Staging Actors / Staging Beliefs (Homage to Slavko Štimac) | Renata Poljak
Staging Actors / Staging Beliefs (Homage to Slavko Štimac)
Video installation, photo work, 2011

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Slavko Štimac was one of the most famous actors from Yugoslavia who started his successful career as a child. Through his roles he embodied the entire ideology of Tito – communism, socialism, Yugoslavia, brotherhood and unity. Renata’s generation grew up with him as a child on the screen believing in the same ideals for which he was fighting on the screen.
Film Train in the Snow narrated a story of solidarity and collective responsibility of the children acting together, and self- organizing themselves in an effort to dig out a train stuck in the blizzard during their school trip. The movie gained a large support within the agendas of Yugoslav youth organizations; similar to Boshko Buha, it influenced generations of people growing up in Yugoslavia.

His position of a star, fell apart after the breakup of Yugoslavia, as one cannot be a film star in the country which doesn’t exist any more.

In this video projection, Poljak focuses solely on the motif of snow; she arranges and shoots the fake snow falling, lit by reflectors on a theater stage. This silent, uninterrupted footage of the snow falling and gradually covering the stage, made by a steady camera, becomes a poignant, poetic metaphor for forgetting and erasing history. The work can be seen as homage to all the actors and public personas, once embodying noble ideas, to be gradually forgotten. As a complement to the projection, a photograph entitled Staging Actors/ Staging Beliefs (Set photograph) reveals a place where the footage was taken—a historical theater setting, completely devoid of people. Here, as if a silence of the snow falling reverberates through lavishly decorated and entrancingly lit sitting areas, captured by a camera in an aberrant, dreamlike composition.

— Zeljka Himbele exhibition text (pdf)

— Watch video Staging Actors / Staging Beliefs (Hommage to Slavko Štimac)