Zivotopis

Često su motivi slikarski zaštitni znak koji nepogrešivo prepoznajemo: Cezannove mrtve prirode s jabukama, Van Goghove suncokrete, Monnetove lopoče, Degasove balerine, Prstecove ajgele. Baš tako – nakon zamalo tri desetljeća slikanja karakterističnog motiva anđela u baroknom ozračju, slikar Željko Prstec priskrbio je svome rodnome gradu osobito, trajno mjesto u povijesti slikarstva i odrednicu: grad u kojem anđeli spavaju. To je njegov copyright.

Pod strehama koje čuvaju prah s anđeoskih krila, rodio se 08.07.1950. Nakon što su ga anđeli čuvari proveli kroz škole u Varaždinu i Zagrebu, latio se posla. Od 1969. skuplja prah s anđeoskih krila na svojim slikama i izlaže ga u galerijama(šezdesetak samostalnih izložbi i stotinjak skupnih), ukoričuje u knjigama (dvadesetak naslova poezije, proze i dječje književnosti), otiskuje u grafičkim mapama (od kojih je legendarnom postala ona pod naslovom “Grad u kojem anđeli spavaju”) i na plakatima, uprizoruje u scenografijama. U te su se njegove anđeoske svjetove zagledali i zaljubljivali ljudi u mnogim zemljama. Sa svim svojim anđelima član je Hrvatskog društva likovnih umjetnika i Hrvatske zajednice samostalnih umjetnika.

Biography

A motif is quite often a painter’s trademark, which can be seen in Cézanne’s still lives with apples, Van Gogh’s sunflowers, Monet’s water lilies, Degas’s ballerinas, and Prstec’s angels. Yes, that is exactly it. After nearly three decades of painting his sole motif – baroquesque angels – the painter Željko Prstec has turned his native Varaždin into a permanently important place in the history of painting. He has also given it a memorable name: The city of sleeping angels. This is his copyright.

Željko Prstec was born on 08.07.1950, under the eaves that hide the dust from angels’ wings. After his guardian angels helped him complete education in Zagreb and Varaždin, he started diligent work on his pictures. He has been collecting angels’ wings’ dust in his pictures ever since 1969 (around 60 independent and nearly a 100 collective exhibitions), turning it into books about twenty volumes of poetry, prose and books for children), printing it in portfolios of graphic works (including the legendary one named “The city where angels sleep”), in dozens of posters and stage designs. Many people from all over the world have seen and fallen in love with his angelic worlds. Along with all his angels, Prstec is a member of the Croatian Association of Visual Artists and the Croatian Association of Freelance Artists.

Biographie

Oft sind Maler durch ihre Motive gekennzeichnet, die wir unfehlbar erkennen: Cezanns Stilleben mit Äpfeln, Van Goghs Sonnenblumen, Monets Wasserrosen, Degas Ballerinen, Prstec Engel. Es ist halt so – nachdem er fast drei Jahrzehnte das charakteristische Motiv des Engels in Barockambiente gemalen hat, hat der Maler Željko Prstec seinem Geburtsort eine besondere, dauerhafte Stelle in der Malereigeschichte und diese Ernennung besorgt: Die Stadt, in der Engel schlafen. Das ist sein Copyright.

Unter den Vordächern, die den Staub von Engelsflügeln bewahren, wurde er 08.07.1950 geboren. Nachdem ihn die Schutzengel durch Varaždiner und Zagreber Schulen geführt hatten, machte er sich an die Arbeit. Seit 1969 sammelt er den Staub von Engelsflügeln auf seinen Bildern und stellt ihn in Gallerien aus (etwa sechzig selbstständige und ungefähr einhundert Gruppenausstellungen), bindet ihn in Büchern ein (etwa zwanzig Dichtungs-, Prosa- und Kinderliteraturwerke), drückt ihn in graphischen Mappen (von denen diejenige unter dem Titel «Die Stadt, in der Engel schlafen» legendär wurde) und auf Plakaten ab, setzt ihn in verschiedener Szenographie auf die Bühnen. In seine Engelswelten haben sich Menschen in vielen Ländern verschaut und verliebt. Mit all seinen Engeln ist er Mitglied der Kroatischen Künstlergesellschaft und der Kroatischen Gemeinschaft selbständiger Künstler.

O Prstecu/About Prstec

Tamo Gdje Anđeli Spavaju

Nekoć davno dok su ljudi još doista umjeli nositi svog anđela na ramenu, beskrajno mu vjerovali i nježno se s njim ophodili, ta je vojska Božja bila predana, odana i ustrajna. Bili su to takvi anđeli — oduvijek, uvijek i zauvijek, poput prave ljubavi. Nije ih trebalo zazivati, nije ih trebalo zamišljati… Zato ljudi nisu morali spavati, san i java bili su u jedno stopljeni. Anđeli su, trepnuvši samo, odagnali svaku bol, umor, nemire duše, a lepetom krila želje bi se ozbiljile. Ili tako nekako, nitko više ne pamti. I kako to biva, u priči i životu, nešto se dogodi, lijepo se premetne u ružno, dobro u zlo i prije nego razbor stigne išta učiniti, svijeta kakav je bio više nema. Otada, ili tako nekako, nekim ljudima ne trebaju njihovi anđeli pa oni odbačeni očajavaju… Neki ljudi moraju dozivati anđele da ih čuvaju… Drugima pak u san dolaze, te stoga ljudi i moraju spavati. Međutim, budući da su time anđeli djelomice postali besposleni (a to uopće nije bezazleno — zna to Gospodar njihov) odlučiše se i oni odmarati. “Pa zašto i mi ne bismo katkad sanjali, kad već snovi postoje i kad se mođe tako krasno i spokojno u snovima lebdjeti.” Eto, zato anđeli spavaju. Eh, a onda su morali pronaći i gdje će svoja krila sklopiti i svojim snovima se razmahati. Birali, tražili, lutali i baš u ovaj grad stigli. Tu su se nastanili i do danas ostali, što god vam netko o tome rekao!

Jeste li zamijetili kako se anđeli najviše i najčešće pojavljuju u prosincu? U gotovo svakoj božićnoj priči (ili barem onoj koja drži do sebe) glavnu ulogu odigra neki anđeo ili nekoliko njih. Toliko smo ih puta vidjelu u snjeđnome krajoliku da bismo lako mogli izvesti zaključak kako padaju zajedno sa snježnim pahuljama i da se love na mamac ozračja raspoloženja oko Božića. Ili ih možda donose oni daleki vjetrovi kojima doplove vunasti blistavi oblaci? I što mi uopće možemo spoznati o njima? Budući da su po definiciji nevidljivi i bestjelesni, kako možemo znati da nas je, na primjer, pohodio baš naš osobni čuvar? Mođemo li ga prepoznati po nečujnom šaptu u uhu ili blagom lepetu krila koja načine neznatan dašak vjetra? I što nam daje za pravo da mislimo kako postoje u ljudskom obličju?

I štogod znali o anđelima1, neće nam baš mnogo pomoći da uđemo u anđeoski svijet na slikama Željka Prsteca i da proniknemo nagoviještaju li one možda nadolazeće doba anđela. Problem je u tome da treba pronaći neki nov kut gledanja Željkovih slika, a to može biti samo vrlo neobičan kut, kao npr. da lebdite na oko metar i pol visine i promatrate slike ili da lebdite na dva metra naopačke? Ali čak i da dubite na trepavicama ništa nećete spoznati ako vam u duši već ne stanuje neki anđeo, pa makar i star i umoran, pospan i nevoljk, koji sa skepsom gleda na svijet ljudskih bedastoća. Koji god kut gledanja našli, neće biti zadugo — jer Željko će nas iznova iznenađivati svježinom nekog novog, njemu možda milijuntog anđela. Da, eto prijedloga za besposlene (anđele): a da netko izbroji sve Željkove anđele? Dobro bi bilo da prizovemo vojsku anđela, koju ni najumniji anđeolozi nisu izbrojili, da razvrsta Željkove anđele? Zamislite samo koliko je on anđela u svijet odaslao — neizbrojivo mnogo! A koliko je to u nekoj mjernoj jedinici ljubavi? Kao da ljubav možemo mjeriti, pa čak i anđelima!

Svi su ti anđeli glasnici (i vjesnici) ljubavi, po definiciji čiste i iskrene — anđeoske. Oni su nad gradom, nad krajolikom u svako godišnje doba, crkvicom, ljudima, dječicom (premda se često gubi razlika između dječice i anđela — što mislite, slučajno ili namjerno?), nad našim bićem koje “ulazi” u sliku s takvom lakoćom, kao da ga vodi ruka anđela. I ta milina koja se razlijeva, ta nostalgična sentimentalnost za anđeoskim dobom (onim nedužnim dobom djetinjstva: čovjeka, grada, svijeta), ta dražesna živost koja obećava lakoću postojanja — to su forme ljubavi koja plijeni na Željkovim slikama. Bit će da su zato tako “prozračne”, “pahuljaste” — jer anđeli su često sačinjeni od oblaka, a ljubav je vrtlog uzduha (dan odabranima da ga vide). I anđeli Željka Prsteca nose poruke (a kakve, to svak za se zna, kao i od koga!) i vijestice, pratnja su i s ove i s one strane duge.

