Komelj AHAS 5angl

Miklavž KOMELJ
Collaboration beetween the architect Jože Plečnik and the woodcarver Maks Bergant
As a follower of the vanishing tradition, Maks Bergant (1912–1996) was the most outstanding Slovene woodcarver in the second half of the 20th century. He collaborated with Jože Plečnik during the last decade of the architect's life and carved several works after his designs. Plečnik valued him highly, consulted him while designing, keeping in mind the woodcarver's particular capabilities; he even left some details entirely to his collaborator's invention. The architect also considered him to be a good sculptor. Bergant modelled a splendid portrait of a blind woman called Marjanca, and this is one of the two statues that had aroused Plečnik's greatest enthusiasm in his entire life as he admitted himself. Plečnik and Bergant were also close to each other by their similar religious ideals and the idea of their own work as a sacred mission. They also shared a special relationship towards the past as something never fully exhausted and final. Their collaboration grew into a genuine friendship at the very beginning – in which Bergant's symbolic gesture of subordination, understood by Plečnik in the religious sense, also played an important role. Namely, the relationship between the master and his disciple, or executor of his designs, was the essential opearational position for Plečnik. His logic was not the logic of an intellectual but the logic of a master. The architect's friendship and collaboration with Bergant is an example of the kind of relationship that was crucial for Plečnik's work; but it is even more important to emphasize the irreplaceabilty of this concrete relationship, for Bergant was absolutely exceptional among Slovene woodcarvers, and Plečnik was deeply aware of this. Bergant belonged to the persons closest to Plečnik in their shared committment to the specific interconnectedness between architecture and applied arts. The paper quotes several anecdotes concerning this friendship as they have been told by the woodcarver's widow, Dr. Zora Bergant. But in the first place, the text tries to present a general outline of Bergant's oeuvre, which has been poorly known until now. Mentioned are also his works that were created after Plečnik's death. With his deeply cut voluminous woodcarvings, adapted to his personal rhythms, Bergant realized his specific style of the topmost quality, based mainly on the modification of Baroque examples. Doing so, not only did he carry on the tradition, but he actually re-established it as a new option.