Alija Rešić: Retrospective

Open: 17:00 - 21:00,on Saturdays 10:00 - 13:00, closed on Sundays

Alija Rešić: Retrospektiva - Retrospective -  Retrospettiva [pdf]

A woman carries the world, the academic sculptor Alija Rešić once said.
Looking at the works from almost all phases of his rich oeuvre at this retrospective exhibition, it is evident that Rešić dedicated his creativity to the greatest extent to women. For Alija, she represents the concept of sublimity, purity and perfection, and he models his numerous nudes with emphasized piety without obscuring their erotic charge. Although the author emphasizes sensuality, he does not treat a woman as a passing object of lust, but subtly emphasizes her character of motherhood and fertility, as well as a strong personality whose ratio overcomes numerous turbulences of everyday life. One such Alija’s female figure stood for ten years in front of the entrance to the underground antique world of the famous bohemian, collector, erudite and walking Pula landmark Boris Nemeš. After his untimely death, the antiquarian shop was closed, and the sculpture was removed because that place became the main entrance to the then-open Zerostrasse, a system of Pula shelters under the Castle built by the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy just before the First World War.

As part of his exhibition in the City Gallery of Pula, Alija temporarily returned the same sculpture to the place where it had been for years and became one of the visual highlights of the city. Looking at it now, as well as his temporarily installed two female nudes that brilliantly accentuate the Roman wall between the Hercules and the Twin Gates in Carrara Street, we become aware of how much public sculpture Pula needs. It is evident that it is necessary to begin to take systematic care of this important segment of urban cosmetics and to plan, with the help of eminent experts, to begin to implement such a policy so that there will not happen again the inarticulate line-up of busts of national heroes behind the splendid monument created by Radauš in Tito’s Park or unplanned repetitions of lonely excesses such as what is the bust of Lino Mariani in front of Circolo (by placing Rešić’s acts it just got some kind of meaning), Matko Laginja in the park of Petar Krešimir, Juraj Dobrila in the eponymous park, etc., etc.

The relocation of Rešić’s sculptures from the gallery space into the city area ennobled the public areas and indicated that the time has come for Pula to stop being a city of scattered busts and to begin to systematically plan where to place monumental sculpture. Alija installed a large (r = 2.5 m) round sculpture in Petar Krešimir Park, the author’s vision and interpretation of the Covid 19 virus, which will now escalate again after the tourist season is over. Unlike the poetic acts in Carrara Street, this sculpture by the author is not at all aesthetically appealing. It is black in color, and despite its mesh structure, it is rough and raw in its construction. The black metal rods are the structural and supporting elements of a large ball whose surface is closed with a mesh wire grid, and is surrounded by gray chains and has a warning, threatening and frightening effect. Black plastic chrysanthemum flowers (flowers that are placed on graves) pierce the surface of the sphere, protruding into the air, and besides being a recognizable descriptive element of Corona, they ironically emphasize the frequent end result of the effect of this virus, which has definitely changed the world in the last three years. Of course, Alija was not spared from the direct or indirect consequences of the coronavirus pandemic either, who made this sculpture with the intention of warning about the global manipulation of the powerful over ordinary people, which through epidemiological measures restrained individuality and freedom of social choice, which significantly increased the system’s control over the individual. Today, a man was brought before the wall, about which even the quiet and self-effacing sculptor Alija, who now for the first time ventured into what we tend to call socially engaged art, can no longer remain silent.

The described sculpture or installation was spawned from Rešić’s last cycle of the Trilogy of Growing Up, a triptych created in 2021 in which the author speaks in symbolic language about the three phases of life; childhood, adulthood and old age. Three sculptures of identical shape represent the human brain, whose structure, as a metaphor for motherhood, is personified by the multiplied and intertwined female nude, and the screws and nails protruding from the brain illustrate a particular age of life. When we look at the triptych from a further perspective, it is evident that it alludes to the appearance of the Corona virus, that is, that the author uses an associative process to talk about our recent and terrifying reality.

