Vrednost in zanimivost je v doseganju. Stvari so samo na videz zagonetne. Ko se približuješ resnici spoštljivo, počasi, sledi razodetje in silovito spoznanje, ki je nagrada za trud. (1979)
— Janez Pristavec, zapiski
 
Foto: Branimir Ritonja

Foto: Branimir Ritonja

Janez Pristavec

Janez Pristavec (27 March [O.S. 28 May] 1947 – 28 May 2008) was an influential Slovenian artist and art teacher. Some of his most important work was exhibited in 1998 by the Maribor Art Gallery[1] (one of the main museums of modern and contemporary art in Slovenia) and archived in the United States by the Library of Congress.[2] He is credited with thorough explorations of various styles. Born in Maribor, Pristavec spent his childhood there. He enrolled at the University of Ljubljana, studying fine art. His professors included famous Slovenian artists like Bogdan Borčič, Nikolaj Omersa, Zoran Didek, Gabrijel Stupica and Štefan Planinc.

After graduation he became an active member of several Slovenian creative & artistic groups from 1980 to 2005. He is credited with 40 solo and 85 group exhibitions.


Umetnik, ustvarjalec je urejevalec psihičnih, materialnih in socialnih razmerij; je urejevalec nasprotij v sebi in okolju. Odločno in jasno umetniško dejanje in vztrajanje v nasprotju z industrijsko množično proizvodnjo, ki je še vedno bila razosebljujoča in odtujojoča, je moja potreba. Iskati poti dostojne človeka je humanistična naloga nas vseh.
— Janez Pristavec, zapiski (1982)

 

Artistic periods

 

Childhood and early work (1974–1979)

Pristavec started drawing in elementary school at the age of 9. He was mostly occupied with standard motifs - landscapes, portraits, self-portraits, flowers. Through them he perfected his drawing skills, but was unable to go to the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana, because of family reasons. He nevertheless continued to make prints, especially dry needle and linocut. He made his dream come true in 1974 when he was accepted at the academy, already proficient in several techniques.

 

Early drawings

 
 

Early prints

 
 

 

Academy YEARS (1974–1979)

"As a student, he started focusing on pencil drawing, mostly animals and self-portraits. He specialised in reptiles, frogs, lizards and fish, which he depicted in a naturalistic manner; but he was also interested in the human figure. Early on he started making prints, which replaced previous pencil and ink drawings. In the middle of his studies, he focused on female nudes, first in realistic style of painting, later in minimalist, cubist forms. In his work he used clear and vivid colours - influence of Matisse. After 1976 the nudes became a test field for colour explorations, which are connected with his studying of colour fields and geometric elements influenced by American abstract expressionism and Colour Field painting. At the end of his studies, that became the main interest of his thesis.

 

PRINTS  (1976–1983)

After making the series of abstract nudes on paper in 1979, he devoted three years to linocuts and woodcuts. Reptiles were still one of his main motifs, followed by fish in different colours and geometric shapes.

The drawings depicting deformed female bodies with a distorted perspective are made between 1981 and 1983.

 

 

Colour explorations (1984–1995)

It all started with a local hill in Maribor, named Meljski hrib (Melje hill). [Art 1] A painting contest Ex tempore '83 was a motivation for finding motifs and ideas in and around the city. He became fascinated with the hill in Melje. Quote from the artist: “I analysed it up close, from afar, from both banks of the river Drava, I climbed it many times. I returned in different weather and light conditions. Filled with many emotions and ideas I returned to my studio and painted all my impressions. Theoretically I was very interested in the colours yellow and orange which form a constant in small quantities. These two colours created the tension in several qualitative colour fields, which correlate with my feelings and emotions. The paintings are made in hard, medium or dark colour modes. I achieve specific colours with active drawing between colour shades in one colour field."

The result is the series called "The hill". Made in 1983–85, it consists of around 230 works, combined techniques on paper, 50×70 or 60×84 cm.

