Installation K19 by Zlatko Kopljar – Inscription of an Ethical Concept in Space

Nataša Lah / 2014

The recently-created spatial installation K 19 by visual artist Zlatko Kopljar, set up in downtown Zagreb, is directed through its meaning and content towards the remembrance of Holocaust victims. The installation consists of five sculptures, which are made from the bricks originally used to build the walls of the concentration camp at Jasenovac and then re-used for the construction of post-war houses. These same bricks have now been used to create the K 19 sculptures, which have been placed on bases created from standardized Euro-pallets used in construction.

Laid into horizontal courses, the bricks form vertical blocks with irregular upper surfaces, and, at the same time, place fragments of a fictitious whole in a semi-circular spatial ring of a monument-like character. Starting with the observation that the installation K 19 documents a specific historical situation possessing an unrepresentable narrative, the aim of the article is to demonstrate that this does not betray the nature of the medium chosen for this artwork. The article’s theory-based argument is rooted in a number of different interpretative strategies which study the anchoring of cultural representations in artworks by considering them as ethical concepts which are inscribed in a space. The article also highlights the processes of cognitive mapping within the set frame of a moral geography, as well as emphasizing the coupling of the contingency and conceptualization of heritage, but also the mnemopoetic perspectivism and intersubjective character of similar representations. By encouraging the meeting between “the seen and the read” as the meeting between “the visible and the expressible”, the article points to the effects of fictionalization and theatricalization which are present in this installation.

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Lucifer’s Shame

Ivana Mance / 2014

Zlatko Kopljar (born in 1962), artist and performer, author of video films, installations and performances, has been active on the Croatian arts scene since the early 1990s. Lately, he has mostly been exhibiting his works abroad. Despite the fact that in the past two decades of his work his artistic expression has profiled itself as being polyvalent in terms of media, it is still primarily based on performance. In short, this means that Kopljar participates in most of his works as a performer, whether one-off performances, staged photographs or directed movies.

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Wandering between light and incomprehension

Kate Mayne / 2010

Kopljar’s work has always contained codes of communication that do not get across to the viewer, or at least not completely. His work does not readily communicate rationally or intellectually in plain language or through visual representation. What does get across, however, is the overriding content of his work, leaving the viewer with an effect, a feeling of emotion that is conveyed through the works’ physicality and imagery. It is similar, for example, to someone who does not understand Italian, but is nevertheless moved by a passionate recitation in that language. The content of Kopljar’s message is gauged through the sound and rhythm of its delivery. For when processing information, we do not rely solely on our rational faculty; the information also appeals to our perceptual abilities.

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Testing the “naked” life – K12’s strategies and tactiques

Miško Šuvaković / 2009

“K12” (2007), the latest work by Zagreb based artist Zlatko Kopljar, brings us face to face with the fatal relationship between performance and installation with regards to the “metaphysical” drama of perceiving the human life as it is—the sole and not-so-sole human life among things, beings, occurrences, events and affects in the space of attraction, rejection, slippage, as well as experience and reflection, i.e. potentiality.

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