Denis Kaplan is an artist painter living and working in Zagreb, Croatia. In his art, he combines two great loves...painting and music.


 His paintings, mostly abstract done in acrylic on canvas technique, are inspired by musical works of different genres - from classical music, jazz and rock to popular tunes and evergreens.


 The works from his opus of over 1000 paintings are often exhibited in solo and group exhibitions as well as in numerous online galleries. 









"A central eruption dissolves slightly to the edges, as magmatic material that cools once spilled from the cavity of a volcanic crater. A fire source that slowly acquires cooler shades, expanding into the immensity of the celestial ether.
As far as it may seem fluid and palpable, the painting escapes from any unequivocal determination, becoming itself matter of the universe, part of the infinite space environment. Spreading like an expanding puddle once a rock is thrown into the aquatic pond, it flows freely from any boundary and defined limit, making us curious about its subsequent formal metamorphosis. The pigment of color, caught in a perpetual dance, follows the rotation of the celestial bodies and stars and overwhelms us into its lively swirl. Like a vortex, it absorbs us into its rotating movement, pushing us to explore the vertigo of the unknown.
Visually it recalls those video-art experimentations promoted by various artists during the 60s and 70s, where the distortion that the image received through the digital treatment opened the doors to innovative scenarios. The line of structural film, for example, by exploiting the basic components of form, colour and movement was intended to create rhythmic compositions that rejected the traditional narration and representation functions to which the cinematographic dogma relied. And "Space Landscape 1" seems precisely to resume, in still mode, that same film sequence­- named "Star Gate" sequence - contained in Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece "2001: A Space Odyssey": here, abstract shapes and unrealistic psychedelic colours lend themselves to describe an environment we still know too little to be able to outline with certainty; just as in Denis Kaplan's artwork, they allude to an existing elsewhere, inviting us to investigate it.
What exists outside of the relatively small world we are used to? Beyond planet Earth, are there other inhabited worlds? It is scary to think of our littleness towards an immense and ancient galaxy, but that doesn't stop us to wonder of the existence of many other universes yet to be discovered. We feel like sand grains scattered in an immense desert, but for this same reason we can experience the sense of sublime, being fascinated by so much majesty.
The artwork seems to make tangible that Dionysian character of art of which Friedrich Nietzsche talked about. For the German philosopher, in fact, all arts were a result of the balance of two different impulses, the Apollonian and the Dionysian, the first one associated with order and racionality, whereas the second one linked to vital and sensual instincts. In his publication "The Birth of Tragedy", he underlines the preponderant importance of the Dionysian spirit for men in order to make a deeper experience of life and of the world, leading them to unveil that underlying essence that he called the "Primordial Unity". The vital and chaotic instinct embodied by the Dionysian component can, therefore, be found in those dramatic arts such as music and dance which directly connect the human being to the primordial sensual impetus, the one not corrupted by rationality.
And the connection of this painting with the voluptuous power of music could not be more direct, since every time the artist himself draws inspiration from different musical compositions during the creative process, letting himself be guided by the notes and by what they suggest to him; as enraptured by the archaic and overpowering force of this immaterial divinity that is music.
The result is a well-orchestrated choreography where the colour jet seems to fluctuate on the black surface of the canvas, conveying a sense of pleasing gentleness."

Deborah Maggiolo, Art Curator 




"L'arte astratta non ha mai lo scopo di descrivere ma cede anche all'osservatore il dono di interpretare attraverso la materia e le emozioni grazie quindi delle emozioni che con la tua arte eccelsa ci doni"

"The objective of abstract art is not just a mere description of things, but it also gives the observer a gift of interpretation through matter and emotion, thank you for the emotions you give us with your sublime art"

