čovik, peka i ožeg / 2022

three photographs and video

A relatively often characteristic of a real Dalmatian celebration (fešta), and/or Sunday lunch, is food preparation using peka – an iron dome covered with ember inside of an open fireplace (kamin). Undoubtedly, it is a symbol of a quality meal, but also of family togetherness. Growing up in a psychologically suffocating environment, artists’ neurotic features manifested themselves during family celebrations due to constant inquiry about his future in the context of marriage and family, a concept he does not identify with to such an extent. As a result, the artist withdraws within himself, hiding behind empty platitudes to protect his family name, but also his mental and sometimes, physical safety. The smell of smoke and the taste of meat prepared in this way remains imprinted in his memory as foreign causing feelings of ostracisation to this day. The artist takes objects of his story, peka and ožeg (metal rod used to lift the peka), and gives them a new meaning. Ožeg is now a spear, and peka is a warrior shield while his “armor” is a white shirt (bila košulja) and black suit pants (gaće od odijela) – a traditional outfit for a man to wear on these types of celebrations across Dalmatia. This warrior uniform alludes to a mental battle in which the artist is forced to take part. Action-wise, referring to a Roman military formation testudo, the artist expells the spear signaling attack and/or defense.

photo, video and edit / Vedran Husremović

permanent installation of the work at Hallway gallery of PLEJ STUDIO, Zagreb, Croatia , Jukićeva 14