In 1986, a large multimedia exhibition was held in Maribor. It gave Pristavec a push to explore further and make expressive figures on large mashed paper. This lasted until 1992. [Art 2] Another influence were the Neue Wilde, an artistic group in Germany which inspired him to look into primitive art and African sculpture. In 1990 he began working on large mashed paper, however this time without any motifs. He described it as transcendental colour spaces, as a sort of an entrance into higher dimensions of reality.[Art 3]

"[Art 1] I always watch nature. In 1994 I noticed leaves with perfectly structured colour harmonies of yellow, light green and black. Quantitative and qualitative colour combinations were perfect, as a result of their genetic programming. I found my painting of structured chromatic fields - spiritual transcendental colour spaces in nature itself. I made a montage and series of colour laser xerographies and prepared an exhibition. The cycle of abstraction somehow naturally played itself out, like music in space and time. Without emotional power it became creatively uninteresting. It was time for different explorations!”

 
 
 
 

" I always watch nature. In 1994 I noticed leaves with perfectly structured colour harmonies of yellow, light green and black. Quantitative and qualitative colour combinations were perfect, as a result of their genetic programming. I found my painting of structured chromatic fields - spiritual transcendental colour spaces in nature itself. I made a montage and series of colour laser xerographies and prepared an exhibition. The cycle of abstraction somehow naturally played it self out, like music in space and time. Without emotional power it became creatively uninteresting. It was time for different explorations!”

 

Portraits (1993–1999)

" When my abstract phase played itself out I returned to portraiture, one of the most complicated tasks for any artist. I decided, to start from the beginning. I studied the concept of symmetrical painting in perspective (my drawing of Kate Moss). I began to paint in colour realism just like I saw older colleagues do after the war on the Academy of Fine Arts. I was very curious about the portrait of a hunter by Lucas Cranach, with simple drawings and a warm colour palette, W. Hogarth’s The Shrimp Girl and the beautiful paintings of H. Matisse. I was also influenced by my professors, especially Stupica’s portrait painting (L. Menaše, M. Pogačnik, M. Kraševec) and his idols El Greco, Goya, Velasquez, Soutin, Modigliani, Kokoška. Other inspirations were exquisite sculpture portraits of my study colleagues (Jelisava Čopič, France Mihelič, N. Omersa, R. Debenjak) under mentorship of professor Zdenko Kalin and extremely minimalistic portraits of Branko Ružič.”

 

Caricature portraits (1999–2006)

"1999 was a very important time for me when I started drawing people in public places. It was the year after my wife had died and I couldn't stand the loneliness of the studio." Analysing Hesse, Fromm, Jung and eastern philosophy, he developed a new outlook on life. “Creating art is like a ritual, it involves the depicted person, who can comment on the work and suggest things to the artist thus influencing the final outcome.” He consciously became an observer and started to depict groups, musicians, poets and visitors on all main social gatherings. Regarding his previous portraits, he considered his newest work to be an evolution from naturalism to caricature. He specialised in Croquis drawing and did the work on spot, depicting many well known people and events of the city’s cultural life from 1999 to 2006. A large part of the work is shown in the book Janez Pristavec: Srečanja, 2006.

 

 

Mythology (2007–2008)

From 2005 onwards Pristavec was weakened by a prolonged illness and his physical strength deteriorated fast. While writing about his pain and problems, he kept on working with oil and acrylic and had produced 40 canvases depicting vivid and colourful scenes from Greek, Christian, Slavic mythology and their connections.

 
 

Potrebno je tako dolgo delati, da slika spregovori, in prične vračati vložen trud z navihovanjem in odpiranjem novih možnosti. Radovednost sili ustvarjalca znova in znova v preverjanje tega razodetja: kdaj, kje in kako bo spregovorila slika s pomočjo likovnih dogodkov. To je slikarsko življenje, moj smisel ustvarjanja in reševanja konfliktnih situacij. Pri tem so potisnjene v ozadje narativnost, figurativnost, abstraktnost itd.; v ospredju je SLIKARSKO ŽIVLJENJE. Nehal bi slikati, ko bi dosegel tako stopnjo izurjenosti, da bi slikarstvo postalo udobje in hkrati samo sebi namen.
— Janez Pristavec, zapiski (1985 - 1990)

 

Exhibitions

 

Noncomplete list

 
  • DSLU / DRUŠTVO SLOVENSKIH LIKOVNIH UMETNIKOV, Likovno razstavišče Rihard jakopič, Ljubljana, Slovenija; 15.12.1980 - 11.01.1981

