The Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb

Program

Viktor Popović: Untitled (Archive ST3: Military Hospital)

MSU Gallery, opening on the 20th October 2017 at 7:00 pm

Viktor Popović has been active on the Croatian art scene for more than twenty years, exploring the new possibilities of multimedia expression in the field of post-conceptual practices. The exhibition Untitled (Archive ST3: Military Hospital) is a continuation of the project Untitled (Archive ST3) started in 2015. The starting point is the archival research of Split 3, the 1969 award-winning urban planning project, which included the large, then uninhabited, area of the city. The use of the photograph of the unexecuted preliminary design—and not today's as-built state—was driven by the wish to raise awareness of the importance of such consideration and the disproportion in relation with the situation today.

The backbone of the exhibition Untitled (Archive ST3: Military Hospital) is a recontextualization of the architecture of the former Split Military Hospital, whose construction preceded the aforementioned urban planning project, and which was considered the most significant completed construction project of the 1960s. In technology, interior design and interior equipment, it followed the world trends of that time. For Popović, the research is a starting point for questioning both the social and the personal memory of modernist architectural heritage.

The centrally positioned and spatially dominant exhibit of the exhibition is an installation made of discarded hospital beds that carry traces of use, so they are a sort of carriers of memory. Popović found the scrapped beds in the hospital depots, and borrowed them for this purpose. The structure of the installation points to an architectural structure, while the light-emitting fluorescent tubes constitute a cohesive element. We recall the 100th anniversary of the invention of the ready-made (Marcel Duchamp's Fountains), in which everyday objects were raised to the status of artwork. Popović often resorts to a similar method in his works. The author is interested in the transformation of erstwhile utility and now discarded objects that become part of a sculptural group, in their relocation to another context—in this case the context of the exhibition space of the museum—which creates a whirl of new relationships and meanings. The white light dematerializes the original function of the beds, emphasizing the feeling of discomfort evoked by hospital furniture.

The works on the walls of the gallery are a sort of hybrid of photography, light installation, and photographic filters for color correction. These are digital prints of archival photographs taken in 1965 immediately before the hospital opening, showing the original state of the highly aestheticized interior and the technologically advanced equipment. The photographs document the state of things: the uniform light and regular composition of the photographed give the impression of order, simplicity, clinical cleanliness and depersonalization. The filters and fluorescent light-emitting tubes that follow the perspective lines of the photographed hospital interiors are attached to these supports. Viktor Popović's confident connecting of different media, the reaching for the legacy of modernist architecture and design, the interlacing of social and personal memory, the application of archival research methods, appropriation, deconstruction, and collaging, as well as the devising of a new system of an open network of meaning make his work an authentic representative of the art of our time.

Curators of the exhibition: Nataša Ivančević and Jasminka Babić

The exhibition is open until 5th November 2017

The exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Multimedia Cultural Center Split where it will be opened on the 14th November 2017.

The organization of the exhibition and the publication of the catalog were made possible by the grants from the City of Zagreb and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia.

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