Ana Vuko: Južina*
February 22nd - March 22nd 2022
Ana Vuko was born in Split, where she spent most of her formative years. She has been living in Zagreb for the last ten years and, as she claims, identifies herself "as a woman from Split, which comes with certain connotations and expectations". On several occasions, warned that she does not talk in the native dialect, and that she has lost her identity because of that, she spent a lot of time thinking about the meaning of that statement and finally took it as a starting point for a series of photographs that she started making in 2020. For the exhibition in Prostor, she creates a new part of the series in which she focuses on Spinut, the neighbourhood in which she grew up and in which Prostor is located. Extending to the public space, the exhibition area expands with a series of self-referential scenes, which are located in the aisles of the building and replicate elements of dominant modernist architecture of the neighbourhood.
In a culture where people are often judged exclusively on the basis of their place of origin, and their value is determined on the basis of knowledge about that place and the mental image we have of it, južina, as a specificity of the climate from which the author comes, served as the main motive. In addition to symbolizing the specific state that it allegedly induces, and which is reflected in the mentality of the area, južina gives the photos a specific tone, so the photographs of Spinut are dominated by light grey, beige and blue tones, making it look the way the author herself experiences it, thus creating a synesthetic experience of the place. At the same time, she wants to portray Južina as it is, in all its "dirtiness" and chaos, consciously choosing it because of the light it creates, but avoiding the need for making it dramatical. Photographs are created intuitively, by revisiting the places to which she binds certain memories, thus enabling psychological transfer in both directions - transferring her own experience of a certain place to photography, which she receives back in the same way through photography. The photos do not record the changes, but portray the totality of everything a place is.
Južina is therefore a photo-series of self-reflections on one's own identity that questions how much the origin influences the identity in one's own consciousness and in the consciousness of others, and to what extent the place of origin creates differences in the perception of social affiliation. It is also questioning a common love-hate relationship with the city, in which one of these two extremes often prevails. On the topic of creating a subjective portrait of the city, the author will say:
Exploring places in Split that are personally significant to me, I intuitively record my own projections with the help of a camera. How many of myself can I find there? Am I, apart from the obvious characteristics, mirroring the city I come from? Does it mirror me?
* Južina - the state of the weather in the Adriatic when the south wind blows and when people feel uncomfortable due to high humidity and wind
Ana Vuko is a designer and a photographer born in Split and based in Zagreb. She completed an undergraduate study of design at IUAV in Venice and obtained her master’s degree in Visual Communications, Design Department at the Faculty of Architecture in Zagreb. She won the Special Recognition in the student category at the Exhibition of Croatian Design 1718 and the 2nd prize in the Landscape category at the Rovinj Photodays 2021 Festival. She participated in Exhibitions of Croatian Design, Day D, ZGRAF and other group exhibitions. She has been involved in photography since childhood, developed an affinity for photographic storytelling during her studies and continues to develop through artistic and conceptual photography workshops and masterclasses. In her work, she explores the boundaries of the media and questions the established forms. In photography, she is interested in the places and transmission of their synaesthetic experience, and in contemplating their connection with the universal as well as with her own internal states.
The exhibition is part of the programme Inhabiting space, by Culture Hub Croatia in 2022 as part of the creative hub Prostor. The program is co-financed by the Kultura nova Foundation and the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia.
Inhabiting space is a continuation of explorations of the role and possibilities of space. Building on our project “Voids”, and considering that the making of Prostor is conceived as a participatory process involving the community, we begin its program with Inhabiting space. This concept includes the crucial aspects of shaping the space into a place - transformation, creation of habits influencing everyday life, and, ultimately, the formation of identity. Therefore, Inhabiting space refers to practices that directly or indirectly deal with the issue of space and place, displacement, origin and identity.
Curator: Jasmina Šarić / Technical assistance: Marino Vukasović, Matij Pervan / Assistant: Blanka Kicsák / Organization: Platforma “Culture Hub Croatia”