A znate li zašto svirale imaju? Dakle, onomad se vjerovalo kako anđelima ne trebaju riječi — jer su iznad te razine sporazumijevanja. Riječi trebaju nama, nesavršenim bićima ovisnima o “tvrdom načinu” sporazumijevanja. Zato eto Željkovi anđeli imaju svirale i šute. Šute. No onima koji za to uho imaju, sve će reći. O ljubavi. I još ponešto. (Onako usput: još uvijek mislite da ne znate gdje anđeli spavaju?)

1 Kao primjerice da ih je tek u šestom stoljeću Dionizije Aeropagit razvrstao u devet korova, podijeljenih na tri reda (osim osobnih čuvara, nama su obično najmiliji kerubini i serafini). U ranom kršćanstvu prikazivali su ih kao mladiće odjevene u bijele halje i još im nisu bila izrasla krila. Tek su u četvrtom stoljeću dobili krila, bijela i pernata. No, zapravo s talijanskom renesansom počinje doba anđela kakvo mi poznajemo. Premda neki kažu da doba anđela tek dolazi — zato što su oni znak neuvjetovane Božje ljubavi spram ljudi, zato što su oni oličenje ljubavi per se.

~ Jadranka Pintarić

Where Angels Sleep

Once upon a time, when people could still truly carry their angel on their shoulder, trust him completely and treat him gently, that Army of God was committed, loyal and persevering. That’s the kind of angels they were — always and forever, like true love. There was no need to call out to them, no need to imagine them… And people did not need to sleep — sleep and awakens were melted into one. Simply by blinking, angels cast away all pain, weariness, restlessness of the soul, and by flapping their wings, they made wishes come true. Or something like that… no one really remembers anymore. As usual, in stories as well as in life, something happens, what was once beautiful becomes ugly, what was good becomes evil, and before reason has a chance to do anything, the world that once was, is no more. Since then, or thereabouts, some people no longer need their angels and thus rejected, they despair… Some people have to call out to their angels to be watched over… To others yet, they come in dreams, which is why people need sleep. Since this made angels partly idle (which is not harmless, as their Lord well knows), they decided to rest also. “Why shouldn’t we dream sometimes too, when dreams do exist and when one can beautifully and peacefully hover in them.” That is why angels sleep. Then they had to find a place to fold their wings and succumb to their dreams. They looked around, searched and wandered, finally arriving to this city. That’s where they found their home and remain to this day, no matter what anyone says!

Have you noticed how angels show up most frequently in December? In almost every Christmas story (or any self-respecting one anyway), an angel or several of them play the leading roles. We have seen them in snow-covered landscapes so many times that we might easily conclude they fall together with snowflakes and are caught by the Christmas atmosphere. Or perhaps they are brought by the distant winds that are the vehicles of woolly, shiny clouds? What can we possibly know about them? Since by definition they are invisible and incorporeal, how are we to know that, for example, our own guardian has visited us? Can we recognize him by his soft whisper or the gentle flapping of wings that bring but the lightest breeze? And what gives us the right to think they exist in human form?

Whatever we know about angels1, it won’t help us much in entering the angelic world in Željko Prstec’s paintings or in figuring out whether they are indicating an arrival of the time of angels. We must find a new angle of looking at Željko’s paintings, and it can only be a very unusual angle, such as hovering five feet above the ground while looking at the paintings, or hovering at six feet, upside down? But, do what you might, you will understand nothing unless an angel is already residing in your soul, even if it is an old and tired angel, sleepy and grouchy, sceptical about the world of human folly. Whichever angle you choose, it won’t last you for long, because Željko continues to surprise us with a fresh angel, maybe the millionth to him. Here’s a proposition for idle angels: how about counting all of Željko’s? It would be good to call upon an army of angels, which even the cleverest angelologists have failed to count, so they can classify Željko’s. Just imagine how many angels he’s sent into the world — they are countless. And how much is that in imaginary units of measure of love? As if we could quantify love, even using angels!

