Anamnesis, dijalozi umjetnosti u javnom prostoru

Sandra Uskoković

” Teorija traume nas uči da je prošlost takoreći urezana u sadašnjost. No, kod traume ne postoji linearno kronološko vrijeme, jer je traumatski događaj uvijek podjednako ispred i iza nas.[1] Stoga nam umjetnost predočava ono što nam inače promiče, ili postaje nevidljivo protokom vremena. Riječima Jacquesa Derride: “Memorija nam dolazi u tragovima; to su tragovi prošlosti koji nikad nisu bili sadašnjost, tragovi koji nikad ne ostvaruju oblik sadašnjosti, ali nam trajno (pre)ostaju kako bi zadobili oblik budućnosti.”[2]

Za razliku od ograničenja zapadnjačkog shvaćanja memorije, pogotovo Aristotelovog modela koji objašnjava memorijska mjesta kao pasivne površine ili objekte utisnute u prošlost, gdje memorija zadobiva značenje palimpsesta, instalacija K-19 Zlatka Kopljara iz 2014.godine, postavljena na kružnom perimetru Meštovićevog paviljona u Zagrebu,  animira višestrukost prostora i vremena u memoriji, a memorija se otkriva samim procesom stvaranja, transformiranja, izražavanja i prenošenja prošlosti u sadašnjost. 

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History, architecture, performance: On Zlatko Kopljar’s body of work

Ory Dessau / 2019

In 2002 Zlatko Kopljar blocked the main entrance to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb. He did so with a twelve-ton block of reinforced concrete, corresponding in size to the measurements of the building’s doorway. Titled K4(1998–2002), the action was part of the group exhibition Here Tomorrow, in which curator Roxana Marcoci offered an examination of the contemporary Croatian art scene seven years after the end of the war in former Yugoslavia. However, since it kept the museum closed and inaccessible, the protective concrete shield of Kopljar’s K4implied that even in 2002 the war was not over yet. By sealing its entrance Kopljar referred to the museum as if situated in a stage prior to demolition. He marked the museum’s building as a future ruin among already existing ruins. Likewise, Kopljar’s sealed entrance also suggested that the premises were being purged, purified of the near past sediments and ghosts of the war.  

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The power and vulnerability of the firefly

Sanja Cvetnić / 2019

The fate of each artist is situated somewhere between the oft-cited words of Martha Graham, “No artist is ahead of his time. He is the time. It is just that others are behind the time”, and, perhaps even more well-known, and certainly more enduring, is the Old Testament wisdom – “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun”(Eccl. 1:9): this reflects the fates of artists who have been cursed and of those who have been divinized. Zlatko Kopljar (1962) is one of those artists who most profoundly experiences both fateful points, as well as the tension between both statements concerning artistic and human existence. In a quick survey of his oeuvre, if we filter by the key words of “time” and “artist”, many of his works apply. We encounter these elements in an art installation (1993) named after an inscription engraved on a metallic plate, Panta rhei (Τα Πάντα ῥεῖ), in which the beginning of one ofthe most famous Greek philosophical sentences is reinforced by the high voltage with which the work is charged and in an abstract video, K9 (2003), to which the artist’s own DNA forms the key. We see the topics “time” and “artist” in the tableaux vivantsportraying a company of “dead” painters in a series of photographic portraits of colleagues, maverick artists all, in K11(2007). And we find these elements in the striking stills from the performance K16(2012), in which Kopljar, dressed in his silver, phosphorescent suit, digs himself a deep grave that slowly swallows him up, along with the light that reflects off  his silver suit, glowing to the end, like a big firefly in the darkness.

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Reflections on a trail of blazing light

Kate Christina Mayne / 2020

In an upstairs gallery of MSU, Zagreb’s Museum of Contemporary Art, honey floods over a smallish, solid-steel, rectangular prism. The light reflects off the volume, through the faintly golden substance, and lends the sculpture an air of a sumptuous jewel. This combination of fluid and solid substance overrides any thoughts of minimalism that might be tacked onto it: the properties of honey suggest the touch of a finger or a fleck of dust could desecrate its presence. The two materials are distinct, yet both have their own relationship to fluidity, if at different temperatures. We might be forgiven for wondering if some kind of alchemical exercise were at hand. It has no title. Onlookers have very little concrete reference to go by, other than the object itself, which just lies there, basking in inquisitive, inexplicable beauty. 

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Zlatko Kopljar / Random Empty

Marko Golub / 2017

I do not think I know another contemporary Croatian artist whose works evoke a feeling of terror with such ease. As far as I know, Zlatko Kopljar does not like to interpret his works and even when he does so, he never analyses their particular elements or reveals hidden allusions, except those that are explicitly laid in front of the viewer and are more or less universally graspable. However, from his very first to his most recent, his works resist any unambiguous interpretation; they do not presume the viewer’s intellectual receptiveness, but immerse them into an intensive experience of things such as impotence, anxiety, the feeling of guilt and responsibility, the impossibility to communicate, loneliness, deafening silence, unbearable noise, fear, the proximity of death, sadness, anger, compassion, redemption and the likes. Kopljar has developed his whole career around receptiveness to strong emotions, conditions and presentiments, materialising it outside his own self by using a wide range of media from performances, gestures, video works, objects, poetic utterances, sound, narration and the combination of all those, but never has he – except in one case, the case of “compassion” – explicitly named them.

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