• 29.01.2021. - 19.03.2021.

    New Normality: Spaces of Everydayness

    The art presented at this exhibition was created in an unusual social context that marked everyday Croatian life in 2020.  The phenomenon of everydayness and the specific manifestations of common life in a socially constructed reality are characterized by routine, rituals, consistencies, socially acceptable norms of behaviour and socials laws, which are in a wider sense understood as ‘normal’. The term ‘new normal’ has spread over the global public discourse as an attempt to define social changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic; new practices and ways of behaviour, that is, new legalities that currently determine our quotidian existence. The social production of new practices of everydayness (wearing masks, maintain physical distance, cleaning our hands and our surroundings with sanitizers, working from home, attending online meetings and social gathering etc.) has immensely (re)defined our social and cultural habitat on a micro, mid and macro level. 

    This specific social context, which has in many ways influenced our quotidian lives, has also taken on new dimensions in Croatia following the devastating sequence of earthquakes hitting Zagreb and its surroundings in March, and Petrinja, Sisak, Glina and the surrounding areas in December of the same year. 2020 has taken on a dystopian character – the one we could not (nor wished to) imagine, except perhaps in movies and books of dystopian fiction. The media offered images of demolished cities and villages, destroyed houses, empty streets and squares, news of many casualties reduced to statistics and numbers. The works of represented authors are in a way an auto-reflexive rendering of these events. 

    A photo essay by Darije Petković called Otpusno pismo (A Discharge Paper) is a hospital diary of sorts. In an autobiographical manner, Petković records his own stay in the intensive care unit at the Dr. Fran Mihaljević University Hospital for Infectious Diseases, fighting for his own life under COVID-19 infection and against the impact it has had on his lungs. Windows and balconies, as interspaces in between the safety of an interior and the uncertainty of the outside, are the backbone of a documentary series of photography called Okviri (Frames) by Milan Šabić. The group of photographs by Boris Ščitar Potres na Baniji (Banija Earthquake) is a report on the influence the December earthquake has had on people’s lives, their material possessions, their emotional and psychological states, but also a reminder on the importance of community and solidarity. Illustrations by Luka Vucić called Usamljeni divovi (Lonely Giants) refer to the strong earthquake that hit Zagreb and its surroundings on 22 March, during the early lockdown and the implementation of the first epidemiological measures in Croatia; they were created by combining photographs of empty streets of Zagreb and other public spaces, and sketches. The series of illustrations by Hana Tintor called Prve stvari (First Things) is a visualisation of little and big joys which her followers on social media were looking forward to after the finish of the first lockdown, and whose answers she then illustrated. Tisja Kljaković Braić, an illustrator from Split, presents a series of caricatures called Oni u koroni (They in Times of Corona). With a witty sense of humour, ‘they’ go through hardship by pointing to the importance of optimism, joy, and companionship.    

    Six projects presented at this exhibition are a chronicle of the times in which we live, an image of the social reality, a visual narrative of the lived experience. Their artistic complexity can be understood not only on the level of visual representation and the current sociological thematization, but also as documentation, history, ethnography, and anthropology. They are here to remind us about the social role of an individual, about the importance of care, solidarity, companionship, and humanity. 

    Curator: Antonia Vodanović