Gallery Nova

When I was visiting Zagreb last week, I said I don’t want to visit the main galleries and museums, but the hidden gems. And oh, how hidden Galerija Nova is. It is hard to find it, as it is secretly placed in the atrium of a random street. However, I was lucky, as I remembered I have already visited it once before and had a bit of a clue where to look for it.

In short, Priče, privremene exhibition’s topic is migration and refugees. Oh, again, one might say. But I was pleased that it is still talked about subject, as sometimes it feels it has already died down in the news a bit, eventhough the problem is still very much alive. And with art you can experience it through different eyes.

Exhibited are the artworks of Ana Dana Beroš, Matija Kralj, Goran Dević, Tonči Vladislavić, Lea Vene and Ivana Čuljak.

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One of the artworks of Beroš and Kralj is a sort of a black box that quiets down all the other noises. It is a sound installation; a conversation between the artist and an asylum seeker. The box is very well placed into the space. At the same time it protects the voices, as well as sepparates the gallery room with an actual artwork.

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There is also a video of the same artists, titled Landfill for life vests / Refugee cemetery Kato Tritos. And the title says it all. The contrast between a refugee cemetery and a ‘cemetery’ for life vests (of the survivors?) is very powerfull. I was thinking that it is good (really, good?!) there is no seat in the room as one doesn’t want to stay in for long. However, these unsettling feelings that flame up are a reaction to reality, to which we shouldn’t get used to.

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Pričam ti priču … iglom i koncem by Vladislavić, Vene and Čuljak is an artwork done by asylum seekers. Artists working with them is a recurring theme throughout ‘refugee art’, giving them the voice. Just remember the Venice Biennale, for example.

A video by Goran Dević Buffet Željezara is an observational documentary movie witnessing a closing of one of the buffets in Sisak. Its position is very effective, downstaris in a dark room with just two chairs in the middle of it. Do they not get a lot of visitors or was this a curatorial decision, a metaphor for our world/society, looking from afar?

The movie is 60 minutes long, and again, at least once I would love to see a sign how far the movie is in. I wanted to watch the whole thing, but you know how it is, if you come to the movie in the middle.. I will keep mentioning this need for a count down untill it sticks, because I feel it is important, especially for the longer videos. Though I ended up watching the whole thing, as luck would have it, I entered the room just when it was about to finish. But I didn’t know that!

The movie portrays the every day life and money problems of the locals, who are socialising in the buffet at the bus station. One can also overhear conversations about prejudice, posed like no one is watching, see typical Balkan behaviour in a bar and witness a roller coaster of emotions.

It is about passing all around us, emphasized by the lady taking photographs of the ‘road to doom’. The owners of the buffet are sick and tired of the wasteland around them, decide to close the bar and move to Germany for a better life. Oh, the irony..

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All in all, the exhibition is made in a way that touches you as a person and one is definitely not going home indifferent. However, what bothered me was, that there was no gallery sheet in English.

 

LIST OF PHOTOGRAPHS:

  1. featured image: personal archive
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