All those angels are heralds of love, by definition pure and sincere — angelic. They are above the city, above the landscape in any season, above chapels and people, above children (although the difference between children and angels is often lost — by accident or by design, do you suppose?), above our being which “enters” the painting so easily, as if led by the hand of an angel. And the sweetness that spills over us, the sentimental nostalgia for the time of angels (the innocent time of childhood — of humans, the city, the world), that charming vivaciousness which promises a lightness of being — those are forms of love which captures us in Željko’s paintings. That must be the reason they are so “ethereal” and “fluffy” — because angels are often made of clouds, and love is a vortex of sighs (given to the chosen to see). Željko Prstec’s angels carry messages (the contents and authors of which each of us knows for him/herself) and news, they are companions both under and over the rainbow.

Do you know why they have flutes? It was once believed that angels do not need words that they are above that level of communication. We, the imperfect, need words, we who are dependent on that “rough” way of communicating. That is why Željko’s angels have flutes and are silent. They do not speak. But to those with an open ear, they will tell everything. About love. And some other things. (By the way, do you still think you don’t know where angels sleep?)

1 For instance that Pseudo-Dionysius classified them as late as in the 6th century into three orders (in addition to personal guardians, we are usually most fond of the cherubim and seraphim). In early Christianity, they were depicted as young men wearing white robes who didn’t yet have wings. The wings, white and feathery, arrived in the 4th century. However, the Italian Renaissance brought us the angels as we know them. Although some say that the time of angels is yet to arrive — because they are the sign of God’s unconditional love for people, because they are the embodiment of love per se.

~ Jadranka Pintariić

Paintings od Željko Prstec could be seen yesterday, at particular exhibitions of original painters, and they can’t be said to have been forgotton soon. They were imbued with some melancholy mood with figures longish as a horse-tail, which reminded us of Modigliani’s women. In the background of everything-forgotten, enchanted towns. Castles from memory, from a dream. Adorned with flags.

When Željko came to me these days, with the collection of aquarelle drawings to make introduction to my recognition of matter of his autonomous exhibition prepared for the Gallery of Paintings of the Varaždin Museum (with the possibility to be shown at the Museum for Art and Craft being a part of conjunction of Zagreb and Varaždin museums), I had an opportunity for an exciting stroll through memories under the wreathed walls.

If early oil paintings of Željko Prstec reminded us of panoramas of Varaždin, of the time river which has for centuries been running among pylons of Varaždin Old Town baroque towers and strongholds, his latest aquarelle drawings are tightly connected with mythical and fairy tales architecture.

Nobody knows if these ruins were destroyed, burnt or just abandoned for some unidentified damnation. In any case, time is headless here, just as those torsos that rise from the corner forts’gulfs, or as still as a key-stone or chiseled capital of a pillar.

Aquarelles of Željko Prstec get our spirit accustomed to romantic experience. Neither destroying force of war nor feverish longing of body – which we could refer to for artist’s iconography, can’t put us off from this elated memory of citadels scattered about squares, of warm women’s bodies bathed under mild summer showers in a far-away country which can’t be found on maps.

This is how painting poetry is born, poetry demanding its right: in Varaždin sphere linked with Stančić motifs, but in broader context it is difficult to find examples and parallels off-hand.

Painter’s aquarelles shimmer is full light and that is why they must be observed in no haste, slowly, respectfully stopping in front of the details that have been so carefully drawn. Signs of soul are hidden within them. It is a soul that opens to everyone that has patietnly waited for the painter’s invisible keys to opet the door to the roads leading to the other side of reality, where objects tremble in the fire of fantasy.

~ Vladimir Maleković

“Prstecovi akvareli ljeskaju se na punom svjetlu, i zato ih treba promatrati bez žurbe, ponizno se zaustavljajući pred detaljima koji su tako pozorno iscrtani. U njima se skriveni znakovi duše što se otvara svakome koji je strpljivo čekao da se umjetnikovim nevidljivim ključevima otvore vrata prema cestama što vode na drugu obalu zbilje gdje predmeti drhte u plamenu fantazije.”

~ Vladimir Maleković, 1985.

“Njegova djela imaju fizionomiju. Svako pojedino djelo ostvareno je kroz tehničku zadaću, kojoj je slikar kroz strukturu papira kao podloge, preobrazio likovnu misao u snažno likovno ostvarenje.”

~ Mirjana Dučakijević, 1995.

“… Razapinje se jedna stroga minuciozna i definirajuća crtačka mreža koja je prazna kao mrtva — tek bačena u vrijeme bezličnog — i odjednom lagano, prozračno, zažari akvarelom i zaživi taj grad, grad uhvaćen u kontrapunktu crteža i boje, u svojoj izraženosti i bezvremenosti, u svojoj oslobođenoj vrijednosti i prisutnosti, ne grad u svojoj prostornoj opojnosti, nego grad oslobođen i viđen u Prstecovom značenju i čaru.”

