VIKTOR POPOVIĆ: UNTITLED (RAVNE STEELWORKS ARCHIVE)
>> The exhibition will open on Friday 29 September 2023 at 7 p.m.
>> Curator: Jernej Kožar
Viktor Popović used photographs from the archive of the Carinthian Regional Museum, which document the people and working processes at the former Ravne Steelworks throughout history, as templates for silkscreen prints. The ink used for the prints was made from dust he collected from the steel production site at SIJ Metal Ravne. Because of the nature of the material and the production process, these monochrome prints are very bright and the pictures barely legible. Resembling faded photographs, they describe a pale, vanishing memory of a heroic past. They depict the dynamics of the relationship between the socio-historical space of Ravne and the content from the steel factory, which imbues the works with a special symbolic meaning.
The research process of Viktor Popović culminated in six monumental images on display at the Ravne Gallery, documenting the working processes and workers, whose lives were marked by their daily labour in the former Ravne Steelworks. Their indifference to the impressive process of continuous transformation of steel into familiar and technically sophisticated forms transcends the significance of the results of their work in the Carinthian environment. Because of the large scale of production, the local landscape has suffered for many years, and the consequences are visible at every turn. The working process has persistently and irreversibly marked the surrounding environment, society and architecture.
In his work, Viktor Popović explores, analyses and, by staging the consequences, subtly exposes the viewer to the causes of the state of mind and the environment in a chosen context. In recent years, a central aspect of his work has been the research of the modernist architecture of Split. In the 1960s, Split experienced rapid economic and, consequently, urban development, which meant fast and not always well-thought-out construction of concrete housing settlements and neighbourhoods. Similarly to Split, Ravne also experienced, albeit to a lesser extent, rapid economic and urban development during the same period, as evidenced by the urban districts of Čečovje and Javornik. This development was, of course, based on the economic success of the Ravne Steelworks.
Viktor Popović (1972) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1996. Since 1997 he has been teaching at the Department of Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Split. He lives and works in Split.
The exhibition has been prepared in cooperation with the Carinthian Regional Museum and SIJ Metal Ravne.