Viktor Popović reviewed in

Permanent idea of space as a vision of the Future
Diana Magdić

After last year's participation at the prestigious artist residency ART OMI , Viktor Popović, who is the current head of the painting department of Split Art Academy is exhibiting a collection of works from March 6-April 21. The  exhibition is ambiguously titled SPLIT ARCHIVE and will be on view March 6 -21 at C24 Gallery, New York.

A synthesis of both previously exhibited and customary works, this exhibit provides a layered interpretation of archival photos of modern Split architecture through work and discussion with other participants - artists - but also writers, gallery owners, art historians and critics, in almost ideal conditions. The New York audience creates a thematic background for this artistic intervention, representing still a certain exoticism.

The presentation of Popović's installations may also serve as an unplanned introduction to the great exhibition "Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948-1980", which is being prepared by MoMA for July of this year.

Just as contemporary architectural production is, with all its specifics, both at a level of influence and a product level, so are the archive studies, producing artistic, contemporary global gestures. Overwhelmed with unstructured information, and faced with fragmented history and politicized memory, we try to find a reference point in the system.

Popović says that his selection of these archives is not a reflection of nostalgia, but rather he recognizes and interprets the idea of space more clearly in them. Fifty years of old documentation records and conveys optimism, brightness, hope, order, even utopia, and this aggressive purity of the new, in relation to today's state of the art itself, seems to come from the future, not from the past. Not only do the archives present a timeline, they also provide a collectively understood framework of unanswered questions of the past and present.

In 2015 during the initial cycle of this installation, Boris Greiner, when discussing the Split model 3, writes that this dialogue "takes place on several levels - the present is talking to history, through a thin, barely visible network, looking at what is imagined and subject to realization, and only partially realized, from hindsight, we see the former vision of the future."

Applied rod forms, light tubes that Popović "draws" through digital photo printing, provoke the way we read the 3D space, overlapping the perspective and axonometric view of the same object. It then the foils / filters that part of black and white photographs, implicitly or explicitly adding tone, frames and sub glass-placed details. The light tubes act as a key to reading the photograph, focusing on the concept of the object rather than the object itself. The ready-made installation of the broken metal skeleton beds from the Military Hospital, depicted in the pictures, holds a strong presence, despite the fact that we could look at it as a citation in quotations.

The versions and parts of Croatia in this exhibition remain faithful and well-rounded, just as the works of other authors in different ways and in different formats deal with archives, which confirms the "archival fever", as Derrida called it.

What we consider to be one of the greatest successes of Popovic's works is to avoid recalling and satisfying the authority of the past, and retrieve an authentic contemporary expression and interpretation.

These works are primarily the discussion of a lasting idea, and then only about its passing manifestations, either in urban or architectural work. If we accept the detachment and fairness in purifying memory, and then reflect upon it, it is possible to reach a satisfactory level of continuity, which then has another side: the direction of the future. We can use these works as a manual in how to achieve this.