The Painter of Light, 50 years of artistic creation
Vinko Šaina


We are celebrating 30 years since the opening of the Alvona Gallery and 50 years of artistic work of our founder.

Art critic and art historian Berislav Valušek, pointed out that Šaina’s paintings can be said to contain Labin and Istrian landscapes “wide and spacious, sumptuously articulated, full of sky, full of air”, but the paintings visually and motifs are not they call for them, because fictions are regions that are boundless, timeless, imaginative, elemental and universal.

“Morphologically, it is about the “three iconographic weave of the image” (D. Glavan), which most often consists of the sky, earth and sea in harmonious harmony, connected with the esoteric, mystical and religious aspects of both Christianity and other religions and esoteric teachings . These “landscapes with an Icarian perspective” (B. Toman) are unique in their structure within the broader Croatian artistic environment of similar creative origins. With all of the above, Šaina achieved a completely new mobility of the landscape, a different and surprising tectonics that eludes classical definitions. Like sound that can be modeled and modulated, so the painter’s landscape became distorted, “distorted” in order to be reshaped into extraordinary dynamic structures that not only reveal an external source of stimulation, but also diagnose internal spiritual states.

What has not been noticed until now, at least as far as we know, and what the author did not even hint at in his statements, is that his painting is deeply religious, which is his creative essence. The idea and landscape image of Vinko Šaina is a sublime vision of his inner landscapes collected over time from the most diverse memories, imaginations and dreams. It is an extension of the physical, psychic and spiritual self, an elusive (s)reality in constant motion, a landscape as a state of mind and soul, an inner spiritual archeology or fictional geography and topography of changing meanings.

By amalgamating the visible and the imagined, the real and the imaginary, the infinite in the finite, the uncertain in the certain and the invisible in the visible, in a playful search for inner visions and related visions, for the image of God and the divine in man, a higher order poetics was created, autochthonous. and original (authentic). It is the poetics of earth and sky, human and divine in all of us. At the same time, a poetics that could only be produced by a person with full and untainted artistic and human integrity.

Kazimir Maljevič, one of the greatest painters of the 20th century, the artist who first brought the reductionist principle to the zero position (reductio ad absurdum), an artist whose religiosity did not fit into the atheistic and/or agnostic modernist concept, and was almost concealed for decades, In short, meaningfully and concisely, around 1915, he summed up the whole problem in two sentences: “I am the beginning of everything, because worlds are created in my consciousness. I’m looking for God, I’m looking for myself in myself.”

Vinko Šaina was born in 1953 in Pula. He graduated from the school of applied arts in Split in the department of graphics in 1972. He is a member of HDLU Istria. Since 1971, he has exhibited at about fifty solo and almost two hundred group exhibitions in the country and abroad, and he participated in the work of a dozen art colonies in Croatia and abroad.