What Happened in 2010?


An Overview of Key Cultural Events in 2010 by Petra Tomljanović

The end of the year is a time for stocktaking – for looking back at events which have made the year interesting. That’s probably because we like to keep things under control, or perhaps because it’s easier to be wise after the event, or to see how far we’ve come in achieving our plans – or simply because we like to have our place within a certain context. Although the act of looking back might seem somewhat pitiful, at the basis of such behavior is a very simple reaction: learning from your mistakes in the hope that next year you’ll be smarter and that you won’t be haunted by the ghosts of the past. As for public events, more specifically cultural events, they are always submitted to subjective evaluation of importance, to expressions of personal displeasure with certain events or simply with media coverage of the events. Hence, the following list of key events in 2010:

1. The End of the Battle for Warsaw Street

Because state institutions weren’t really into dealing with issues stemming from Horvatničić’s project “Cvjetni prolaz”, the people took it upon themselves to fight the battle and prevent the construction of an entrance to an underground garage. In order to prevent the construction of the garage entrance which would take away a significant part of the pedestrian zone, the public decided to try its hand at civil disobedience, and this went on for several months. Although the goals were ardently, righteously and legitimately set, the protests were put to an end with arrests and the work was light-heartedly continued. For more on last year’s events in Warsaw Street click here.

2. The Sinking of the Croatian Pavilion for Venice Biennale

The first Croatian floating pavilion has, unfortunately, shown a mismatch between ideas and possibilities. In the stormy night of August 28, the south wind put an end to the journey of this “three-dimensional drawing”, just hours away from the dawn of potential Croatian success. The event brought to mind the sad destiny of Ivica Kičmanović. For more on the troubles of the pavilion click here.

3. Politics at the Theater: out with Senka Bulić, in with Duško Mucalo

Politics can be found in the oddest of places – this was illustrated by the debacle of Kerum’s despotism in Split when he appointed Mucalo as the manager of the Croatian National Theater. Local government in Velika Gorica has come to an equally incredible conclusion when it relieved Senka Bulić of her duty as the manager of Community College and Gorica Theater despite the fact that her program has been successful. It has once again been shown that excellence isn’t relevant when politics are at play.

4. And the Award Goes to… Croatian Designers!

It has certainly been a very successful year for Croatian designers, starting with Austrian/Croatian Numens who enchanted the world with their ingenious Tape Installation, won awards across Europe, and rounded up the year with the prestigious Red Dot Award. The Red Dot was also awarded to Šesnić & Turković for the best exposition design “At Cuculić’s”, and Marko Pavlović began manufacturing his didactic toy “The Sphere”. We should also mention the extraordinarily talented students from the School of Design in Zagreb who won numerous international awards.

5. Labrović: the Man at the Center of Attention

Siniša Labrović wanted to fist fight with the minister of culture, he sold his own skin, and he urinated on Marko Square – and that was last year alone. Although the quality of his performances went up and down, he showed that performers are very much alive, and that politics can be a never-ending inspiration. To see the timeline of his performances last year click here.

6. First Museum of Street Art

Although in contradiction with the very notion of street art, the Museum of Street Art brought together painters in Branimir Street in May to educate the public on street art and to motivate people to exchange ideas. Hopefully, this event has changed some people’s view of street art as vandalism. For more click here.

photo: Domagoj Blažević

7. Gilbert & George at the Museum of Contemporary Art

Two charming British artists visited Zagreb in June and hosted a garden party where they talked with their fans and then opened their “Jack Freak Pictures” exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art. It’s one of few exhibits at MCA from the most famous contemporary artists in the world. For more click here.

8. The Museum of Broken Relationships

After years of wandering around the world, the unconventional and rather humorous Museum of Broken Relationships finally got its place in Gornji grad in October. Although it was presented as part of the Zagreb Saloon in 2006, with only several exhibits inside a container, the concept has somewhat unexpectedly outgrown its limitations and turned into one of the most exploited cultural/advertising stories of the year. However, the Museum also presents a very intelligent awareness of market trends. For more click here.

9. Helena Paver-Njirić’s Installation “Moire” at the Opening of Roma’s Museum of Contemporary Art

Fortunately, at least one “three-dimensional drawing” made it safely to the most anticipated museum of the year – Roma’s MAXXI Museum of Contemporary Art, a Zaha Hadid project. Helena Paver-Njirić’s installation “Moire” showed fresh thinking and justified all expectations. For more click here.

10. The Death of Bogdan Bogdanović

For the most part, he was misunderstood in various political systems, and his opus has only recently been reevaluated to show his work in light of primordial forms, folklore, and extraordinary aspiration for forgiveness and peace. For more click here.

foto: Marko Krojač

With traditional budget cuts in culture, this year, if we look back at last year, could make a turn for the better. Well, one can always hope.