Alija Rešić began his author’s journey with a poetically-sensual ode to a woman, which he already clearly emphasized in his first cycle with the significant name Venus. The young sculptor in that series is just forming as an author, and it is not surprising that the formative influences of his teacher, Ivan Sabolić, are still visible, but also that he is studying the world masters of Modern art sculptural thought, such as Henry Moore and Aristide Maillol.

His early sculptural cycle inventively and coherently sublimates the aforementioned sculptural influences, but also gradually promotes an authentic author’s handwriting, which is manifested in the inventive rhythm of placing mass in space, as well as in the dialogue of strong and monumental plastic design with refined and light-accented surface texture. Rešić’s sculptures have an emphasized voluminous mass enclosed in strained (and when necessary, stylized) forms, but despite its static stability, it is evident that the author wants to set this impressive volume in motion, break through the formal structure and release a powerful energy that, although restrained by the solidity of the form, impatiently and restlessly it boils under the tense sculptural membrane. In the next cycle, called Obala (The Shore), Alija’s sculptural form is somewhat more sculpted, lighter and more elegant, and there is a noticeable tendency towards a rational construction of space within the body of the statue itself. In parallel with sculpture, Rešić is increasingly engaged in drawing and painting, and in these expressions he is more open than in sculptures, although their initial vocation is identical. The painted and drawn compositions were done quickly, almost sketchily, and exude a strong expressionist charge that indicates the great artistic potential of the author who wants to realize his visions as soon as possible, and there are slight deviations from the default form and strict proportions, which a prolific sculptor like Alija cannot allow when creating in its native medium. The drawings and paintings levitate on the edge of compositional and formal laws, and in conjunction with the author’s research into form, they result in a specific modernist mannerism.

In the Lungo mare cycle, which was created at the beginning of the new millennium, this mannerism is also extended to sculptures, which are now smaller in format, and show a deviation not only with freer shaping but also with a certain geometric stylization of the figure, similar to what was painted on the antique Dipylon style vases. The form itself (in addition to the mannerist deviations that are most clearly manifested in the small heads of the figures) has been somewhat minimally interpreted, and the movement is now stopped in the moment and imaginarily realized by deliberate styling and rotations of the basic (leaf) form.

Alija Rešić is a sculptor who does not exhibit too often, does not actively participate in art and cultural structures, he is not interested in contemporary trends or any trendy affiliation. Consistent with his unburdened, relaxed and somewhat romantic poetics and a certain anachronism, he makes a conscious departure from reality and lets time pass him by. For years, he has nurtured his artistic expression exclusively as a means of enjoyment, not as a program task or a guild obligation, and he was never really interested in the promotion of his own work because he creates only when he really wants to. He is homo ludens and homo faber at the same time, because for him above all the rule applies that a thing is valuable if it is made with human hands and joy, because as he says: art is part of life, and life is art.

Mladen Lučić

ALIJA REŠIĆ was born in 1952 in Prijedor, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He entered the School of Applied Arts in 1970 in Sarajevo under the direction of prof. Alija Kučukalić, but already the following year he goes to Zagreb where he enrolls in the sculpture department at the School of Applied Arts under the direction of prof. Ante Despot and Prof. Belizar Bahorić.

He entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1975 and attended the drawing class of prof. Ivan Lovrenčić, painting class of professor Ivo Šebalj and sculpture class of professor Stipe Sikirica. After two years, he moved to the sculpture class of Prof. Ivan Sabolić. He graduated in 1980, when he became an associate of the Master’s workshop of prof. Antun Augustinčić under the leadership of Ivan Sabolić.

He acquired the status of freelance artist at Croatian Freelance Artist Association in 1981, and since 1999 he has been a member of Croatian Association of fine Artists of Istria. He had about twenty solo exhibitions and participated in several collective exhibitions in the country and abroad and was awarded several times. He lives and works in Hrboki near Barban in Istria.

About the event:



  • Gradska galerija Pula - Galleria civica di Pola / Pula-Pola


  • 09.09. - 15.10.22


  • Gradska galerija Pula - Galleria civica di Pola
  • Kandlerova 8