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P74 Gallery

Slaven Tolj: Srđ je naš! / Srđ is ours!

8 June – 10 July 2012
P74 Gallery, Trg Prekomorskih brigad 1 , Ljubljana
Opening View: Friday, 8 June 2012 at 8 p.m.

The project Srđ is ours! deals with a situation involving an aggressive takeover and privatisation of public space, inconsistent spatial politics and the excluding of citizens from decision-making processes for the city of Dubrovnik’s urban development plan. It represents a paradigmatic example of transitional plundering and the accumulation of great wealth in the hands of an influential minority. The project also questions the fundamental mechanisms of democratic decision-making in society and is both a radical critic of irresponsible politics and a concrete political action.

The website of the self-organised initiative The Right to the City (pravonagrad.org) recently reported:
“20 April 2012: We sharply condemn the attack on Slaven Tolj, activist of the initiative ‘Srđ is ours!’, as well as the actions of the police which followed. Tolj was in the audience at last night’s concert of the group TBF in the Dubrovnik club Revelin. At the end of the concert, members of the group put on t-shirts with the slogan “Srđ je naš!” The owner of the concession of this city establishment forcefully removed Tolj – and in doing so injured Tolj arm – saying, that with this action Tolj had put under question his good relations with the city authorities. When Tolj went after receiving first-aid care to report the event to the police, the police employees at the police station did not want to take his statement and asserted that they would have carried out the same action.”

Srđ is ours! is a civil initiative which fights against the planned construction of a golf park on Srđ, the mountain above Dubrovnik. The golf course is actually a cover for the construction of an apartment complex on the last possible location where Dubrovnik can expand. The initial space plan was intended for the construction of a sports and recreation centre for the inhabitants of Dubrovnik with a tourist zone. Later the recreation centre became an exclusive golf park and tourist-complex with hotels, villas and apartments. In 2003 the value of the project was evaluated at 90 million euro, two years later it had risen to 230 million euro. After the intervention of Ivo Sanader, who declared Srđ as a “project of national interest”, the budget exploded into a fantastic 900 million euro. The space plan documents in this period were illegally adjusted. Today, the project is estimated to cost 1.2 billion euro.

Slaven Tolj is one of the most important contemporary artists in Croatia. He is known internationally above all for his installations, performances and video works. His artistic production is deeply wracked by the experiences of the Yugoslav War, the Seige of Dubrovnik (1991–1992), and the eventual dissolution of Yugoslavia. In the late 1990s Tolj connected his artist work with the themes of transition, political transformation, multiculturalism and globalisation. Slaven Tolj has participated in a number of international manifestations at home and abroad. In recent years he has had solo presentations in Ernst Museum (Budapest), Galerie Emila Filly (Ústí nad Labem), and the Museum of Modern Art (Dubrovnik). He has participated in documenta (Kassel) as well as the Venice Biennale and the Cetinje Biennale. Tolj is also active as a cultural organiser and curator. He is one of the founders of the Art Workshop Lazareti (Dubrovnik) one of Croatia’s main independent centres of contemporary arts. In 2005 he was a commissioner for the Croatian pavilion at the Venice Biennale.