Jovana Popic

Destruction - subtle, abstruse

Since 2003, I produced an array of works related to the area of village Ervenik, which is situated in Dalmatia, southern costal region of Croatia. For many centuries this area was inhabited by the Serbian national minority, which made about 12 % of the entire population in Croatia. Before the civil war, that took place in the 1990s, there were around 3,000 people living in this village. There was one factory, one hospital, two inns, a few stores, one cinema and one school with 400 students. After the civil war, area was almost completely devastated and the village became completely deserted. The majority of houses were havocked, and then burned. Today, this region has lost its particular purpose and is a “no man’s land “. Only 182 people live there. Average age is 72. The other former inhabitants have either migrated as refugees to other countries or were executed during the civil war. This area became a nature reserve and was completely forgotten from the state officials. Also, there is no cultural initiative connected to it.

Ervenik obtained a symbolical character. The fact that I spent time there and I knew how very different it looked before, had a crucial impact on my perception of it after its destruction. It is the absence of human beings, the savaged surrounding nature with the river, trees and animals which remained, burned houses, empty deteriorated roads, empty school with no children, that turned into a noise of signs which I tried to re-read and to re-connect. My works related to Ervenik developed out of the need to make...