From Individual Projections to Collective Memory - Darko Bavoljak and Igor Grubić to Marijan Crtalić


From Individual Projections to Collective Memory - Darko Bavoljak and Igor Grubić to Marijan Crtalić

10.01.2023 - 12.02.2023 / MSU, Black Box

The exhibition is conceived as an intimate, artistic and curatorial homage to the activity of the prematurely deceased multimedia artist Marijan Crtalić (1968 - 2020). His artistically articulated activism continuously reflected the socio-political narratives of his hometown of Sisak. When we get the opportunity to see Marijan Crtalić’s work today, we understand that this work represents an indispensable and quite concrete contribution to the valorisation and re-actualisation of the legacy of Socialism, in the direction of active negotiations with the present, but also as the foundation for any critical deliberation on the future.

The exhibition presents three chronologically separated artistic studies by Marijan Crtalić, Darko Bavoljak and Igor Grubić, with a different approach to the interpretation of collective memory of industrial legacy and their actors.

Crtalić’s artistic practice is marked by collecting, archiving and recording every moment of his existence and activity. The multimedia installation The Invisible Sisak – The Ironworks Phaenomenon from 2009 is the result of his years-long artistic and activist activity, with which he sought to raise awareness on the importance of the natural, cultural and industrial heritage of the city of Sisak, or more precisely, to make Sisak visible. The documentary film Industrial Paradise indicates the lack of concern of the then owner for the sculpture park, made up of sculptures created at the Fine Arts Colony of Sisak Ironworks (1971–1990), in synergy between the renowned artists and the workers.

The appearance of plants, production processes and the actors of large industrial complexes of Sisak Ironworks and Sisak Oil Refinery from 1984 is shown in the photographic cycle Sisak 1984 by Darko Bavoljak. These photographs were produced in the artist’s formative years, and are close to the aesthetics of the circle of photographers gathered around the magazines Polet and Studentski list.

The topic of complex social processes and traumatic circumstances of the quotidian of (post-)transitional times has been omnipresent in the works by Igor Grubić as early as since the 1990s. In the multimedia project Angels with Dirty Faces (2004–2006), he deliberates on the political context in a suggestive manner. In form of a photographic series, he poeticises the portraits of miners from the Kolobara coal mine; by adding wings, he raises them to the level of the society’s moral backbone in a symbolic manner. He additionally contextualises their position in the short film on the famous strike that marked the collapse of the government in Serbia in 2000, in which he alternates the scenes from the plant with sequences of the documentary archival video record.

The exhibition is a two-year collaborative project of the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb and Striegl Gallery in Sisak.

The exhibition has been realised with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia, the City Gallery Striegl in Sisak and the Sisak City.

Curators: Ivana Janković, Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, Alma Trauber, City Gallery Striegl in Sisak