2006 Zagreb Notes 2012-05-18T16:08:27+00:00

Zagreb Notes


Drawing on wall, reproduced on paper 70 x 100 cm, and series of 60 photographs.

Download bigger size: Zagreb Notes

During my residency with Galerija Miroslav Kraljevic in Zagreb in 2006 I made two works:


1. Zagreb Notes, a drawing, which documents how I perceived the art scene there. I was particularly interested in how different artists, organizations and institutions are connected to each other locally, nationally and regionally. I was not so much reading actual facts about the art scene in Zagreb, and its networks, as I was collecting data from people I met there; reflections on what they thought was significant and actual at the time in the art scene, whether truthful, exaggerated or false. What was striking for me, and what I also wanted to illustrate, was how active and well connected the independent organizations are in comparison to the individual artists, who seemed to be much less involved in actual events, and have less power.


2. Euro-shops, my first reaction, when I came to Zagreb was that it doesn’t remind me of other cities in the Balkan region that I have visited. Soon I realized that the Balkan-comparison is not generally the favourable one to use in discussions with the people in Zagreb. I found interesting, how the need to make a contrast to the Balkans (although the Croatian nationalist currents are very present), has turned to that of desire to be part of Europe. For me, it was best illustrated in the public space of Zagreb, with various shops-names containing references to Europe and the European Union. Later in the summer, travelling in other Southeast European cities; Ljubljana, Belgrade, Istanbul, and especially in Skopje, and Pristina and Prizren in Kosovo, I noticed also the phenomenon of Euro-shops. I came to the conclusion that, if there is a connection between the countries in the Southeast European region, it has changed its name from Balkan to Euro.


These two works are result of separate observations or researches, and do not have anything in common. If one has to find a linking factor, maybe it could be how in the Zagreb art scene the new collectivity, which is a flexible, interdisciplinary, civilized, attractive, and thus evidently what is perceived as an European model (as oppose to the old-fashioned and stiff model of the governmental institutions, which have not been able to transform themselves to the new demands of art production), can also be paralleled with the ideological trend that the public spaces manifest. Here then, Croatia and Zagreb are the forerunners of the region, as nowhere else in the Balkan cities has the art scene been able to form such a powerful network, and also, it was in Zagreb, where I found most of the Euro-shops.