Klapez exploits the expressive quality of materials and the architecture of forms to convey abstract qualities through sculptural composition. Whether through figures of the destitute and lonely, musicians and writers or the soaring forms of skyscrapers, Klapez seems to be addressing the human will to be and to create, in works which express the difficulties of those struggles as well as the ultimate dignity of those who try.
Amy Dempsey, ‘Stepinac & Nyerere’, Dakawa, Tanzania, Destination Art, 2011
[Many Destination Art projects] use art very deliberately as an agent for regeneration and social change. Many also bring contemporary art to the remote regions of a nation, rather than keeping it as the sole preserve of those who live in major urban centres…. Croatian sculptor Ivan Klapez’s (b. 1961) massive granite sculptures (2002-9) for a new village near Morogoro in Tanzania is another; these sculptures have caught the eye of the art world and of government officials, which in turn has brought much-needed attention to the requirements of the developing community.
Amy Dempsey, ‘Destination Art’, Styles, Schools & Movements: The Essential Encyclopaedic Guide to Modern Art, 2010
Klapez is a figurative sculptor but only sometimes a naturalist or realist one. There are those literal transformations - pigeon into man, female into male, one head into another, features becoming other features. But there is also the transformation of identity brought about by the richness of associations in his work - the tramp becoming Zeus, the coat becoming angels’ wings...But most importantly these associations and transformations derive from an integrated core. The sculptures themselves are monuments of cohesive force - as are the works of the sculptors whom Klapez most loves: Donatello, Michelangelo, Verrocchio, Rodin...
Duncan Fallowell, Modern Painters, 1995