Collection as a Verb


Collection as a Verb

05.04.2022 - 31.12.2022 / MSU, 1. kat

The series of exhibitions with the joint title Collection as a Verb, which are created as a team effort, represent the new collection in duration of the Museum, so as to redefine its' concept and the social context in which it is situated. The title of the cycle is inspired by the poem “Freedom Is a Verb” by Slovenian poet Boris A. Novak. The exhibitions are not a finished project, but rather a process and swift reaction to the events around us. If we consider the collection a verb – an action, a state of being, or an occurrence – our team, together with the artists and the community, is a subject operating in time.

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MSU) is the central institution in Croatia, and one of the most significant in the region, which preserves artworks of domestic and foreign contemporary artists. We approach this fundus as an active, dynamic heritage, unlike the traditional understanding of the museum as an assemblage of passive artefacts from the more recent or distant past. With the cycle Collection as a Verb, we are searching for a redefinition of the museum. The past acquires sense and meaning only in relation to the present. Each todayness thereby creates for itself a different past, and history must therefore be rewritten over and over again, and artworks must therefore be reinterpreted time and again. This is exactly what our exhibitions from the fundus are intended to do by juxtaposing past and contemporary artworks.

We know that in this world “only change is permanent,” but perhaps it has become overly abrupt. Furthermore, we are continually in crisis: environmental, migrant, economic, psychological. And before we can even manage to recover from an ongoing crisis, a new one is breathing down our necks. We have too little time to gather everything that has changed for us – since even values, this former foundation of culture, have been irretrievably shaken. Therefore, it is important to point out a social fact – a crisis is a way of maintaining capitalism.

Following the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s, we again bear witness to violent conflicts in the European territory. A museum is not a timeless institution; quite the contrary, it must have a stance. It does not suffice to say that we condemn atrocities, we should rather seek to imagine a better society by opening our doors to dialogue and participation of as wide a circle of people as possible, who care about change. The motif weaving through this project – “We Build the Museum, the Museum Builds Us” – has been conceived by artist Igor Grubić.