The Sun, the Mast or Gravity

2022 (video installation, HD, 7 min. ,wood panels)

A view from an airplane, drone, or the position of the Sun is a privileged point of view. Approaching this position is a sign of progress and technological development, an attempt to overcome the force of gravity. The modernist idea of progress has been distorted in the previous century into a perverse economy of growth, extraction, and war that hide the sun behind a thick layer of pyrocumulus clouds. Nature is losing its authorship.

Expo 58 – the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair – provided a respite from warfare with its celebration of new national authorship, presenting different dialects of the language of modern architecture. Vjenceslav Richter teamed up with architect Emil Weber to design the Yugoslav pavilion, which was initially conceived as a floating structure attached to a 70-meter pole by steel cables, but this idea was rejected due to huge costs and dubious statics. According to an assessment by construction engineer Zvonko Springer, in order to realize a structure with a “floating foundation,” you would need steel cables with a 90-100mm diameter, which were not available on the Yugoslav market at the time. We learn from his diary that similar cables – trophies of questionable quality – were found in the Danube below a bridge that had been destroyed in World War Two.

Corroded steel cables emerge from the riverbed and become a branching, nervous system-like structure that powers the image and the architecture of Mario Mu’s new video work. We follow the cyclical nature of destruction and construction through the transformation of a structure that encompasses different architectural typologies, from the never-realized mast of the Yugoslav pavilion to the ruins of the National Museum of Aleppo destroyed in the Syrian war in 2016. In the video, the built environment and the residues of destruction intertwine, and space articulates the changing social dynamics. This work is a continuation of the artist’s ongoing project entitled “Sites of Encounter” which explores alternative perceptions of spatiality through the morphology of digital spaces. Inspired by the language of modernism, the possibilities of arranging and framing basic elements into new constellations, and the permutations of images and their shadows, Mario Mu translates Vjenceslav Richter’s visual language to the cinematic space of video games.

Curator: Lovro Japundžić

Collaborators: Marin Berović, Marijana Gradečak

Sound design: Strahinja Arbutina

The exhibition and the catalogue have been realised with the financial support of the Zagreb City Office for Culture and Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia