The Slovenia Times

Modernist sculptor Drago Tršar dies


Drago Tršar, an acclaimed modernist sculptor best known as the author of the Monument to the Revolution in Ljubljana's Republic Square, has died, shortly before his 96th birthday.

Tršar leaves behind an extensive oeuvre, ranging from large public monuments, to small sculptures, as well as drawings, paintings, set designs, graphic arts, ceramics, tapestry and book design.

Apart from the Monument to the Revolution, some of his best known sculptures include the 1957 work Manifestants in Middelheim Park, which is part of the Middelheim Museum in Antwerp, Manifestants I from 1959 outside Moderna Galerija, the Ljubljana Museum of Modern Art, and Equilibrists in Tivoli Park.

In 1967, ten years after he had developed his "crowd or mass compositions", the Guggenheim Museum in New York included his Manifestants in a representative exhibition of sculpture worldwide.

Apart from his creative work, Tršar is also considered important as a mentor, having worked as a professor at what is now called the Ljubljana Academy of Fine Arts and Design for many years.

Announcing his death on 11 April, the academy said the professor emeritus, and "his dedication to the art of sculpture and the teaching profession, and his diverse oeuvre will remain a lasting memory".

Hailing from Planina near Rakek, Tršar studied at the Ljubljana academy after World War II, graduating in sculpture in 1951.

He worked as a freelancer until 1959, a period during which he was commissioned with his first public sculptures and monuments, and was also a part of an avant-garde group of artists called Grupa 53.

He travelled to Paris, and on a scholarship through Italy. He also travelled to Egypt, the Netherlands and Belgium. Later on, he also studied in the Soviet Union, Germany and Italy.

In 1956, he was invited to the World Exhibition in Paris. He was featured at the Venice Biennale in 1958 and at the Kassel Documenta a year later.

He won a number of awards, including the Prešeren Prize, the top national accolade for lifetime achievement in arts, in 1990. His sculpture The Bull won him a prize at the Mediterranean Biennale in Alexandria in 1955. He became a regular member of the Slovenian Academy of Science and Arts in 1995.

His most recent works include a monument to members of the anti-communist Domobranci militia who were killed by the Partisans during the Second World War in Grahovo near Cerknica, and a sculpture dedicated to poet France Balantič (1921-1943), who was one of those killed there, in his hometown Kamnik.


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