MONUMENT UNVEILING: Stepinčeva 69, 15 September 2023 at 6pm
EXHIBITION OPENING: Klub Kocka Gallery, Youth Center Split, Ulica slobode 28, 16 September 2023 at 8pm

How much art is it to declare a carpet dusting structure a work of art or even more – a monument?
How valuable is it – and is it worth it at all – then, to perform the act of opening a monument in some anonymous neighborhood, among some buildings, cramming between cars in an improvised parking lot?

Benevolently and with a lot of understanding, we could (re)justify everything together with the formulations that it is an established artistic practice of ready-made, appropriation is a legitimate act of artistic expression, and the act of opening can be called a happening or an event which, unlike the (exclusively aristocratic) museum- gallery promotion reaches the citizens and expands the circle of potential audience with its inclusivity.

Constructions for dusting carpets were a common, standard part of urban design among new buildings from the 1950s, 1960s, and part of the 1970s, like benches, public lighting, or trash cans. A school, a clinic, a kindergarten, or, for example, a playground were the contents of every newly created neighborhood. It can be said, without much philosophizing, that life and living were thought out and worked on in a deliberate and planned way. And then came vacuum cleaners with the possibility of deep cleaning, so the need for construction began to decrease. At the same time, the will to think about urbanism in a planned way has increasingly given way to economic demands. Neighborhoods were becoming more and more built up, and urban facilities, apart from housing, were less and less present.

Is Tomislav dealing with a nostalgic view of the past? Does he mourn the socialist social order and all the positive things it achieved? It’s popular to do that nowadays, you know.

Does this place him in the circle of contemporary authors with a refined sensibility for socio-political heritage and a critic of the zeitgeist marked by consumerism? Or?
Or is Tomislav just fooling around?

Let’s briefly put ourselves in his situation.

A recently graduated academic sculptor, during his studies he learned about the greats of art, analyzed their works, and admired the mastery of the presentation and mastery of the materials they used. Much attention was paid to sculptures in public spaces, especially monuments. Monuments integrated into the urban environment or nature. Some of these works dominate the space and subordinate the environment to themselves, and some are quietly, unobtrusively, integrated into their environment. In any case, it was done deliberately and planned.

Tomislav is aware that this is almost impossible today. Examples of good monumental sculpture are rare, and even rarer are the opportunities to give – especially a young author – the opportunity to test his talent and knowledge by performing a monumental work. What is left for him then?

To look nostalgically at some past times? Times that he did not live, that he knows about from stories, photographs, films, or from the mythology of others, may have been happier, more carefree, and definitely younger at that time.

Tomislav jokes in an intelligent way and at his own expense.

By declaring an unnecessary and banal construction as a monument, Tomislav opened up and asked more questions about the purpose of art, and the ways and strategies by which art is guided and directed today. About what is a sculpture and what is a monument? About aesthetics, quality, meaning, and purpose. And finally, about the attitude and position of the artist.

Imbued with humor, this work opens up a large number of serious questions and points to critical points in the state of society, art, and culture in general.

Unlike many, especially those who decide on the above from a position of power, Tomislav at least does not throw dust in our eyes.

– Vedran Perkov

Tomislav Hršak was born on June 10, 1992 in Zagreb. He graduated from Sculpture at the Teacher’s Department at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 2017. He received several awards for his work (Grand Prix Award in 2022. Erste Fragmenti 18, Lauba Zagreb; The Rector’s Award in 2017 for the Project Bojom do zdravlja at the Rebro Clinical Hospital Center; His work was chosen for the permanent archive of the Academy of Fine Arts in (generation of 2013/14). He has been a member of the Croatian community of independent artists since 2021. He has been a member of the Croatian Association of Fine Artists in Zagreb since 2017. He is also a member of the Natural Art Association Kružok.

CURATOR: Vedran Perkov
NMG CURATORIAL TEAM: Katarina Duplančić, Natasha Kadin, Vedran Perkov
DESIGN: Nikola Križanac
TRANSLATION: Katarina Duplančić
SETUP: Tomislav Hršak
DONORS: Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia, City of Split
MAVENA SUPPORTED BY: Zaklada Kultura nova