter needs to have the physical connectivity (brush to canvas) in order to further discover or reveal the visual landscape he unfolds. He asserts that his intentions are irrelevant and that he is not a conceptual artist. But through this very gestural, bodily process, (as well as the refutation of a deeper understanding) something conceptual does arise. Even Pende himself discusses his practice as a sort of analytical revelation: “changes are crucial for development, and dealing with problems when creating a new piece of art is the key to further growth as an artist. Another important factor is courage. By that, I mean the courage to obliterate even good segments of the painting in order to reach something novel.” As viewers, we learn to glean information from the painting, often imbuing it with our own ideologies or meaning(s); here, something is to be said about transitory states, shifting planes of colour that also make way for new avenues of thought, and colours and shapes that dance along the picture plane as a fleeting thought or palimpsest of meaning. So perhaps, in his journey from the painter he was to the painter he is becoming, there is a sort of latent conceptual discovery occurring along the way.
IZVOR PENDE (B. 1976, Zagreb, Croatia) currently lives and works in Dubrovnik, Croatia. He graduated with a MA from the Kunstakademie in Dusseldorf in 2005. Solo exhibitions include: ‘Dynamik and Fiktion’ w. Theresa Möller, Galerie Gans, Vienna (2020); ‘Golden Hours’, David Richard Gallery, New York (2019); ‘Swimming Together’ w. Daniel Richter, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rijeka, Croatia (2018). Pende also has an upcoming solo institution exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Zagreb in 2021. Group exhibitions include: ’58th Venice Biennale’, Museum of Modern Art, Dubrovnik, (2019); ‘Salondergegenwart’, Hamburg, Germany (2019) and; Galerie Koch, Hannover, Germany (2018). Private collections include the Museum of Modern Art, Dubrovnik; Museum of Fine Art, Split; Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb and; British American Tobacco, Hamburg, Germany.