  • DSLU.ZAPIS NA PAPIRJU, Likovno razstavišče Rihard jakopič, Ljubljana, Slovenija; 26.11.1981 - 1981

  • DSLU.RAZSTAVA DRUŠTVA SLOVENSKIH LIKOVNIH UMETNIKOV, Likovno razstavišče Rihard jakopič, Ljubljana, Slovenija; 17.11.1982 - 10.12.1982

  • UTRINEK SLOVENSKE LIKOVNE TVORNOSTI.DARILO ZA DARILO, Likovni salon, Celje, Slovenija; 25.11.1986 - 20.12.1986

  • DIDAKTIČNA ZBIRKA. RISBA, Galerija ZDSLU, Ljubljana, Slovenija; 13.10.1987 - 27.10.1987

  • DLUM-DRUŠTVO LIKOVNIH UMETNIKOV MARIBOR., Razstavni salon Rotovž, Maribor, Slovenija; 22.04.1988 - 14.05.1988

  • BARVA. RAZSTAVA ČLANOV ZDSLU, Likovno razstavišče Rihard jakopič, Ljubljana, Slovenija; 02.12.1988 - 19.12.1988

  • DRUŠTVO LIK.UMET.MARIBOR.RISBA IN SKULPTURA, Razstavni salon Rotovž, Maribor, Slovenija; 20.04.1989 - 24.05.1989

  • LIKOVNI TRENUTEK 1989, Likovno razstavišče Rihard jakopič, Ljubljana, Slovenija; 18.05.1989 - 08.06.1989

  • DLUM.DRUŠTVO LIKOVNIH UMETNIKOV MARIBOR, Razstavni salon Rotovž, Maribor, Slovenija; 24.04.1990 - 23.05.1990

  • SLIKE IN GRAFIKE IZ ZBIRKE TEHNIŠKE FAKULTETE MARIBOR, Razstavni salon Tehniške fakultete, Maribor, Slovenija; 03.12.1990 - 31.12.1990

  • SLOVENSKA GRAFIKA.RAZSTAVA ČLANOV ZDSLU, Likovno razstavišče Rihard jakopič, Ljubljana, Slovenija; 17.01.1991 - 08.02.1991

  • MAJSKI SALON.RAZSTAVA ČLANOV ZDSLU, Likovno razstavišče Rihard jakopič, Ljubljana, Slovenija; 09.05.1991 - 29.05.1991

  • DRUŠTVO LIKOVNIH UMETNIKOV MARIBOR, Razstavni salon Rotovž, Maribor, Slovenija; 10.05.1991 - 13.06.1991

  • MAJSKI SALON '92, Jakopičeva galerija, Ljubljana, Slovenija; 09.04.1992 - 04.05.1992

  • ČLANI DRUŠTVA LIKOVNIH UMETNIKOV MARIBOR, Razstavni salon Rotovž, Maribor, Slovenija; 23.04.1992 - 15.05.1992

  • DRUŠTVO LIKOVNIH UMETNIKOV MARIBOR, Razstavni salon Rotovž, Maribor, Slovenija; 22.04.1993 - 22.05.1993

  • DRUŠTVO LIKOVNIH UMETNIKOV MARIBOR.SPOMLADANSKA RAZSTAVA, Razstavni salon Rotovž, Maribor, Slovenija; 05.05.1994 - 05.06.1994

  • PODARJENE LIKOVNE UMETNINE, Idrija, Slovenija; 1995

  • OBLIKOVALCI.ČLANI DLUM, Galerija DLUM, Maribor, Slovenija; 05.04.1995 - 04.05.1995

  • DRUŠTVO LIKOVNIH UMETNIKOV MARIBOR, Razstavni salon Rotovž, Maribor, Slovenija; 25.04.1995 - 20.05.1995

  • NAGRAJENCI DLUM 1993-1994-1995, Milano, Italija; 1995

  • NAGRAJENCI DLUM 1995, Galerija DLUM, Maribor, Slovenija, 22.11.1995 - 12.12.1995

  • NAGRAJENCI DLUM ZA LETO 1995, Razstavni paviljon zdravilišča, Rogaška Slatina, Slovenija; 23.03.1996 - 23.04.1996

