In the Penance performances I used the Christian spiritual technology - reconciliation through the sacrefice, as a symbol, or a starting point. I took on the role (function) of a representative of one group of people and as such I bricked myself into an wall of architectural whole that represents another group or community. In this (or our) Penance I use elements of Christianity to build a narrative of community redemption. The audience sees only the process in which the bricks separate me from them and I become one with the environment in which they are located. By doing so, I annul myself, vicariously incorporating a part of them into a space that is burdened by their own heritage. So far, I have walled myself into four historic buildings which I have connected with the four elements and symbolism of those four basic elements we used in the West to describe the structure of the Universe, and my idea is to make a virtual fifth work of the series, the Quintessence, as a video installation.
The first Penance was set in the center of the synagogue, the place of the greatest holiness for the Jewish community that once stood in Varaždin, Croatia. I associated this Penance with the fire, which is a symbol of faith and God's presence, and a candlestick, the Menorah, which is a symbol of Judaism, should be constantly burning in synagogues. Needless to say, the fire was misused in the "final settlement of the Jewish question," but also by other national and ethnic groups.
On a similar trail is the Penance in Pula,Croatia, which I connected with the element of earth. I walled myself up in a military bunker which is the most obvious architectural symbol of the war, and the war is most often fought because of the land, or earth in which the bunker is buried.
In Split, Croatia I performed the Penance in Diocletian's basement halls, below sea level, in the part next to the sewer opening (because of St. Sebastian death). In it, I referred to the dangers of tourism – the main Croatian industry that goes along with the process of gentrification of the Palace, the revaluation of the historical figure of emperor Diocletian, and new legislative that prevents the contemporary art to manifest in that space.
The last performance, subtitled Air was performed in Mestrovic's pavilion in Zagreb, Croatia. The building is run by the Croatian Association of Artists. Work was manifested high in the dome ventilation opening. This Penence was aimed all institutions of power that exploit those for which they exist for in the first place.
The fifth Penece will be virtual…
PENANCE (Fire), 2015.
performance, Vraždin, Croatia
foto: Luka Belani
PENANCE (Water), 2016.
performance, Split, Croatia
foto: Ratko Ilijić
PENANCE (Earth), 2015.
performance, Pula, Croatia
foto: Maja Iskra
PENANCE (Air), 2018.
performance, Zagreb, Croatia
foto: Jraja Vulgač