Alumnus Stipan Tadić ’20 in Solo Online Exhibition

BY Audrey Deng, September 3, 2020

Recent alumnus Stipan Tadić ’20 has a solo online exhibition titled City Lights with the modern art gallery Steve Turner LA.

The paintings in City Lights portray New York in states of double emptiness and double contradiction. We see the city at night during the first months of the pandemic in works like “Empty Subway” (2020) and “Columbus Park” (2020), completely unpeopled scenes. The sinister sabbatical then transforms into protests, notably a nearly month-long sit-in at City Hall which Tadić paints in a lively, perspective-skewed work titled “City Hall” (2020).

During the pandemic, Tadić observed a new form of dystopia in New York’s empty streets. According to the gallery’s press release, “colorful neon signs were flashing but no one was there to see them.”

In an interview with gallery owner Steve Turner, Tadić describes the importance of creative documentation during these times. “As a foreigner I felt it was important for me to document my time in New York. The series shows the route I take every day and the scenes around these areas. Working on them has helped me accept the unprecedented circumstances in which we live.”


“In creating a nightscape series,” he adds, “I was thinking a lot about the atmosphere that night represents and its symbolic meaning. Night makes me think of Japanese prints, Hieronymus Bosch, Goya and the German Expressionists, all references that I have loved since my beginning in art. My interest in the melancholy, the subconscious and underlying psychological spaces overlaps with my love of the night.”

For instance, a SoHo nighttime scene is superimposed by a Serbian song playing in the upper righthand corner, which gives the impression that these paintings have a soundtrack running through them. “I wanted a collision between my inner voice and the outside world,” says Tadić. “In other paintings I included the logo of Croatian National Television in order to emphasize the Croatian filter through which the scenes are portrayed.”

In an interview for the series Conversations with Artists in Art Getting Art, Tadić further explains that what he values in visual art is the ability to convey interiority and exteriority simultaneously, public and private documentation.

City Lights runs through Sep. 26 and is available to view entirely online.

Another one of Tadić’s paintings is featured in the Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects’ show, Dark Was the Night. The New York Times writes, “The show’s newest name belongs to Stipan Tadić—a transplanted Croatian and recent graduate of Columbia University’s M.F.A program. His ‘Medika Dance’ (2019) evokes a dark alley leading to a late-night club, an image out of German Expressionism by way of Underground comics; it depicts an alternative cultural center in Zagreb and is based on Pieter Bruegel’s ‘Peasant Dance.’” Dark Was the Night, which runs through Sep. 6, also features work from Visiting Professor Susanna Coffey.

Tadić (born 1986, Zagreb, Croatia), earned an MA in painting from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb (2011) and an MFA from Columbia University. His first solo exhibition was in Zagreb in 2009 and since then he has had numerous solo and group exhibitions. His work was recently included in Steve Turner's Alone Together, a group show that featured work by twenty-three members of the celebrated Columbia University MFA Class of 2020.