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Spacal Lojze

Graphic artist and painter Lojze Spacal was born in Trieste in 1907. The descendant of an old family of stonecutters on the Slovene Karst, Spacal lost his father at the age of four, and at the age of ten he started working as an odd boy. At the age of twenty-three, he was imprisoned in the Regina Coeli jail in Rome because of his anti-fascist views. There, he created his first woodcuts, which were influenced by his recollections of the folk images of saints on glass from his grandmotherŐs house in Kostanjevica na Krasu. Later, he was confined in Accetura near Matera, where he became fascinated by local traditions. His painted coffin for a girl from a poor family aroused such allround admiration that in his own words he never received the like again in the entire seven decades of his extremely creative career. Apart from being a painter,he was a sculptor and designer of visual communications, tapestries, mosaics and glass artefacts intended for the décor of transoceanic ships and representative offices. Despite beeing deeply rooted in the traditions of Istria and the Karst and regardless of the fact that for the first thirty years of his life he was a self-taught artist, from the 1930s to the 1970s Spacal was extremely receptive to innovations coming from the most progressive European cultural circles The most important of his numerous international awards are those he received for graphic art, such as the International Grand Prix at the 1958 Venice Biennale. His positive influence could be felt in Italy (solo exhibition in Milan in 1940) as a counter-balance to the heavy xylographic decoration in the vein of D’Annunzio, and in Slovenia (exhibition at the Moderna galerija in Ljubljana in 1955) where it underlined the efforts for the emancipation from Socialist Realism and full acknowledgement of abstract art. After an early period inspired by the magic realism of Bontempelli’s narratives, Spacal turned into one of the best artists in Europe at convincingly recording partisan combat. Later on, his work often returned to this resistance period (Santiago Stadium, 1973). After the Second World War, he became fascinated with the magic splendour of city night-life, which he rendered through a reinterpretation of Klee and Mondrian. Nevertheless, the main axis of his exploration remains with the depictions of Karst and Istrian villages which through an original Cubist composition, he completely transformed by re-arranging iconic archetypes into universal symbol.