The monograph ‘Slavko Oblak – Artist and Artisan’ comprises 168 pages. The book was written by publicist Lidija Pavlovčič on the basis of interviews with the sculptor, and the author of the artistic review is art historian Vid Lenard. The monograph, supplemented by a rich selection of photographs, describes the stunning life and artistic path of Slavko Oblak, who grew from farmer’s son from Rečica pri Bledu into an internationally-acclaimed sculptor. His sculptures are indispensable parts of parks in many German cities and can also be admired in Bled.

“Nature is my artistic expression.” Slavko Oblak

In the introduction to the monograph, publicist Lidija Pavlovčič wrote about Slavko Oblak, honorary citizen of Bled: “My impression after our first meeting is strong and positive. Apart from Oblak’s vitality, amazing for a man 88 years of age, I was most impressed by his wit, humour and optimism. The stories he recounts as he journeys through the past show that at times his success was driven by the proverbial perseverance of Gorenjska people which helped him overcome even seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Slavko Oblak was born in 1934 at a farm ‘Pri Klemenovih’ in the Rečica village near Bled. His family was related to another family of farmers, the Mraks. Slavko was a carpenter, like his father, but after fulfilling his army duty in the 1950s, he decided to study art abroad.

Before he could enter the Academy of Performing Arts in München, he supported himself by doing various jobs. He even worked at a foundry, where he developed a love for bronze, which eventually became his preferred medium of expression.

In his research study ‘The Unending Appeal of Sculptures’, the art historian Vid Lenard also writes about the works of Slavko Oblak: “His sculptures can be described as large, aristocratic, majestic, effective and magnificent. As Oblak’s artistic path has no sudden turns or gaps, his sculptures cannot be classified as belonging to certain periods. If anything, his works show a continuity of development towards abstraction and towards uncovering and discovering the life within and the artist’s life-long coexistence with nature.”

At his second home – a farm in Kumhausen, where he now lives – Oblak even set up a foundry for casting sculptures that are aesthetically pleasing additions to public buildings and parks in Landshut, a town famous for its fountains and public art. Oblak’s oeuvre, in particular his fountains seen in many Bavarian towns, clearly demonstrate the sculptor’s pristine relationship and coexistence with nature.

In Bled you can enjoy four sculptures by Slavko Oblak. The first, Cyclamen by the Lake, was set up in 1997, the Budding Fountain in front of the Bled Municipality was erected in 2002, the statue of Mary, Mother of God, found its place in the chapel of Bled Castle in 2004, on the occasion of the 1000th anniversary of the first written mention of Bled. Since 2021 another Oblak’s sculpture, the Castle Blossom, greets the visitors to the castle park renovated by the Bled Culture Institute in 2019.

To purchase your copy of the monograph ‘Slavko Oblak – umetnik in rokodelec’ (Slavko Oblak: Artist and Artisan), please contact the Bled Culture Institute at info(at)zkbled.si.

View the interview on the occasion of the release of the monograph on Slavko Oblak:

The debate took place on Thursday, 22 December 2022, at Blaž Kumerdej Library in Bled.

The debate was moderated by art historian Ana Marija Kunstelj.

Debate attendees:

Slavko Oblak, Academy-trained painter

Lidija Pavlovčič, author of the artist’s biography

Vid Lenard, art historian, author of the professional paper on the artist’s creative path

Andreja Završnik, Bled Culture Institute, exhibition curator and monograph designer