22 May – 24 June 2021
Exhibition “Drop by Drop, Stone by Stone – Life” is held on the occasion of presenting art installation “The Drops”, created by Smiljan Radić and Marcela Correa as part of the ECoC Rijeka 2020 program Lungomare Art.
The exhibition brings together the local drywall architecture and the natural phenomenon of karst ponds that can be found on the rocky plateaus above the Baska Valley. The rugged landscape, laced with meandering stone barriers of all shapes – from straight lines to impressive stone flowers known as mrgari – offers a lasting inspiration to artists. One of those artists is Sanjin Ilić, whose poetic eye captured the glass drops, the new art installation placed by a karst pond and mrgari on Ljubimer.
For us, it is particularly important how you get to the site, and then, when you get there, what you will find. These may be elements you don't expect at all. Drywalls convey a sense of fragility, but also of resilience. On top of the hill, there are water sources, but you cannot find water there, which is quite strange. This resilience and fragility of nature also contains an element of surprise. With our work, we have tried to encompass all these elements and combine them into a single concept. The idea was to create water drops. They are fragile, but they are filled with glass crystals, which makes them resilient. When you visit the site and see them, you won't understand how they got there. This will create a sense of surprise, but it is the kind of surprise that calms us down, the one that doesn’t disturb the harmony of the landscape – said Smiljan Radić (Jutarnji list daily, October 7, 2019).
Radić’s and Correa's “Drops” nestled in the dramatic ambience of the karst, between the sky and the sea, and became a new, teder and soothing element. It even seems that, for a moment, the drops break away from the natural puddle to which they belong.
Sanjin Ilić was born in Rijeka in 1967. Originally from Jurandvor near Baska, he carries in his genes the story of the landscape rising above the Baška valley, passionately and meticulously documenting through his photo lens all the transformations of this impressive scenery. “Drop by Drop, Stone by Stone – Life” is his first solo exhibition.
For nearly twenty years, Ilić has been using photography to show his own fascination with the raw beauty of the Baška plateaus. The author's eye captures not only the objective appearance of the stone formations, but consciously builds poetic images of reliefs enlivened with light and shadow, stone and the sea. Patchy traces of the sparse vegetation and karst ponds, acting as dazzling imprints of life in stone, are both the reason and condition of man's presence in the harsh island environment. They have caught the interest of the author, who contrasts the round and fragile mrgari – the drywall flowers – with the strict geometry of linear stone barriers.
Mrgari are the most beautiful example of the ancient technique of building walls by stacking stones without any binding material. These multi-space sheepfolds with layouts in the form of large stone flowers confidently dominate the karst landscape on the highlands above the Baška valley. They were built for sorting sheep belonging to different owners on common pastures (komunade), but today their use has greatly diminished. As the number of shepherds is constantly decreasing, the need for the use and maintenance of the sheepfolds has also been reduced.
Mrgari are a rare phenomenon in this world, exceptional and fragile, constantly exposed to harsh winds, sea salt and sun. Their timeless beauty deserves our admiration but they also require our protection and preservation. Mrgari are the symbols of a time and a monument to human endeavor; they are a reminder of our coexistence with nature, no matter how harsh it may be.
This exhibition is not just an author's representation of a landscape; with his works, Sanjin Ilić calls for sensibility and compassion for the fleeting life of the unique stone architecture. Photography is a form of salvation from disappearance, a message for generations to come. However, in Ilic's case, photography is also cry for action, an appeal to do something before these unique structures are consumed by time and turned into dust of oblivion.
AUTHOR OF THE EXIBITION: SANJIN ILIĆ & SINJALI ASSOCIATION
Gallery "Zvonimir" - Kralja Zvonimira 114, Baška
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