~ Kamilo Burger, 1992.

“…Duhovitost Prstecovih crteža nije karikaturalne naravi, ona se uvlači u mnogo finija tkanja ljudske svijesti. U djetinstvo, u snove, u erotska maštanja, u ironiju spram onoga što najviše voli. Među omiljenim motivima valja istaknuti poseban odnos spram rodnog grada Varaždina, ali grada kao ljudskog staništa uopće, spram baroknog morfološkog repertoara kao izvora vlastitom, spram religije koja nije doživljena molitveno-mistično, nego pučki svečano i kazališno-barokno, i naposljetku, spram erotskih simbola i njhova čudnovata preklapanja s ostalim motivima. Upravo iz začudnih sklopova proizlazi Prstecova duhovitost.”

~ Sanja Cvetnić, 1993

“….Pogansko-ludistički impulsi vrlo su se sukladno uklopili u jak religijski Prstecov osjećaj, prisutan u slikarskom djelovanju kao molitva. žena-grad i grad-žena neraskidivo su vezani lancem, gdje hommage ženi, toj duši Svijeta, savršenstvu Prirode, umjetniku biva polazištem osmišljavanja koncepta. Ispod epiderme krije se istrošena arhitektura tijela. Renesansni temelji jakog inspirativnog izvorišta umjetnikova poprimaju sasvim autohtone, stilski prepoznatljive karakteristike.”

~ Enes Quien,1995.

“…. Pitamo se uvijek iznova i napose dok listamo tu mapu unatoč svemu kako u životu jest, neće li goli dječačići s krilima — posuđenica iz epohe baroka s kojom je Prstec u Varaždinu na “ti” — postati i djelić našeg sna kada god je u pitanju očuvanje sakralnih objekata i dvoraca što sabiru baštinu pouzdane vjere i sklada? Prstec toliko puta mora ponavljati da su burgovi i crkve od starina jednako sastavnica našeg bića kako su bili u narštaja kada se još vodilo računa o povezanosti arhitekture s okolišem. Zašto nam mnogi dragi objekti pred očima propadaju? Ako ih taj varaždinski slikar može prizvati u društvu putta kao bajku usred bolne zbilje, zašto ta zbilja ne postane bajka? Čujmo taj zvuk tišine!”

~ Josip škunca , 1996.

“…Teško je odrediti što je slikara željka Prsteca nagnalo da svoja praktički već dva desetljeća stvaralaštva, idejno likovno veže uz temu Grada. On sam tvrdi kako tu i nema neke tajne, osim možda jednostavnog iscrtavanja prikrivenih slika što mu ih nudi podloga, No, ako već prihvatimo taj njegov credo, kojim podržava teoriju o umjetniku-pukom posredniku u svevremenom protoku energije slika, ne možemo a da u Prstecovim radovima ipak ne zamjetimo onu presudnu dozu osobnosti i raspoznatljivosti koja jasno legitimira autora.”

~ Mirjana Šigir, 1995.

“Grad avetinjski pust i prazan, ili romantičarski okupan rumenilom, grad opustošen, obezglavljen poput morbidnih tjelesa koja iz njega strše. Prstecov je grad i pozornica na kojoj se pričaju priče o rođenju, o propadanju, s mnoštvom anđela tužnih, uzbuđenih, anđela trubača koji opominju, zovu, plaču… Kad danas promatramo Prstecova djela ponajprije nam se nameće njihova nevjerojatna vizionarska dimenzija. Iz tradicije grada i vlastitoga okruženja umjetnik je upio duh, ozračje, a u svojoj priči o gradu anticipirao našu zbilju…”

~ Slavica Marković, 1993.

“Mapa grafika i pjesama slikara željka Prsteca i pjesnika Zvonka Milkovića čarobna je škrinja djetinjstva jednog grada: Varaždin je podjednako ovdje njihov genus locus, rodno mjesto, kao i zajedničko izvorište njhove neprispodobive ljubavi i odanosti, ishodište njihove umjetničke inspiracije Mitski, barokni i pozlaćeni Varaždin u djelima ovih umjetnika kao da izranja iz bezvremenosti da bi nam u njihovim vizijama bio predočen kao grad-simbol ili zaštitni znak jedne nadahnute osjećajnosti i skladnosti, Grad iz sna…”

~ Ernest Fišer 1992.