installation in public space (five illustrated objects)
Park Stara Trešnjevka

Opening: Thursday April 26 2018, at 6 PM

The installation will remain in the Park until July 16 2018.

In his series ‘Podravski motivi’ (Motives of Podravina), published in the form of a book in 1933, Krsto Hegedušić lay bare social reality as a relationship between classes. First in the village – as a relationship between field labourers and landowners, merchants and peasants; and then in the city, where the peasantry of Podravina went looking for jobs and got acquainted with new figures: bosses, construction site supervisors, gentry, benevolent ladies with necks wrapped in furs. The artist’s stance was revealed in the selection of scenes and details: the drawing was preceded by careful observation, and his keen eye saw the buckle on the dandy’s shoe, the rural architecture of planks and tarpaulin cobbled together, and a patch on the sleeve of the boy accused of skulduggery.

In their series ‘Trešnjevački motivi’ (Motives of Trešnjevka) Rena and Vladan’s eyes are guided by the same principles. The painstaking exploration of the dense and varied urban structure of Trešnjevka serves as the basis for five triptychs of drawings and verses, with the motifs of an old house, public kitchen, casino, eviction and an outlet store. In a number of recognizable details, they are typical of Trešnjevka, but when viewed as a whole they reveal themselves as universal to many peripheries of post-socialist cities. In the words of Rena and Vladan, “Trešnjevka is an example of a neighbourhood where the cycle of land and housing speculation, which began with the industrialization and migration of people to the city in search of work and accommodation, has not yet been completed. The abolishment of socialism marked the beginning of a new cycle of capital accumulation that forced the owners of small houses to exchange their lots for apartments built by investors. The housing question in Trešnjevka today and 100 years ago is, for many, related to land ownership. With this relationship as the starting point, we employ five images to demonstrate how the ruling ideologies conceal the actual losers in these processes and the instruments which the economic and legal system uses to reconcile the inherent contradictions.”

It is for this reason that they do not choose gallery space to exhibits their motifs. The space of mediation is Trešnjevka itself, more precisely Park Stara Trešnjevka, one of the few spaces that can be called public. In the quarter whose residents continuously warn of the lack of green areas, private property is protected by visible and invisible fences, and the Park is perhaps the only large and accessible city-owned property. The pyramidal constructions on which Rena and Vladan position their triptychs are also temporary urban mobiliaries and sign posts of a place for socialization and discussion. Returned to the vibrant tissue of the quarter from which they emerged, the motifs on the pyramids blend in with the postmodern chaos of Trešnjevka, only to show the true face of this chaos in realistic and satirical drawings and verses.

Ivana Hanaček, Ana Kutleša, Vesna Vuković [BLOK]


Rena and Vladan’s art practice includes drawing, text, installation and video. Their recent exhibitions include: SIZ, Galerija Waldinger, Osijek 2018; Autostrada Biennale, Prizren 2017; Zbor crvene Rijeke/The Red Rijeka Choir, galleries Kamov and SIZ, Rijeka 2017; Agitate, Educate, Organize, After the Butcher gallery, Berlin 2017; Undisciplinary Learning – Remapping the Aesthetics of Resistance, District Gallery, Berlin 2016; The Pleasure of Love, 56th October Salon, Beograd 2016; AgitProp!, Brooklyn Museum, New York 2016; Cold Wall 2, Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina, Novi Sad 2016; This is Not a Fence, Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Ljubljana 2016; City Agents, Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia, Tallinn 2016; Crvena zima/Red Winter, SIZ, Rijeka 2015; Mundus vadit retro, Kibla, Maribor 2014; Deep Sites, LevArt, Levanger, 2014; and To the Square 2, Perpetuum Mobilε, Checkpoint Helsinki, Helsinki 2014. Rena and Vladan have worked with ArtLeaks, Perpetuum Mobilε, Chto Delat?, SIZ , ZIP, LevArt, Nepotkupljivi and other collectives.

Financially supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia and the City of Zagreb Office for Education, Culture and Sports.