Pusta zemlja / Deserted land. Original etching and aquatint, 1959. Edition of 100 signed and numbered impressions on the Arches paper.
Zoran Mušič is one of the most celebrated Slovenian artists, born close to Goriza, who lived and worked in numerous places. He was influenced by many cultures from his early childhood such as Slavic, Italian and Germanic culture. Later on in his life he drew inspiration from French influences. He finished his studies at the School of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1935, and shortly after that he moved to Spain. From Spain he moved back to Slovenia, where he lived until 1943 and then moved to Venice. It was World War II that changed his life and influenced his art. Mušič was arrested by the Gestapo in 1944, and deported to Dachau, where he spent a year. There he made a series of drawings, which were an extraordinary documentation depicting the extremely difficult circumstances of life in the camp. These drawings inspired one of the most famous of his series of oil paintings and graphic prints, titled “We are not the Last” which he made in the 1970s. After Mušič was released from Dachau, he moved back to Venice, where he also held his first solo exhibition in 1946. Later, in 1950, his first prize was also won in Venice, at the Biennale di Venezia. In 1952 he moves to Paris with his wife Ida. Nevertheless he kept his studio in Venice where he continued to work on different themes such as the Dalmatian and Italian landscapes, moving away from the laws of three-dimensionality and becoming more abstract. Nevertheless he often returned to his origins as a figurative artist, and his awful experience in Dachau. Living and working in Venice and Paris, he was also influenced by Italian Byzantian mosaics and icons and the “lyrical abstraction” of the French Informel. In this picture we can see an influence of Informel – spontaneity of the gesture, automatism, expressive use of material, relations with representational art are broken, only by the artwork’s name we can know what Mušič depicted.