Location: Cellars of Diocletian's Palace

Time: August 22nd - October 5th, 2023



Exhibition Organizer: Split City Museum

Co-organizer: Split Branch of the Croatian Association of Artists (HULU Split)

Artistic Setup: Neno Mikulić, Vesna Bulić Baketić

Technical Implementation: HULU Split

With Support from: City of Split, Split-Dalmatia County, Split Tourist Board


Vesna Bulić Baketić on the Exhibition: „Among the massive stone blocks of the Cellars of Diocletian's Palace, Mikulić places his sculptures. He fills the ancient substructures with a kind of retrospective of his sculptural achievements. This exhibition provides an opportunity to explore some of the paths Mikulić undertakes on his artistic journey.


He is first and foremost a sculptor who follows the narrative thread of the Mediterranean, staying close to themes that are intimately connected to his life. People, animals, ships, and landscapes are his primary inspiration, derived from his own surroundings. The volumes are soft, rounded, and stable, with surfaces finely crafted and intensely colored. Whether it's people or animals, the sculpture aims to capture the essence of the subject. When he creates animals that inhabit the sea or its vicinity, he manages to convey the feeling of being close to the sea itself. Despite being made of wood, they possess a softness. There's a bear, a "sea person," gently looking at you, with its nose among protruding whiskers. A shark swims in a longitudinal basement space as if in its own aquarium. It's massive, sharp, and dangerous, with perfectly captured dark colors. In Mikulić's work, what is truly surprising is his ability to lead the observer to recognize the theme as exceptionally authentic, despite the fact that the piece of wood isn't perfectly polished, evenly colored, or proportioned according to actual anatomy.


Sailors with oversized mustaches on disproportionately smaller steamships command not only the open sea but also the observer's focus, which, blurred by steamship smoke, remains convinced that everything is in the dimensions it should be. This is the power of sculpture that shapes perception rather than dimensions.


Although dealing with themes related to a life by the sea, Mikulić doesn't approach them in a banal way; they are always coated with a subtle caricatural message. Yet, that is not enough for Mikulić. His artistic impulse drives him to push his own boundaries. While remaining firmly in the realm of figuration and not delving into abstraction, he must push his expression beyond the comfort zone, which isn't always pleasant or necessary. He creates a series of heads where he loosens his touch even more, the facets on the wood becoming rougher, the heads aesthetically unattractive. However, in their grotesqueness, they testify to Mikulić's artistic courage to venture a step beyond the prevailing aesthetics of beauty and caricatured impressiveness, revealing the emotions aroused by the aesthetics of ugliness. The totem-like heads, furrowed and dripping with color, might appear frightening at first, but upon closer examination, they reveal the alter ego of the figure from whose child, in the next moment, a refined gentleman with a rose in his hand will emerge.


Mikulić's art points to the duality that resides within all of us. Therefore, this exhibition is particularly intriguing, especially since it is set in an archetypal space layered with centuries-old memory. Addressing the duality that exists in and around everything that surrounds us, forever and always, this is an exceptional moment of introspection and an opportunity to position oneself within the universe. Art is there to show the way.”


Web site link:https://www.mgs.hr/kategorija/nadolazece-izlozbe/?key=nadolazece-izlozbe