Ornamental motifs were a source of inspiration for the graphic layout of the international art exhibition of Slovene art and artists in Cork, Ireland.

Ivan Razboršek - ornamental artist
(1924 – 1998)
Born of Slovenian parents in the year 1924 in faraway Skopje. He and his brother knew Slovenia only through books and the tales told by their parents, deepening their love of the distant homeland and rich ethnic heritage. He started to collect anything he
could find connected with Slovenia and its culture.

In 1943 he decided to begin collecting systematically, editing, studying and making drawings from ornamental arts. He never fulfilled his wish to study at the art academy. Having never had a formal education, he was not burdened by fine arts theory and could feel the primal poetry of ornamental figuration, which he then imparted with painstaking detail to his own decorative compositions.

In 1954 he came to Slovenia to live, settling in Ljubljana and residing there until his death in 1998.
At home he tended to the artistic upbringing of his children, enjoying working with schoolchildren and visiting the elderly in homes, encouraging their creativity.

He worked for his own inner enrichment and wished to share the treasures he discovered with others. Disappointed with the relationship others had to his work, using it many times without permission and forgetting the artist himself, he took refuge in his art and created his most beautiful works. The wish of my father was that his work would help both preserve and enrich our cultural heritage as well as to encourage contemporaries to contribute their own creative works, not by blindly copying his original ornamentation, but by creating their own.

Dr.Cene Avguštin, well-known art historian and critic as well as personal friend, wrote these words: "… Ivan Razboršek combines various ornamental figures into new compositional units, thereby creating new ornamental patterns, unprecedented in the history of ornamental art. That is the special contribution of Ivan Razboršek to our times, and this contribution has become a part of them…"

The exhibition "Gallery of the Ornamental Arts of Ivan Razboršek" opened on the 26th of November, 1987, in Castle Sevnica, presenting his drawings, objects and plates, engraved and decorated. He unearthed the foundations of his collection in the field, in farm homes, in churches, in craftsmen and in nature. From this ethnic tradition, which he fished from Lethe, his own style developed, which is always recognizable by his distinctive touch, even when unsigned with his monogramm "IR".

He once wrote: "…it is the authenticity of an ornament which allows the development of ornamental and folk art, unfalsified cognizance and shared understand between nations; it is a wonderful culture bridge, which opens possibilties for nearness and understanding between folk cultures and between one person and another. Ornament has its own language which anyone who has the desire to listen intently to it can understand…"

His interest in folk ingenuity did not stop with Slovene ornamentation, but reached to the work of all the world's folk.

There where periods when he dug into the rich culture heritage of Africa or the native cultures of South and Central America; at other times he was enchanted by the delicate figurations of Japan and China. He always returned, renewed, to his beloved Slovene ornamental arts.

His unique ornamental motifs were realized on paper, textiles, wood, ceramics, enammel, and engraved into glass and metal. In his last period, he concentrated on small grafic works and bookplates.

He exhibitted at 170 solo exhibitions, both at home and throughout the wide world, as well as participating in some 100 group exhibitions, about twenty of which took place in Europe, with exhibitions in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Taiwan and throughout China as well, his work finding admirers wherever it went, for ornamental art in all its forms is a wonderful cultural bridge between nations and folk.

After many years he realized, with sadness and bitterness in his heart, that Slovenes do not know how appreciate their own cultural heritage as other nations do, and are sometimes even ashamed of it. However, in his last years, he saw with joy that this relationship was changing, even if he was not happy with the fact that the renewal leaned too heavily toward commercialization of its themes.

His artistic heritage is tended with pride by my mother Maria, my sister Maja and myself, that his artistic spirit will live on, enriching the future, an inexhaustible source for our own artistic works.

His last exhibition took place in the gallery at the Prežihov Voranc library in Ljubljana, June 1996. At that exhibition were to be seen the ornamental motifs which were a source of inspiration for the graphic layout of the international art exhibition of Slovene art and artists in Cork, Ireland.

The of ornamental motifs chosen have a rich history obviously dears to my father's heart, for in the collection I discover some of his central motifs.

I do not know for sure when my father created this chosen ornamental motifs, but in printed matter we find it among his vignettes in a Slovene calender for 1982, which was printed for emigrants of Slovene descent. In the year 1986 he made linocuts for printing on paper and textile, which I have discovered in printed bookplates as well. He used them in his numerous lectures as well, which I have been able to date from academic materials. The most recent was published in his book "Slovene Ornamental Art", on page 110, published by Mohorje Society of Celja in 1992 and was reprinted twice.

Here a story begins and end happily, successfully intertwining the traditional and the contemporary, the result of which can be seen in the graphic design. Good luck in Cork!

Prepared by Eva Razboršek, udia

Copyright © 2005 MMC KIBLA