On the occasion of the Opening of the Ismet RizviŠ Gallery at the Bosniak Institute on the 4th of March  2008

In this time of disturbing trends and evil premonitions, this building represents an oasis of spirituality and spiritual peace. At this place one can often hear Mozart’s sonatas, Chopin's Nocturnes and Brahms’ edùtes and miniatures, as well as the pieces of many great composers of the world and from the local music scene. The walls of these halls, the staircases, the entire interior of this edifice – the Bosniak Institute in Sarajevo – are adorned by dozens and dozens of works of art that represent the art culture of Bosnia and Herzegovina at its best with special emphasis on the works of Bosniak origin. From this extensive collection, a special area is devoted to the works of Mersad Berber. Today, we are opening another special unit, this one dedicated to the work of an exquisite painter of watercolour landscapes, Ismet RizviŠ.

This collection is an important step forward in the context of RizviŠ’s creative biography, a croquis consisting of forty-seven watercolour paintings and three pastels done in larger format. This modest collection gives us an opportunity to grasp, with an almost cursory glimpse, the phases through which Ismet RizviŠ went placing on a wet piece of paper his watercolours, allowing them to spill over and get lost in the fields of a porous substrate.  Hundreds and hundreds of watercolour paintings formed a universal background from which the selector cleverly extracted this croquis collection of RizviŠ’s "fast paintings”. Thus we have been given, in a brief form, the chance to have an insight into the diversity and abundance of the creative work of one of our most prominent watercolourists on a smaller scale.

This evolutionary croquis begins with the phase in which Ismet RizviŠ painted his watercolours fully respecting the real world, giving special attention to the architectural heritage of the old Bosnia, but the artist never lost sight of the Bosnian landscape, of the nature that attracted him  with the magic of its light, with its mists and fluids, the nature to which the substance and material of watercolour was subordinated, as to the facts of the real and the objective. It is, therefore, a phase in which Ismet RizviŠ used his knowledge as an exceptional watercolourist for the purpose of showing the existing, and the images of the world we are surrounded by.

The “second" phase indicates the leap made by Ismet RizviŠ into the imaginary, into the free game of watercolours, yet the leap that was never made without reliance on the memory of earlier experiences. These sheets of paper look as if they are soaked in dreams and visions, and in a drama of the finest nuances of the art of watercolour, yet they never stop alluding to the real and the possible. These are the landscapes the artist has seen with his eyes shut so that he leaves his brush to his imagination and to the interplay of light, trickery and coincidence. These almost musical watercolour fantasies are released from any strict discipline and artistic schematism and we experience them as an inspired wandering, as a game...

 The third phase occurred when Ismet RizviŠ departed even further and even more boldly from the objective facts, and when he surprisingly and decisively entered into the area of pure abstraction. This breakthrough into the modern and the abstract was unfortunately interrupted by his sudden departure from this world, yet it remains for us to guess what would have been shown in all the colouristic richness of his watercolours, when objects would have been replaced by the language of pure form, colour abstraction and by the boldness of the artist’s gesture.

This area of the gallery, as we have said, is dedicated to the works of the prematurely deceased Ismet RizviŠ, this sentimental and delicate painter of shade, artistic exaltation and the world of wondrous heaven and miraculous light, the world of imagination and play. Thanks to the generosity of his wife, Mubera, the Bosnian Institute in Sarajevo has been endowed with these exceptionally valuable watercolours; with them, this temple of culture and arts has gained an additional attractiveness and augmented its artistic collection with new aesthetic material and value. Mr. Adil ZulfikarpašiŠ was more than happy to open the gates of his Institute, assigning a separate room to this collection as a token of its special treatment.

In this room, this space of spirituality and culture, whose walls are adorned with the watercolour jewels painted by Ismet Rizvic, all future visitors will be given an opportunity to experience the most delicate art of intimacy, fluidity and a profoundly noble sense of the world, a world in which our dear friend and fellow citizen, who has become a lasting part of our memory, the inspired watercolourist Ismet Rizvic, once belonged.

Vefik Had×ismajloviŠ