sandra vitaljić

SANDRA VITALJIĆ (Croatia)

Sandra Vitaljić, Medački Džep, from the Infertile Grounds series, 2009On September 9th 1993 the Croatian army launched a military operation called Medak Pocket, which had the aim of reducing the pressure of the Serbian rebels on the city of Gospić. Medak Pocket is an area 4-5 km wide and 5-6 km long involving villages of Divoselo, Ćitluk and Počitelj. Although the Croatian forces had achieved a tactical victory and temporarily pushed Serbian forces from the area, the operation was marked by controversy because of skirmishes between the Croatian army and UN peace keepers, and the killing of 36 Serbian civilians, most of them older than 60, after the end of the military operation. Serbian properties were systematically looted and destroyed to prevent Serbian population from returning. In 2000 another 11 corpses were found in one septic tank in the part of the town which used to be inhabited by Serbs. Although part of the Serbian population eventually returned to the area, Medak Pocket is still largely abandoned.

Sandra Vitaljić, Medački Džep, from the Infertile Grounds series, 2009

On September 9th 1993 the Croatian army launched a military operation called Medak Pocket, which had the aim of reducing the pressure of the Serbian rebels on the city of Gospić. Medak Pocket is an area 4-5 km wide and 5-6 km long involving villages of Divoselo, Ćitluk and Počitelj. Although the Croatian forces had achieved a tactical victory and temporarily pushed Serbian forces from the area, the operation was marked by controversy because of skirmishes between the Croatian army and UN peace keepers, and the killing of 36 Serbian civilians, most of them older than 60, after the end of the military operation. Serbian properties were systematically looted and destroyed to prevent Serbian population from returning. In 2000 another 11 corpses were found in one septic tank in the part of the town which used to be inhabited by Serbs. Although part of the Serbian population eventually returned to the area, Medak Pocket is still largely abandoned.

*Infertile Grounds (2009-2012)

Sandra Vitaljić’s Infertile Grounds series of photographs are marked by trauma, historical events and human experience. The locations in the photographs are not just beautiful landscapes but sites that have gained strong symbolism due to their historical context and the fact that they have in one way or another, contributed to the formation of Croatia’s national identity. Woods, fields and rivers that are part of Croatia’s folk tales and myths have also become part of a rhetoric legitimizing political discourse and ideology. Some of the documented places are very well known; hence every resident of Croatia, and the neighbouring region, will bring a range of common knowledge and media generated interpretations to their reading of the photographs. Other places have been entirely forgotten or have only recently been discovered. The actual number of victims on all sides has always been manipulated for political purposes. Old victims were revived in political speeches calling people to arms. The recent bloody war in former Yugoslavia during the 1990s was a repetition and a continuation of the events of WWII. Although the bodies themselves are not visible in the photographs, they are nevertheless still present, in the pictures as in our daily lives.

Sandra Vitaljić, born 1972 in Pula, works as an artist and as associate professor at the Cinematography Department of the Academy of Dramatic Art in Zagreb where she lives and works.

www.issavitale.com

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AFTERMATH. Changing Cultural Landscape – Sarajevo

AFTERMATH. Changing Cultural Landscape
Tendencies of engaged post-Yugoslav contemporary photography

12-26 May 2014

City Gallery Collegium Artisticum, Sarajevo
(Terezije bb, Centar Skenderija)

After the initial presentation in Ljubljana followed by five shows across the region (Pordenone, Zagreb, Beograd, Cetinje, Bratislava) Aftermath. Changing Cultural Landscape project will be shown in Sarajevo. The exhibition brings together the principal protagonists from the field of engaged contemporary photography active in the territory of the former Yugoslavia following its disintegration (1991–2011).

*The exhibition is dedicated to recently deceased Milena Zarić Maksimović. R.I.P.

Nenad Malešević, Age of Renewal, 2009-2011

Nenad Malešević, 13 January 2006, from the Age of Renewal series, 2006-2011

Domagoj Blažević • Boris Cvjetanović • Qëndrëse Deda • Andrej Đerković • Tomaž Gregorič • Majlinda Hoxha • Astrit Ismaili • Robert Jankuloski • Genc Kadriu • Amer Kapetanović • Silvestar Kolbas • Srđan Kovačević • Borut Krajnc • Nenad Malešević • Goran Micevski • Duško Miljanić • Bojan Mrđenović • Paula Muhr • Oliver Musovik • Vigan Nimani • Ana Opalić • Lazar Pejović • Darije Petković • Ivan Petrović • Marija Mojca Pungerčar • Vojo Radonjić • Jasenko Rasol • Bojan Salaj • Tarik Samarah • Mirjana Stojadinović • Viktor Šekularac • Dejan Vekić • Sandra Vitaljić • Borko Vukosav • Milena Zarić • Ivan Zupanc • Antonio Živkovič

The Aftermath. Changing Cultural Landscape international project is the first regional research and curatorial platform established in order to identify and articulate principal tendencies within the field of contemporary photography in relation to its immediate environment. With the participation of partner organisations from throughout the former Yugoslavia, the project represents an extensive investigation of the effect of large-scale social shifts on the image of the physical and mental environment, and thereby, also on the expression of a number of artists who work in the field of fine art photography.

Aftermath represents a metaphor for the consequences of turbulent events and their mark on the physical environment and on social everyday life. Through their creative efforts, the participating artists address various effects of transition processes that unconditionally and brutally changed the life of the individual, be it the bloody wars in the 1990s and their indirect and direct consequences, radical economic changes that had a significant impact on the general climate, or directly related new social values.

Due to its temporal span, Aftermath provides an interesting confrontation of artistic reflections and expressions of various generations that either experienced the period before the disintegration of the common state or originate from a completely new social context. A 20-year period is short enough to preserve historical memory; thus, with most artists, the new situation is always somewhat juxtaposed with the memory of the recent past. The main starting point of the exhibited works is therefore the relation between the old and the new, the recording of the gradual changes within an individual place and time and the effect of ideologies on the broader social and physical environment.

Aftermath is collaborative project of seven partner organisations from former Yugoslav states (Beograd, Cetinje, Ljubljana, Priština, Sarajevo, Skopje, Zagreb); it is supported by European Cultural Foundation (BIFC), local authorities and Commune di Pordenone.

collegium.omnitask.me

www.photon.si

Partners:
Photon (Ljubljana) / Remont (Belgrade) / Film & Film (Pula) / Collegium Artisticum (Sarajevo) / Stacion (Prishtine) / Narodni muzej Crne Gore (Cetinje) / Contemporary Croatian Photography (Zagreb)

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