Photo Exhibition ‘Neglected spaces…Dualities’
Zadar Puppet Theater
Author of the concept and organizer: Mario Županović
Authors of the photographs: Kristina Bradara, Marina Ćorić, Ana Gospić Županović, Tomislav Grzunov, Marko Ramljak, Adrijana Vidić
Neglected Spaces … Dualities
The project was created as research, engaged artistic and documentary collaboration between six photographers: Kristina Bradara, Marina Ćosić, Ana Gospić Županović, Tomislav Grzunov, Marko Ramljak, Adrijana Vidić, and Mario Županović, the author of the exhibition’s concept. Created during the period between March and September 2020, it deals with mapping, researching and documenting six locations of neglected spaces in the city of Zadar, whose diversity is related to certain political, economic, historical, urban and social changes that over time identified them as neglected spaces that reflect striking dualities. In the heart of the city, its very center, we see spaces such as the Captain’s Park, former Technical School and the former monastery of St. Nicholas with the bunker near him. Outside the Peninsula, we find spaces that define areas of failed industrial plants such as Bagat, Dalmacijavino, Gortan, and finally, as a sort of digression, the TIZ complex that reflects the urbanistic problems of the 21st century and stands as a reminder of incompleteness syndrome.
Six authors faced a true challenge, both in artistic and sanitary contexts. Over a period of six months, they filmed and observed the above-mentioned spaces – neglected and dangerous, often well below the hygienic minimum. The duality of some of these neglected spaces is reflected not only in the apparent loss of its original purpose and the recognizable contrast between dilapidated and new, neglected and tourist-polished, but also in the deeper level of complete loss, or slow disappearance of cultural and social memory of their former life in the heart of the city. On the other hand, the duality of other spaces is a direct by-product of negligence and unwillingness to bring them back to life that was questionable from the start. Therefore, obscurity and danger are the core part of their pointless, forced identity.
Neglected spaces … Dualities – a project that wants to avoid big narratives about a past that was better or worse and avoids symbolic inscription into the circumstances that were not experienced. Nevertheless, the diversity of aesthetics represented through each of the spaces opens a dialogue that can be the start of future collaborations in a departure from the dominant concepts of representation of urban entities.
“Abandoned, derelict urban spaces are a side effect of the accelerated way of life and modern society. Regardless of the fact that they are neglected, these spaces are an integral part of the anatomy of the city. Our consent to their non-existence is a reflection of resignation. By documenting and aestheticizing the de-aestheticized space, we awaken the collective memory, we reassign it, bringing ourselves and the observer to a position where he can no longer turn his back.”
“For most residents of Zadar, these areas are just potentially dangerous ruins, empty canvas for graffiti, shelters for the homeless, landfills. Approaching this project, I had similar impressions too, but walking through these spaces in search of an interesting composition, I noticed a rich artistry in textures, shapes, colors, lines, fullness, gaps, contrasts… Ruins have become a place of artistic experience I tried to articulate through my photos.”
“Six locations, some of which I already know, and some I discovered for the first time – spaces that belong to history, forgotten, removed from the everyday life, protruding, terrifying at first. From a photographer’s point of view, the current state of ruin is transformed into a certain kind of intimacy, or even aesthetic seduction, the dead becomes alive. As if the time here gains different characteristics; it is stopped and petrified, while at the same time, due to the natural process of decay, it becomes accelerated and slowed down as well. Rotting as a condensate of impermanence is also reminiscent of mortality or decay in general. Although each space has its own specifics or has had a different purpose, they all together become an excessive zone of the city’s present, a chaotic trace of something that actually no longer exists. However, besides the warning and regret that reflect the past, they can be observed through visions of the future.”
Ana Gospić Županović
“Working on the project Neglected Spaces prompted me to think about the city in which I live, about the visible traces of the past that undoubtedly shape its present and future. Each included location is, in its own way, a testimony to the trauma that this city went through, regardless of whether it was the aftermath of World War II or a by-product of the transition period. While some of these sites await transformation in the near future, some of them still do not have a clear future and do not have a vision of how they will be integrated into the urban fabric. Regardless of whether there were production activities, cultural activities or educational ones, each of them left a trace in the identity of this city, which is something that this city is still looking for.”
“Zadar – a city that has suffered many devastations throughout its millennial history. After each devastation, the city managed to rise from the ashes like a mythical phoenix, brighter and better than before. On the other hand, the last series of devastation was so horrible, so thorough that even the great city of Zadar failed to recover from it. Devastation known as conversion and privatization. This exhibition portrays the consequences of such devastation – the skeletons on the graveyard of failed companies and enterprises.”
“Although I approached this project with my typical fear of not being able to complete the task, the work was full of joy from the very beginning. I assign this joy with the team spirit of the task, because the joint discovery of completely unknown, often dangerous and hygienically you-don’t-wanna-know spaces, or even those previously known, significantly gentler locations that still had to be tamed with special optics – and all of this in the middle of a heat wave – finally ended up with us wanting more of it. The project also brought a sense of privilege since it allowed me to step into rather miraculous areas inaccessible for the public that I had known only by the façade (Technical School). It encouraged me to comb the terrain and the remains of buildings with which I would certainly never interact so intensely (Bagat was the most shocking). The project evoked the wish to return to areas that I myself completely neglected on my personal map of Zadar (Captain’s Park).”