50 x 50 cm each
Inv. Nr. 155
Born in 1964 in Dubrovnik, Croatia, where he lives and works
Slaven Tolj is one of the most important artists of the Croatian art scene. His radical and minimalist practice, which encompasses performances, photographs, and ready-made situations and objects, often deals with specific social facts and historical events. At his beginnings, in the nineties, his work focused on the situation of his own country, i.e. the disintegration of Yugoslavia and especially the siege of Dubrovnik, his hometown. Then, in the post-totalitarian context, he envisaged a broader scope of investigation and engaged in issues relating to globalization and multiculturalism. In addition to his practice, Slaven Tolj has always pursued curatorial activities, starting with the foundation of Art Workshop Lazareti in Dubrovnik in 1988, currently one of the most active art centres in Croatia, which focuses on the interaction between contemporary arts and social change.
Interrupted Games is a diptych of found images featuring children playing squash against the rear façade of the Dubrovnik cathedral. One image captures the exact moment when the ball gets stuck in one of the volutes of a pillar capital, with the children’s movements captured in action. The other photograph is a zoom-in on the trapped ball, somehow mimicking the bullets of the Yugoslav war that are called to mind by the holes on the façade, next to other imprisoned balls. This public square, called Bunićeva Poljana, was a frequent target for attacks by Serbian snipers during the siege of Dubrovnik, and led children to abandon their favourite playground for many months. Therefore, with a hidden sense of gravity, these images confront the great history of the city and its tragic fate, with anecdotal stories that both bring children’s play to an end. The work is subtitled Pax, Vobis, Memento mori qui, Ludetis pilla (Peace be with you. Remember you are mortal, you, who play with a ball), which enhances the metaphor contained in the game.