Viktor Popović’s exhibition, Untitled (Archive: Zenčišće), 2019, explores the 1970s, late Modern Croatian architecture and its complex present-day perception as an unwanted relic of socialist, former Yugoslavia, by juxtaposing past and present images and the means with which we perceive and transform memory into future. The focus is on the former resort/rehabilitation center for children from Belgrade at the Zenčišće Bay in Jelsa, on the island of Hvar, Croatia, presently almost completely in ruins, beyond hope of reconstruction.
Built in the late 1970s by the City of Belgrade on 64,000 square meters of land as a year-round, healing refuge where children could enjoy the beneficial Adriatic climate, the 8,400 square meter facility featured exquisite architecture that respected the landscape, along with a library, classrooms, dormitories, shops, health clinic, pool, and various sports facilities. It was closed in the 1990s, and during the Homeland war, it housed the Croatian Army and after, refugees.
Through the juxtaposition of archival images scanned from 1970s postcards and current photographs of the devastated grounds, assembled with pieces of color correction filters and found in site-specific construction materials, Popović’s illuminated constructions represent the paradox between utopian ideas and dystopian structures, echoing the country’s present-day, chaotic socio-economic situation, further accentuated by the fact that this gutted architectural treasure is located on the island of Hvar, one of Croatia’s most fashionable tourist destinations.
Untitled (Archive: Zenčišće)
The Armory Show / Focus section, Booth F21 / C24 Gallery, Pier 90, New York, NY, USA March 4-8, 2020
curator: Jamillah James
1-3 Untitled (Archive: Zenčišće), 2020 inkjet prints on archival paper mounted on aluminum composite panels, color correction filters framed 86 x 86 x 10 cm archive photographs: private archive, Belgrade, Serbia (photographer unknown)
4-8 Untitled (Archive: Zenčišće), 2020 inkjet prints on archival paper mounted on aluminum composite panels, color correction filters framed 111 x 111 x 10 cm archive photographs: private archive, Belgrade, Serbia (photographer unknown)