At 7pm on Thursday, February 6th 2020, the exhibition titled “A Game of Sports and Art” formally opened at the Ring and PM Galleries of the Home of the Croatian Society of Fine Artists to herald the future permanent exhibit of the Croatian Sports Museum.
The Croatian Sports Museum, in partnership with the Academy of Fine Arts of the University of Zagreb and the Croatian Society of Fine Artists, presented an extensive exhibition, a project that became a meeting place for sports, education, culture and art, whose two halves bear witness to the connection between art and sports.
The first half of the exhibition presented the development of sports and the development of applied arts in the field of sports from the beginnings of organized sporting activities in Croatia to the present day, while the second half of the exhibition presented sport as a profession and a wide-spread recreational activity that serves to inspire the works of modern artists.
The exhibition presented a wide spectrum of items – from museum exhibits, which speak of past events and of the development of sports, to works of art commenting on and describing personal experiences and which speak of the sheer possibilities of creative games of sports and art.
The first half of the exhibition contained items from the collections of the Croatian Sports Museum, representing valuable examples of applied arts and design in the field of sports: medals, posters, diplomas and sculptures given out as awards. Their visual appearance left a mark on the promotion of sporting events and on the general perception of sports in society. A majority of the items exhibited had never been available to the public before this exhibition and many of them are intended to hold a place of honour in the future permanent exhibit of the Croatian Sports Museum which will present the development and greatest triumphs of Croatian sports and physical activity. More than 50 artists and designers were presented at the exhibition, with many of them being individuals who left a mark on their era in the history of Croatian art, so It is interesting to look upon their works from the field of sports. Among these individuals are some of the greatest names of Croatian art such as Frangeš, Kerdić and Meštrović, but also artists such as Stranić whose opus is almost exclusively tied to sports.
The exhibition presents the development of arts in the field of sports in Croatia chronologically, starting with the late 19th century and encompassing four chapters marked by turning points in Croatian history which fundamentally affected society, something reflected in both sports and art. Separate chapters present items tied to the Hawk movement and Olympism.
The Croatian Sports Museum has existed in various forms for over 70 years, but from 2003 it stands as a national museum under the Ministry of Culture. For its entire existence, the Museum has sought to collect the most culturally important items related to sports and physical activity that form the sporting legacy of the Croatian people.
The second half of the exhibition presents works of Croatian artists on the subject of sports. The works presented tell a story of passion and excitement, offering an answer to the question of why sports and arts are considered the most important creative activity and internal change of the modern civilization and the European tradition.
From the youngest generation to academics, artists present their experience of sporting activities, through sports they trained in, through daily recreation they enjoy, passing on their experiences in works of art that speak of passion, personal beliefs, recreation, magical memories of old stadia, watching sporting matches on black-and-white television sets, the magic of competition and the joy of companionship.
The following artists were presented at the exhibition through their works: Grgur Akrap, Tomislav Buntak, Ivan Fijolić, Martina Granić i Martina Miholić, Svjetlan Junaković, Marin Marinić, Bojan Mrđenović i Stipan Tadić, Zoltan Novak, Ivan Posavec, Josip Rončević, Maja Rožman, Matko Vekić, Zlatan Vrkljan, Mio Vesović.