Today, the name and work of Jakob Savinsek are respected and valued for several reasons. The older generation still remembers his premature death. The artist died before his fortieth birthday, full of creative plans, having undertaken and largery only marked out directions of the development of his sculpture. Any premature death is painful, but with artists, it usually creates a myth of the deceased, for everybody reflects in sorrow on what the young artist of proven talent might have created. The answers are particularly interesting and unpredictable with Savinsek, who returned cyclically to countless, indeed virtually all the possible problems of the language of sculpture and sculpting technique, to the questions of aesthetics, the artist’s sensibility and the differences between materials ...


He had the opportunity to become acquainted with the latter through contemporary European sculpture opposed to modernism in the period when Slovene art slowly but with keen curiosity started to open up to western creativity, to which it historically belonged, after the five-year break during the Second World War and several years of strictly-dictated dependence on the aesthetics of Soviet socialist realism.

image Song of sea,1953 (bronze)

... we can understand why the artist did not find himself as a complete creative individual in more than a decade of active artistic creation. Until his death, he remained torn between various possibilities which contemporary European sculpture constantly encouraged in all its avenues and, most of all, as can be seen through the sieve of time today, in all its dead ends, mistakes, compromises and poor realisations.

Jakob Savinsek’s studio in Ljubljana

Savinsek’s myth is still present today. On one hand it is passed on through tradition, while on the other it is nurtured, created and elaborated by younger sculptors. This is understandable and can be explained with reference to certain specific reasons, in the atmosphere of which contemporary art in Slovenia is developing. Before Savinsek, there were no significant creative ideas in the sense of sculptural modernism in Slovenia ...

Thinker, relief from War and peace monument, 1956-57 (bronze, stone)

... Only Savinsek’s generation was able to use the powerful influence of contemporary European sculptors to free itself of the paternal realism of its academy teachers. Savinsek was the most persistent and precise in his search of them all ...
... he undertook all possible experiments, which in the last two decades have become highly valued and closely considered by artists and critics ....

Composition II, 1961 (bronze) Composition II

... Some of the best creations have already asserted themselves in the selective reviews of Slovene modern art by virtue of their avant-garde qualities, mainly with regard to the aesthetics of their time ...
... The haste with which he searched and experimented resembles the grasping which in the case of premature death is usually described in terms of the artist’s premonition of the imminent end.

From the "Savinsek’s Search for Himself" by Jure Mikuz
Retrospect exibition catalouge
Published by Museum of Modern Art (Ljubljana, 1994)


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