Thanks to the photographs by Ante Verzotti, exhibition repopulates the legacy of Split's Art Summer 1987 project. Thanks to the concept by art historian/curator Davor Matičević and the organization by HDLU-Split, in cooperation with the Split Municipallity, SOUR Brodosplit and the Tourist Board of the City of Split, project brought sculptures by thirteen Yugoslavia's renominated sculptors to the public spaces of city's center. Artsist in alphabetical order: Mrđan Bajić, Kosta Bogdanović, Jagoda Buić, Slavomir Drinkjović, Božidar Jelenić, Kažimir Hraste, Ivan Kožarić, Pavle Pejović, Matjaž Počivavšek, Ante Rašić, Duba Sambolec, Lujo Vodopivec and Gorki Žuvela.
Art-summer 87 combined number of curatorial projects focus on the idea of contemporary art in public space. The initiator of the Sculpture workshop was artist Gorki Žuvela. Workshop produced 17 sculptures that artists donated to the City of Split and that were, after the end of the presentation in the old city core, intended for permanent installmnet through the new parts of the city. The project had rather negative feedback and most of the sculpture has been returned to a shipyard with an uncertain destiny. The Rose of Winds by Jagoda Buić is the only sculpture that has remained at its original location, while during the preparation of the exhibition we have found Let me pass by Slavomir Drinković and Hafest's Column by Koste Bogdanović. Instead of the premium sculptures of the era, today the streets and piazza's of old city are filled with cafe tables and kiosks, and those of the new parts of the city remained bare and unfinished.
Photographs by Ante Verzotti, thanks to the kindness of Kažimir Hraste.
We were therefore persuaded by important efforts and a specific set of circumstances, identified and coordinated in Split, to organize this “Sculpture workshop” as part of this year’s “Art-Summer” event. It is not often that such motivation appears in conjunction with a city brimming with heritage and modern life, which represents a starting point for creation and an end point for exhibition, together with the industry that offers, almost imposes, specific technical conditions for the creation of artworks – such is the set of circumstances presented in Split. It is therefore understandable that the enthusiasm of a small number of initiators grew into a carefully planned activity.
Of course, the main task is to facilitate the creation of large-scale sculptures, but also much more than that: to ensure that sculptures become integrated with the urban space. This means that the real ambition of this workshop is to create, as a testing ground, the lost connection between the artist and society or the ambience and art. Thus, our intentions bring us closer to our aspirations which is to establish the causal connection between the client, artist, work and user. This chain or circle of reciprocity did not produce relevant new forms in the Yugoslav environment, while the old forms were lost – because of the impoverishment of the art market, the disappearance of ambitious patrons and contemporarily minded collectors, and a neglect of the common need for art. Loss of the values’ hierarchy in the public mind – affirmation of private kitsch, almost replaced the right of the common, public artistic good to exist.
(From the essay by Davor Matičević, Sculpture Workshop Bulletin, HDLU-Split, 1987.)