  • DRUŠTVO LIKOVNIH UMETNIKOV MARIBOR, Galerija Murska Sobota, Murska Sobota, Slovenija; 10.05.1996 - 02.06.1996

  • JUBILANTI DLUM 1997, Galerija DLUM, Maribor, Slovenija; 02.04.1997 - 28.04.1997

  • NAGRAJENCI IN JUBILANTI DLUM 1997, Likovna vitrina Z.S.Triglav, Nova Gorica, Slovenija; 09.10.1997 - 1997

  • RAZSTAVA ČLANOV DRUŠTVA LIKOVNIH UMETNIKOV MARIBOR 1998, Razstavni salon Rotovž, Maribor, Slovenija; 07.05.1998 - 29.05.1998

  • NAGRAJENCI DLUM 1993-1998, Galerija Sodobne umetnosti, Celje; 19.11.1998 - 31.12.1998

  • DLUM / DRUŠTVO LIKOVNIH UMETNIKOV MARIBOR, Razstavni salon Rotovž, Maribor, Slovenija; 08.04.1999 - 08.05.1999

  • DLUM 2000. 80.ANNIVERSARIO, Biblioteca Civica, Cordovado, Italija; 2000

  • DLUM.RAZSTAVA LIKOVNIH DEL ČLANOV DRUŠTVA LIK.UMETNIKOV MB, Razstavni salon Rotovž, Maribor, Slovenija; 06.03.2001 - 29.03.2001

  • RAZSTAVA ČLANOV DLUM 2002/DRUŠTVO LIKOVNIH UMETNIKOV MARIBOR, Galerija Luka, Pula, Hrvaška; 10.08.2002 - 30.08.2002

  • MAJSKI SALON.NESELEKCIONIRANO, Jakopičeva galerija, Ljubljana, Slovenija; 13.05.2003 - 31.05.2003

  • RAZSTAVA ČLANOV DLUM 2003, Razstavni salon Rotovž, Maribor, Slovenija; 07.10.2003 - 04.11.2003

  • RAZSTAVA ČLANIC IN ČLANOV DRUŠTVA LIKOVNIH UMETNIKOV MARIBOR 2004, Razstavni salon Rotovž, Maribor, Slovenija; 14.10.2004 - 11.11.2004

  • RISBE ČLANOV DLUM, Galerija DLUM, Maribor, Slovenija; 05.01.2005 - 11.01.2005

  • JUBILANTI 2007, Galerija DLUM, Maribor, Slovenija; 12.09.2007 - 29.09.2007

  • RAZSTAVA ČLANIC IN ČLANOV DRUŠTVA LIKOVNIH UMETNIKOV MARIBOR 2007, Galerija Grad, Slovenska Bistrica, Slovenija; 26.10.2007 - 18.11.2007

  • NOVOLETNA PRODAJNA RAZSTAVA, Galerija DLUM, Maribor, Slovenija; 05.12.2007 - 01.01.2008

  • MITOLOGIJA, Galerija DLUM, Maribor, Slovenija; 09.01.2008 - 26.01.2008

  • PORTRETI 1995 - 2007, Galerija DLUM, Maribor, Slovenija; 22.04.2009 - 09.05.2009

  • AKTI, Galerija DLUM, Maribor, Slovenija; 06.01.2010 - 23.01.2010

  • KRATKA RETROSPEKTIVA, Paviljoni graščine Dol, Dol pri Ljubljani, Slovenija; 07.05.2010 - 23.05.2010

  • OBEŠENKE, Vodni stolp, Maribor, Slovenija; 21.12.2011 - 30.05.2012

  • Skoraj pomlad / Almost Spring - 100 let slovenske umetnosti, EPK 2012, UGM, Slovenija, 30.11.2012 - 17.03.2013

  • SKICE PORTRETNIH KARIKARUTUR,Vetrinjski dvor, Maribor, Slovenija; 3.5.2014 - 30.05.2014

  • KARIKATURNI PORTRETI, Živa Dvorišča, Maribor, Slovenija; 2.7.2014 - 17.09.2014

  • LITTLE NUDE, E2RD, Maribor, Slovenija; 27.10.2016 - 6.02.2017

  • WOMEN, E2RD, Maribor, Slovenija;  8.2.2017 - 8.3.2017

 
 

 

Pristavec on ArtStack