Alex Knapić was born on July 2nd,1970 in Pula (Istria, Croatia). Today he resides and works in Poreč, creating mainly architectural 3D visualizations and mosaics. His mosaics predominantly represent the destruction followed by a complete personal reconstruction of the traditional use of mosaic which are then used when decorating and refurbishing Christian sacral and other representative public spaces such as Roman atriums, baths or villas. This same tradition has been present in Istria for more than two thousand years.
It is said that old masters of the mosaic art were able to animate and anticipate “movements” of the figures on their mosaics by carefully aligning, almost unnoticeably lifting and directing the pieces towards sources of light. The observers would then, under the flickering light of oil lamps, candles or the shimmering rays of sunlight, be able to experience additional exhilaration and awe delivered by the masters' message or story.
Alex rightfully employs that same tradition of the old masters of mosaic since he was able to capture and reveal their “secret”: his mosaics are alive! Their flatness is dissolved by elements greatly reminding of Istrian soil, dry stone walls, intertwined pathways and the calloused hands that had to pry their little piece of bread and drop of wine away from the sun, salt and the wind!
Stone, as the predominant material in Alex's mosaics, becomes as soft and malleable as the soil and the colors that shimmer through the labyrinth formed by the mosaic pieces go as far as to create an illusion of containing pieces of ice or droplets of water.
The author boldly introduces, in addition to marble, new materials into the creation of his mosaics such as Venetian enameled glass (Murano Smalti), aluminum, metal or quite often a richly structured corten in order to enrich the texture of his works to an immeasurable degree. His mosaics contain many pathways which have been meticulously constructed to a point of cheeky and saucy perfectionism, at the same time representing the artist's own personal signpost an, his own personal path: his choice of unique mosaic pieces uniquely distributed into the base resemble a revealed secret showing us how to revive stone!
The three presented works My mother, Terra Istriana (Istrian Land) and The Colors of Istria are typical examples of the above!
The dominant feature of the mosaic dedicated to his mother (My mother) with its basis of a monochromatic hard stone is a woman's torso intersected by an iron stream representing the mother's waistline and at the same time her arm that pierces through and directs its own life and the lives of her progeny!
The configuration of the mosaic dedicated to and inspired by Istrian land (Terra Istriana) perfectly combines the rough geometry and the delicate colors of the earth revealing to us reliefs of tides and ebbs, sunrises and sunsets, winds, fires, streams, calm nights and scorching days.
The colors of Istria continue their Istrian journey represented from a vertical view. The exciting presentation of alternately placed materials and colors reveals the secret of coexistence of everything in Istria. Stylized and accentuated columns bear their names with ease: water, oil, wine, ember, oak, coal, olive…
Design is thinking made visual