The scent of Istria in the paintings of Bojan Šumonja

Bojan Šumonja
There is nothing higher then offering yourself to the infinite
17 February – 4 March 2017
KiBela, space for art / MMC KIBLA, Maribor, Slovenia

Bojan Šumonja is a leading Croatian painter, whose typical Istrian canvases have been occupying gallery spaces since the 1980’s onward. His début exhibition in this region, at the Multimedia center KIBLA in Maribor, features a solo exhibition opening on Friday, 17 February 2017 at 8 p. m.

A very condensed overview of his creative efforts will be on display, from existentialist, Mediterranean paintings, to expressionist, mythological works; from politically committed to the more intimate individual motifs. One of his typical features is the use of an extensive color palette, which often emphasizes the selected color scheme depending on the story it conveys, and weaves it into the composition.  

We can thus make a distinction between his individual painting periods in terms of blue (which he emphasizes very often), yellow, red … The material aspect of his works could be further defined by the use of bitumen, which he incorporates in various ways, by weaving it with the color into the integral visual contour, which results in a raised-relief surface, a paste-like quality of the material, and a certain kind of “proper blackness”, with an appealing fragrance radiating from such an oil-based mixture. In quite a few works he plays with the idea of a painting inside a painting, where the outer edge is at the same time part of the painting, and a frame, which takes the story forward to some kind of an extended reality, as if he wanted to juxtapose it on a different level.   

To Bojan Šumonja, the perpetuation of a proper artistic expression is both an experiment, and a search for new possibilities offered by the selected motif, once he places it inside a different context and alters its color palette. We could say more or less the same about his more recent works, which perhaps cannot be simply linked to the earlier paintings, although we certainly recognize his stroke. The color scheme is more modest, with white, blue and black prevailing. Their message is much more straightforward, it can be entirely political, and it differs from the earlier, more covert narratives in the sense of responding to current events.

About the exhibition

About the artist
Bojan Šumonja graduated from the School of Applied Arts in Pula, Croatia. He then continued his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, department of sculpture, class of prof. Gianfranco Tramontin and graduated in 1984. In 1985 he took an additional class in graphic design in Milan, Italy. He has exhibited in over 200 group exhibitions and over 70 solo shows in Croatia and abroad. He lives and works in Pula.


The exhibition is supported by the Ministry of Culture, the Municipality of Maribor, and the Ministry of Labor, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.

Info: Peter Tomaž Dobrila

Exhibition & Art Works, photo:Kristijan Robič, Kibla archive

Photo: Kristijan Robič



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