 Dott.ssa Francesca Mezzatesta - historian and art critic




"Rāgas 9" acrylic on canvas, 100x81cm     




“To hunt for and to touch the shiny center of visions of fractals is the same as realising that the world of nature is built on mutual motifs and patterns. Identifying nature’s patterns creates a map of its own, located in the change and anticipation of the things to come. Those motifs and patterns can’t be described only in cold and dry way, with geometric, mathematical or chemical formulas because clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, islands are not circles, Earth’s crust is not smooth, nor the lightning flash is straightlined. Nature is there, not only on a higher level, but on a completely different degree of complexity.
Artist Denis Kaplan, searching for this body of communication, unites music and paintings as universal languages to discover the truth, where nothing is more changeable than the outer appearance of things. There, where the tiny pigment of colour and the wavelength of tones carries similarities with the celestial constellations, it is indisputable that small things can be compared to bigger ones. Those abstract paysages of matter, one could say the landscapes of spirit, are pointing us to the example of some microscopic images, where scenery is not reminding us of anything real that can be seen in the nature with our bare eyes, and appear "abstract" even though they show the most concrete reality, the matter itself. Some air photos and satellite imagery look so identical to abstract paintings that we can almost swap them. Some abstract paintings have even expressed the state of weightlessness because there is no more "upward" or "downward" inside them.
Paintings from “Interstellar Clouds” series become visions that are yet to be discovered by radio telescopes and measured with the infinite spatial dimensions of the Universe. Denis Kaplan draws his inspiration from the consciousness of the complexity of the sensory experience where art and mythical images meet primordial contents. Through memory images, imagination, dreaming, hypnotic images and thoughts hallucinations, through this prayer of decipherment, paintings accompanied by music gain unusual liveliness in the detail and in the whole and point us to the path of infinity as reality and as continuity.
So let's look for these images in the memory of our personal experience, in order to leads us, as the fourth dimension, through the landscapes that are written in us as well."


Danko Merin, prof.

"Interstellar Clouds 12"   acrylic on canvas,  50x40cm




In front of the works of Denis Kaplan we find ourselves overwhelmed by a real explosion of colors. Far from any form or subject that can lead the observer back to reality, the color is the only protagonist of his works; power, dynamism and intensity of the latter are transformed into the instrument through which the Croatian artist manages to express «the strength and richness of his interior colors». This is what happens, for example, in Space Landscapes 11: a 100x150 cm acrylic painted canvas. The fulcrum of the work is a large deformed stain with an intense color that, enhanced by the complementary green-lemon which lies nearby, emerges in all its liveliness. This is a liveliness that, as a "primordial energy", becomes the center from which the colors are born: as vortices on the shades of violet, blue sea and blue, they almost completely fill the surface of the canvas. Through their harmonious and soft forms, they bring the observer into an abstract dimension. The colors turn into emotions, feelings, dreams and thoughts that reside in the deepest part of the artist; it is an inner world that springs from the combination of love for art and music, considered by the painter as his inspiring muse. Denis, infact, whenever he paints his works, lets himself be carried away by many different musical pieces that from different genres, from classical music to jazz and rock, to a popular and evergreen melody. Space Landscapes 11 is the result of the emotions felt by Denis while listening to Wave, by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Herbie Hancock, whose notes have been transformed into the tool with which the artist could make his own spirit come to surface, as well as the inspiration to paint his canvas with harmonious wavy strokes. The same thing happened for the work Space Landscapes 15, a canvas of 150x100 cm, that took form while Denis was listening to Transcendental Studio n. 4 , by Franz Liszt: it is one of the 13 symphonic poems with which the Hungarian composer tells the story of Ivan Mazeppa. Space Landscapes 11, fully reflecting the Liszt’s composition, is colored by chaotic and nervous lines that overlap the prevailing tones of violet, acid yellow, pink and black. The result is a dense tangle of trails that, following vertical, oblique and horizontal trajectories, has allowed to evoke «the artist's creative dance». It is a succession of brushstrokes with «the explosive and furious energy of colors». This is how Denis make the colors dance on the canvas, emanating, as sounds, the soul of the artist with all their power.

This is believed by the great Kandinskij as well, that in “Concerning the Spiritual in Art” of 1909 wrote:

They (the painters) finding in Music the best teacher. With few exceptions music has been for some century the art which has devoted itself not to the reproduction of natural phenomena, but rather to the expression of the artist’s soul, in musical sound. A painter, who finds no satisfaction in mere representation, however artistic, in his longing to express his inner life, cannot but envy the ease with which music, the most non-material of the arts today, achieves this end. He naturally seeks to apply the methods of music to his own art.


Chiara Valaguzza, Art Curator D.ssa 



(All photos on this webpage © Denis Kaplan)