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    Ivan Fijolić: T&TO

    Curator: Irfan Hošić
    KRAK Center for Contemporary Culture (Hamze Hume bb, Bihać)
    May 11 – September 11, 2024
    Exhibition opening: Saturday, May 11, 2024 at 8.30 pm

     

    T&TO by Zagreb sculptor Ivan Fijolić is a sculpture where an observer can recognize the famous monument by Antun Augustinčić dedicated to Josip Broz Tito and the portrait of his wife Jovanka Broz. With a simple strategy of combining the incompatible, i. e., by including different and opposing elements, namely Tito's body and Jovanka's head, Fijolić creates a new interpretation of fluid and elusive character. Due to the juxtaposition of conflicting “signs”, T&TO evokes surprise and shock effect in the observer.

    Emphasizing the post-modern character of contemporary sculpture and raising the general question of the perception of sculpture in public space in our environment, the temporary placement of Fijolić's sculpture in the immediate vicinity of KRAK Center in Bihać brings up a set of often postponed questions concerning the legacy of Yugoslav socialism, the memorial heritage of the People’s Liberation Movement and what it commemorates. This is particularly interesting in the context of the incomplete transition of Bosnian society where there was an extensive revisionism of historical narratives because of the political and ideological disagreements of the 1990s.

    However, Fijolić does not make a direct dedication to Josip Broz – his focus is on Augustinčić's sculpture that represents him. Instead of Tito's, the artist places Jovanka's head and thus seems to present Tito in an untrue way. And while in the descriptive aspect it is not really about Tito, in the symbolic aspect it truly is. Hence the name T&TO as a play of letters and the sign “et” (lat.), which in South Slavic languages denotes the conjunction “i” (and), and in Fijolć's case takes on a conceptual meaning. With this, the artist expands the interpretation of the work to include his name – Tito’s name is spelled differently by the artist, but it is still read as “Tito”.

    His T&TO is part of a wider body of works named Neo N.O.B., which are inspired by the history of the national liberation struggle of the 1940s, but also by the monuments that formed the visual language of the political outlook of a generation.

    Ivan Fijolić belongs to the middle generation of sculptors on the Zagreb scene and bases his artistic language on references to popular culture, humor and intertextuality. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, he remains famous for the sculpture dedicated to Bruce Lee in Mostar, the installation which, in a politically tense environment, was supposed to humorously bring up the issue of monumental plastic in the public space of a divided city.

    The exhibition at KRAK is part of the Bihać Architecture Week program named Memory in Transition, and is supported by the Robert Bosch Foundation.

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    Ivan Fijolić, T&TO. Photo: Kristina Lenard, 2012