"How Is The Temperature In Your Country?"
– exhibition

STGU Gallery
Foksal 11, Warsaw
10. 7. – 1. 9. 2010

The starting point for the project was an exercise, within Phd program at Warsaw Arts Academy, which consists of “an exhibition about my country.”

The very first association was the following quotation by Jacques Vaché in the Letter to Andre Bréton "Nothing kills a man as being obliged to represent a country."
Coming from Croatia, a country known for tourism and natural beauties, we have encountered a long list of well-known clichés, ranging from different enthusiastic expressions, such as What a beautiful country! Wonderland! Fantastic sea! Beautiful women! to very “original” questions, as the one that gives the title to the show, "How is the temperature in your country?" Those in turn lead to further questions, especially regarding the famous socialist Yugoslav past and the less “glorious” 90s. The detournement and translation of those common places lead to ironic and cynical reading of the “real” situation.

Dealing with the “real” situation of the post-socialist transitional society requires recognizing the inevitable nodes of conflict on the way to liberal capitalism, which lead to class differences, cultural, spiritual impoverishment, indifference, lack of solidarity, and lethargy… The impact of those ideological mutations on the urban space is one of its most striking effects, and it is very often visible to the naked eye.

The “real” situation in the city of Split is related to local businessman and city mayor Zeljko Kerum, who initiated many construction projects, focusing mainly on luxury tourism, shopping malls and housing estates. This new urban planning, driven by private and economic interests, ignores the artistic and historical heritage of the city, its cultural and social structures and needs.

The lack of an urban constructive process in Split reflects the broader actual problem of “my country”, as well as the absence of public discussion and reflection about those changes. The Croatian philospher Boris Buden states: “The implications of these changes are very often so drastic that they question the fundamental values of modern society or even the very idea of society as such.”

Finally "How Is The Temperature In Your Country?" went into the direction of pointing, through visual materials, the urban transformation that happened in the last ten years in the city of Split, as well as the proliferation of visuals that are supposed to promote “The Mediterranean As It Once Was;” as we can read on the huge billboards in Warsaw in the peak of the tourist season. Unfortunately, the answer to "How is the temperature in your country?", is not to be found in the authentical Mediterranean landscape.

With Ana Janevski