Ana Hrćan Šojat i Sunčana Simichen / Splendid moments
Although ambient-installation ‘Splendid Moments’ was conceptually devised in 2015 and continued to develop as a project in progress during 2016, it started to take form long before. Its beginnings date back to project authors Ana Hrćan Šojat and Sunčana Simichen’s college days. For the purpose of their work, the two took interest in and started collecting recycled material and packaging, found objects and discarded widely used products. They were especially attracted to reusable cheap wine packaging boxes retained after cheerful student parties, discovering silver foils inside that, when filled with air, could be turned into beautiful square-shaped silver balloons. The reflections on the foil wine bags used to bring them joy and remind them of their childhoods, so they carefully collected and kept the ‘balloons’ in order to eventually create an inspirational creation, ambient-installation ‘Splendid Moments’, which took them back to their time together at the college; happy and carefree stage of life full of promising opportunities; time prior to confrontation with reality, when one could still make time for truthful meetings and celebrations, without stressful daily rhythm. However, ‘Splendid Moments’ is also embedded with post-college experience of facing the real world; it does not contain only beautiful memories of past time, but also the reality of daily life struggles. ‘Splendid Moments’ does not only evoke memories but points to post-college ‘reality confrontation’, life issues and daily spending sprees. This work is basically a broadly comprehended metaphorical story, comprising rich morphologically-semantic sediments, emotive-nostalgic outlook on history and conscious-critical view of the present at the same time. It is a story about life changes and transformations; about facing and confronting reality; about unbalance between ideal and the reality. A story where the balloons are beautiful and deceitful, like illusions; splendid and fascinating, seemingly tactile and monumental, visually attractive and brilliant; but also cheap, filled with ‘emptiness’ and easily destructible. In general, because of their specific, “inflated” shape, their ‘trash’ material and typical connotations, balloons are irreplaceable phenomena in visual culture and pop art iconography charmed by consumerism, splendid and glittering colours, plastic and industrial objects. However, in today’s modified and evolved neo pop version of the style, the connotations have changed, because neo pop art adapted to current artistic practice focused, for instance, on socio-economical, post-transitional reality of our time, simultaneously insisting on ecological awareness and social activism.
It is trademark of pop art and neo pop art to visually play, provoke and ironize using balloons and related forms, but also to have fun with tactile-perceptive contradictions that confuse our senses. The most famous balloon sculptures are those by Warhol (Silver Clouds), Koons (Balloon Dog, Tulips, Flower Balloon) and Manzoni (Artist’s Breath). These offer inspirational visual challenge to younger generation of contemporary artists and that is one of the reasons Ana Hrćan Šojat and Sunčana Simichen took interest in balloons. Their work is visually similar to Warhol’s Silver Clouds, made by the famous artist in the mid-sixties; a group of floating soft balloons consisting of helium-filled, metallised polyester. However, Ana Hrćan Šojat and Sunčana Simichen’s installation operates in a different discourse, despite some of its elements being similar to pop art iconography. It was made from 150 soft and splendid silver, reflective PVC balloons that, assembled (or separated) comprise variable dimensions form and determine the way it will be displayed. It provides the artists with multiple creative opportunities to organise the installation: it can be horizontal or vertical; expanding or shrinking; freely structured in space or tied to a background (wall, floor, etc.) In this way, option of defining and redefining space and creating new visual relations emerges in confined space, as well as possibility of linking different times and spaces together. In an open, urban ambient, there is a possibility of intervening into public space, thus changing the perception of passers-by and introducing new context in everyday scenes.
Višnja Slavica Gabout
Ana Hrćan Šojat
She was born in 1983 in Dubrovnik, where she attended ‘Luka Sorkočević’ Art School. In 2006, she enrolled in Visual Education at the Academy of Applied Arts in Rijeka and studied printmaking in the class of Professor Josip Butković and Professor Maja S. Franković. She graduated in 2012, obtaining MA in Visual Education. So far her work was exhibited at five solo exhibitions and numerous juried exhibitions in Croatia and abroad, most notably: 4th Umag Art Salon ‘ARTUM’, Umag Town Museum, Umag (2015); GraficaRi, Mali Salon, Rijeka (special jury praise for prints); Grenzgangen, Bund Gelsenkirchener Kunstler e. V., Gelsenkirchener, Germany (2013); 3eme Foire Internationale du Dessin, Paris (2011); 33rd Zagreb Salon, Mimara, Zagreb (2010); PULP 2, ULUPUH, Zagreb (2008); To Live Differently, Mali salon, Rijeka (award given by the University of Rijeka Foundation for the installation ‘Through Play I Grow’ and 2nd jury award at the exhibition) (2007). She has been a member of Croatian Association of Visual Artists Rijeka since 2012. She lives and works in Rijeka, Senj and Cavtat.
- Appeal to Nine, Gallery of Contemporary Art, Grobnik
- Lost in the Woods, Juraj Klović Gallery, Rijeka
- Recycle, Reuse, Rewear ,Sipe, Labin
- Inspiration, Molekula, Rijeka
- Youth for Youth (organised by Andrija Seifried), Caffe Galerija, Dubrovnik
She was born in 1988 in Rijeka. After School of Applied Arts and Design in Pula, she enrolled in the Academy of Applied of Arts, University of Rijeka, where she graduated in Visual Education in 2012. She exhibited at numerous exhibitions and manifestations in Croatia and abroad (7th Croatian Prints Triennial; 19th International Exhibition of Miniatures, Zaprešić;; 17th Biennial Varna 2013, Bulgaria; 7th EX – YU Prints Concourse, New Belgrade, Serbia; …). She won the ‘Red Carpet’ award given by the Croatian Museum of Tourism in association with Vienna-based ‘Roter teppich für junge kunst’; special award given by the Croatian Association of Visual Artists Rijeka at the manifestation ‘Mandrać 2014’; third award for the Best Printmaker at the 6th EX-YU Prints Concourse and jury’s acknowledgment for the work ‘Synergy’ at the Mosaic Biennial in Rijeka in 2013. She has been a member of Croatian Association of Visual Artists Rijeka since 2012. She lives and works in Kršan, Rijeka i Karlovac.
- Prints, Juraj Klović Gallery, Rijeka
- Prints, Academy of Applied Arts, University of Rijeka
- Appeal to Nine, Gallery of Contemporary Art , Grobnik
- Intimate Landscapes, prints and drawings exhibition, Kaštel, Kršan
- Juraj Klović Gallery, Rijeka
- Under the SKIN, artist’s book and prints exhibition, Molekula, Rijeka