Possibilities for 2023 – Arcades Project by Željko Beljan


Possibilities for 2023 – Arcades Project by Željko Beljan

04.07.2023 - 06.09.2023 / MSU, Black Box

In the last few years, in his artistic practice, Željko Beljan has been focusing almost exclusively on handicraft and its position in contemporary artistic practices, where he explores craft techniques as an artistic medium. Traditional handicraft techniques have been rooted in his family for generations, and have been present in his life from his early years. But it was only through his research of the contemporary craft that he realized its strength and interesting position at the dividing line between everyday functional objects and artistic objects. The Arcades Project arose as a result of his interest in a wide range of materials in the context of a practice dedicated to handicraft—in addition to his work with textiles, while creating board games, he works with wood by hand, where he explores the relationship between handiwork and amateur, hobbyist participation in sports (and games in general), placing an emphasis on the participation and involvement of the audience in the realization of his works.

In the third year of the Possibilities Project, we present the Arcades Project by Željko Beljan. The project was initiated by Leila Topić, MSU's curator, in cooperation with the Zagreb Academy of Fine Arts. The aim was to strengthen the exchange of knowledge and the emergence of new relationships between curators, artists, and the audience, as well as to make it easier for young artists to stay in the professional field. Members of this year's working group are Ivan Slipčević, Mirjana Vodopija, and Vlasta Žanić from the Academy of Fine Arts, as well as Leila Topić, MSU's curator and author of the concept.

As an artist, Beljan is focused on the process, and his works are not completely planned in advance. Apart from the technique, everything is improvised. Improvisation enables him, through the process of creation of art work, to explore various areas that interest him at the given moment. Thus, new findings from these explorations are intertwined in the work itself. This always results in a fresh view of the work, both for the artist and the viewer.

Play is a unique phenomenon in the field of human activities where man is closest to his nature. Homo sapiens is a Homo faber, but occasionally also a Homo ludens (man who plays, playful man). Homo ludens is the title of the capital work of Johan Huizinga, the Dutch art historian. According to him, the entire human culture and all kinds of art grew out of play and as play. It is characterized by free action and the acceptance of rules. Collective plays encourage social connections and interactions between people, as well as meaningful spending of free time, which are part of the mission of contemporary museums.

Željko Beljan (born in Vukovar, 1984) graduated from the Department of Animated Film and New Media of the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 2021. His interest encompasses craft, folk art, outsider art, traditional handiwork techniques, as well as the position and perception of handiwork in contemporary art. He is a finalist for the 2023 Radoslav Putar Award and an alumni of the WHW Academy Class of 2022. He exhibited at several solo and group exhibitions in Croatia and abroad.

Author of the Curatorial Concept: Leila Topić

Possibilities for 2023 Working Group: Ivan Slipčević, Mirjana Vodopija, Vlasta Žanić, Leila Topić

Exhibition Curators: Nataša Ivančević & Leila Topić

The exhibition will remain open until August 30, 2023


Photo: Lucija Bogunović, Sanja Bistričić Srića