"Contemporary Istria" at Monfort Contemporary Art Space, Portorož

a group exhibition

Contemporary Istria April 2 – May 27 2015

Nika Autor, Igor Grubić, Irwin, Valerio Rocco Orlando, Renata Poljak, Gian Maria Tosatti

curated by Ludovico Pratesi

What means being Istrian today? Six contemporary Italian, Slovene and Croatian artists of the last generations provide an answer to that question through their video works gathered in the exhibition "Contemporary Istria: six video artists for Istria ", curated by Ludovico Pratesi, which was inaugurated on Thursday 2 April, at 19.00, Space for Contemporary Art " Monfort " Portorož, in the presence of the President of the Popular University of Trieste, Fabrizio Somma, the Chairman of the Executive Board of the Italian Union, Maurizio Tremul, the Director of Coastal Galleries Piran, Lilijana Stepancic, and the curator Ludovico Pratesi.

An exhibition that takes its cue from a formula already experimented in 2013 with the exhibition Triple Identity at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Pula, and continues in the inspiring space of Monfort, old salt warehouse in Portorož, with a symbolic interpretation of Istrian identity through the eyes of six artists : Italians Valerio Rocco Orlando and Gian Maria Tosatti, Nika Autor and Irwin from Slovenia, and Croats Renata Poljak and Igor Grubic.

The six invited artists document and rework different aspects of the sense of identity, which they structure at times as the basis of the national identity, and sometimes as personal and intimate investigations. The work of the young Milanese artist Valerio Rocco Orlando, entitled Bisiach, tells the feeling of nostalgia that comes from the progressive loss of traditions while Gian Maria Tosatti's video 2_Estate (which documents the environmental installation built in the former registrar of Naples) describes the inertia of people, the passage of time and the suspension of the expectations. The exhibition continues with the work of Croatians: Renata Poljak's video Skok / Jump describes the logic and the discomfort of her personal condition as a migrant, while Igor Grubic examines with a nostalgic but also political look monuments of his homeland in the video Monuments. The two representatives of Slovenian artists are Nika Autor (Newsreel 55 - The News Is Ours), and the collective Irwin (Black Square on the Red Square): their videos are testimony to the social and political history of a people, collective memories which inevitably merge into familiar and personal histories of individuals.

Contemporary Istria is therefore an exhibition that aims to investigate the identity of the Istrian peoples between past, present and future: language, memory, empires, nation states, migrations and displacements, costumes and customs have for centuries shaped a land suspended between past and present, in a continuous political puzzle that never affected the real and profound soul of Istria. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, which sees controversies of the past overlap with the present integration into the European Union within a process of increasingly intense globalization, Istria Contemporanea offers a new content to a territory divided but united by a common memory, which must have the courage and vision to project itself towards tomorrow.