On 22nd March 2020, I had the most brutal wakeup on my birthday at 6:24 am CET, coming from 5 km underneath the earth. Zagreb was hit by an earthquake of the magnitude 5.3 that shook the whole city amidst the Covid-19 lockdown and left it in a state of despair. Buildings had collapsed, cars were wrecked, debris everywhere. It looked like a war zone with an unpredictable enemy holding the city’s fate in its hands. In between, people in their pyjamas running out of their homes, gathering on the streets, confused, panicked, frightened. I ran out of my apartment right as the aftershock shook Zagreb once again.
None of us knew where to turn to, where to seek shelter, how to handle the situation. Until that morning, isolation and withdrawal was the behaviour the government had enacted. Suddenly, the pandemic was pushed to the background and angst came to the fore. A return to normal conditions now seemed even less likely. We were faced with the double burden of handling the collapse of our city whilst dealing with issues stemming from the Covid-19 situation.
Therefore, I decided to hand-pick 34 pieces that had fallen off; relicts of a close and intact past. They once were elements within a strict hierarchy of the historical revival of the 19th century but now without each other they have no meaning. Instead, they are like mixed up words, without syntax. They are the piles of a new yet unfamiliar reality; layers of different times composited out of tiles, bricks, moulding and glass.
The four pillars I created function as an attempt to reconstruct, to reconstitute and thus, reconnect a former status quo with a new form of being. Like a pandemic, an earthquake descends upon people, reshaping life and forcing us to reconsider social interactions. The series of sculptures is scrutinising the subject matter of home and hierarchy by balancing the found debris whilst invoking questions of fragility, solidarity, precarity and connectedness in crisis situations.
Primorska Ulica, Zagreb, public intervention, April 2020