Sisak 1984
The exhibition has been conceived upon initiative of artists Darko Bavoljak and Igor Grubić as an homage to their colleague Marijan Crtalić (1968–2020) and his years-long artistic activity in Sisak, oriented towards raising awareness of the local community on the importance of preserving industrial and cultural heritage, and on the possibilities of its revitalisation.
The exhibition will feature works by multimedia artists Marijan Crtalić (the video work 'I Dream That I Dream That I Don’t Dream', 2020, and the film 'Industrial Paradise', 2009), Darko Bavoljak (from the series 'Sisak', 1984) and Igor Grubić ('Traces of Disappearing [in Three Acts], Act 3 – Deconstruction of the Factory', 2019, and the film 'How Steel Was Tempered', 2018).
The exhibition will present to the audience of Sisak three chronologically separate photographic studies through three different artistic methods of deconstructing the collective memory of industrial heritage. The cycle of black and white photographs by Darko Bavoljak entitled ‘Sisak’ from 1984, on the subject of industrial complexes of Sisak Ironworks and Sisak Oil Refinery, provides an overview of plants, manufacturing processes and their actors, workers with whom he establishes a direct relationship without restraint in his approach, similarly as photographers gathered around Polet magazine. Grubić’s experimental film 'How Steel Was Tempered' and the photographic essay 'Traces of Disappearing (in Three Acts), Act 3 – Deconstruction of the Factory' (2006 ̶ 2019), presented at 2019 Venice Biennale, on the topic of abandoned and decaying industrial facilities that are left to further devastation, function as archives, as documents which compare individual motifs, narratives and projections to form attitudes, collective memories, and develop a critical attitude towards that which is imposed on us with socio-political assignments. The strategies used thereby belong to the domain of artistic activism, which he has been applying as early as since the 1990s. On this occasion, the award-winning film ‘Industrial Paradise’ will be presented; today found in MSU’s holdings, it was included in the installation ‘Invisible Sisak – The Phaenomenon of the Ironworks’ by Marijan Crtalić from 2009. Furthermore, the audience of Sisak will have an opportunity to see Crtalić’s last record, the video work 'I Dream That I Dream That I Don’t Dream' from 2020, in which he confronts the recordings of recounting dreams with the audio-visual archive of everyday life, created at the incentive or modelled on the materials from experiences of dreams.
Through three different approaches, albeit thematically connected and additionally contextualised within the framework of the exhibition, the purpose is to show the extent to which the contemporary strategies of artists, especially those that include interaction with the audience, can be a trigger of critical reflection on the past, a stimulus for the revitalisation of cultural and industrial heritage, as well as an indicator that, based on the examples of individual artistic practices, the utopian modernist idea of art influencing social changes is indeed alive.

Project authors:
Ivana Janković
Alma Trauber

41 black and white photographs, 50,8 x 61 cm, Ilford MG IV Multigrade IV RC DE LUXE, silver gelatine
Camera: Olympus OM 1n, OM 2n,
Property: Striegl City Gallery, Sisak
Copyright © Darko Bavoljak 2022