C24 Gallery is pleased to present Split Archives, a solo exhibition by artist Viktor Popović marking his inaugural exhibition with the gallery, and in the United States. Split Archives brings together over thirty works created in the last three years, which explore the Modernist heritage of former Yugoslavia in the 1960s. Using strategies of appropriation, and the application of archival research methods, Popović investigates history and collective social memory through his installations.
The postwar architecture of former Yugoslavia was a direct response to the demands and influences of it’s time. Forward thinking in its approach, modern architectural design not only solved the issue of expansion, but preserved the identity of the area - it provided a way forward. In Split Archives, Popović focuses on the city archives of his hometown in Split, Croatia, where the developmental projects became a paradigmatic example of the exceptional urban planning and architectural practices during this time. Through the utilization of found objects and raw industrial materials such as fluorescent light tubes and color correction filters, Popović’s hybrid light installations probe the relationship between artwork and object, audience, history, and environment. The artist’s interventions on enlarged archival photographs of architectural models (Untitled Archive ST3), and the interiors of the fully realized Military Hospital (Untitled Archive ST3: Military Hospital), re-contextualize the imagery and form a connection between new materials, and the original processes and states of the depicted architecture. The finished artwork questions the position of personal and social memory, in relation to the tradition of socialist, modernist architecture.
Positioned in the gallery’s atrium is the spatially dominant highlight of the exhibition: an installation made of reclaimed iron hospital beds that had once been used in the original military hospital depicted in the photographs. The structure itself is representative of the elements innately associated with Modern architecture - simple, clean lines, basic geometric forms, and rectangular shapes. The discarded hospital beds carry traces of use, and in a sense act as carriers of memory.
The buildings and projects produced during this time are a clear reflection of the social and cultural context of the socialist period in this area. The former lack of representation in architectural history is brought to the forefront, and reconsidered through the lens of Popovic’s installations. Fueled by personal experience and memory, the installations dematerialize the original functions of the objects and represented places, and ask the viewer to consider not just the materials and artworks themselves but also the lost utopian projects of the time, and their forgotten values.
Viktor Popović’s work has been shown in such venues as the Museum of Fine Arts, Split Croatia (2000, 2001, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011 & 2017); Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, Croatia (2010, 2011, 2015 & 2016); Lauba – People and Art House, Zagreb, Croatia (2011, 2012, 2013); Gallery of Fine Arts – Civic Museum Zadar, Zadar, Croatia (2005, 2010, 2011); Portland Art Center, Portland, Oregon, USA (2006); Glyptotheque – Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Zagreb, Croatia (2003, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2012); Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts – Department of Prints and Drawings, Zagreb, Croatia (2016); Garis & Hahn Gallery, New York, USA (2014); Kunsthalle Wien Project Space, Vienna, Austria (2012); Istria Museum of Contemporary Art, Pula, Croatia (2008, 2010); MUU Gallery, Helsinki, Finland (2009); Galérie Z, Bratislava, Slovakia (2006); Gallery of Arts, Slovenj Gradec, Slovenia (2002); Casal Balaguer, Palma de Mallorca, Spain (2002).
Popović is an MFA graduate of Academy of Fine Arts, Zagreb, Croatia and has been awarded a number of distinguished grants and awards including the Art Omi Residency Program at Omi International Arts Center, Ghent, New York, USA (2017); ArtsLink Residency Program at Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Portland, Oregon, USA (2006); 36th Split Salon Prize, Croatian Art Society, Split, Croatia (2009); Annual Young Artist Prize, Croatian Art Society, Zagreb, Croatia (2006); Filip Trade Contemporary Art Collection Prize, Zagreb, Croatia (2005); Cité Internationale des Arts Residency Studio Program at Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, France (2005); Grand Prix of the 8th Triennial of Croatian Sculpture, Zagreb, Croatia (2003).
His work has been collected by major public institutions throughout Croatia, including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, Museum of Contemporary Art in Split, Gallery of Fine Arts – Civic Museum Zadar, Zadar and Lauba – People and Art House, Zagreb.