Magic Carpets, Visual Arts

Magic Zagreb

Meeting emerging artists in Zagreb
30.01. – 31.01. 2018
Report by Marija Kamber

 Town NeedsPosters

The studio of This Town Needs Posters crew, Sven Sorić and Hrvoje Spudić, is located in the very center of the city, in Đorđićeva Street, surrounded by everyday footsteps of thousands of passers-by, bicycle traces on concrete and clouds emerging from speeding cars. With bikes in our hands, we descended through the entryway, down to the vaulted basement filled to the brink with the objects of various character and size, a small window on the opposite wall looking at the pavement and footsteps on the street. Sven lit the small light on the shelf, next to the drawing of a bug that resembled a human heart. It spilled the warmth throughout the space, throwing shadows and creating light accents on glass jars and metal plates. Hrvoje entered the room, almost taller than the door height, and joined Sven on his side of the table, they the performers, us the audience.

While unsettling the sleeping dust by extracting the posters, fanzines, and catalogs from the background shelf, they explained how the idea of TTNP came to be a platform for experiments in analog print and design. Started by two rouge architects, their self-educated practice started with producing hand printed posters for the independent and underground cultural scene. It was prompted by the impoverished state of communication via posters, caused by the rise of digital media. Lacking any formal printing and designer education, they accept technical flaws as an integral part of their aesthetic. New knowledge of both conventional and hands-on improvised printing techniques, as well as a will to archive, publish and reproduce such work, is a solid basis for experimenting with creating a sort of anti-archive in the urban public space for material which would otherwise be seen by a far narrower audience.

The emphasis of their work is on constant experimentation and the understanding of the facts behind known printing techniques in order to hack them or to use a certain technique in the right context. One of their concepts revolves around co-creation and community by producing fanzines, with their fellow artists, among others,  Ana Kovačić, Hrvoslava Brkušić, and Tin Dožić, who we were about to meet the next day.

Hrvoslava Brkušić, Ida Blažićko, Tin Dožić, and Katerina Duda

It’s morning on a Wednesday, not too early, not too late, the light filling the open space, spanning the walls of polygonal office that is considerably different than the one we visited the day before. The music broadcasted on the radio is playing subtly through the hidden speakers, as we gathered around a smooth white table on which a wall of filing folders is formed on the side, on its center a bright blue plastic tray containing empty sugar wraps and straight spoons. Small plastic cups filled with coffee, a mandatory meeting medium, are located in front of all six of us sitting on three sides of a table, some of us meeting for the first time moments before.

Katerina and Tin are sitting on our right, their background a high-resolution NASA’s photograph of Venus. Ida has a hardcovered brick red notebook, its spine old looking as if it has passed a great number of hands and years, next to her Hrvoslava sitting relaxed, looking at home. Everybody is already introduced to the concept and the fundamental ideas of Magic Carpets and each of the present artists whirl some ideas concerning it around, spanning from exploring the traditional fabric production in Portugal or the Sufi dervishes in Georgia, and in that frame we altogether construct the overview of artistic practices for each artist, overlapping it with multiple suggestions and thoughts for interventions in Zagreb. As the conversation continues and the chairs are abandoned ideas gather, along with possibilities that could be realized in the months to come.

Vitar Drinković

Vitar‘s studio has a deceiving position on the map, one would think its location easily reached with smooth pedaling and no sweat broken, in reality considerably elevated from the level of the city, in Voćarska Street. But once in front of a quiet house, withdrawn into the yard behind a big tree, the wide view of the city lit by street lights can be seen, looking much further away than it actually is. Vitar welcomed us on his doorstep with his fuzzy looking dog happily jumping. The area inside is filled to the brink with large objects overlapping, stacked over, under and next to each other, from which the narrow staircase leads to a wide studio with a nice, empty center and whole or fragmented pieces of artworks gathered with no visible organization on its fringes.

In a far left corner, there is a high bed that looks slightly improvised, on its foot a table surrounded by a wooden construction which is, as we later found out, a part of a previously exhibited installation. With coffee waiting for us on the table, we sat in a semi-circle, our conversation instantly drifting into Vitar’s work. He explained the mechanism of his work technique, the fascination that the human psyche holds on him and the different manners on which he implements this frame of thought into his installations, as well as thoughts for the frame of ideas of Magic Carpets. One reflecting helmet demonstration later, our coffee mugs empty, we descended down the stairs and to the meeting at Folkstone.

Photo credits: Marija Kamber