Wonderland | Renata Poljak
Wonderland
Video installation and photo, 2002

Under the title Wonderland, Lewis Carroll universe of fantasy, the exhibition conveys the idea of a very special invitation to travel.

The only source of light is bleu neon lighting with an elegant lettering. It fills the space with a sense of hope and disappointment. Writing with light, almost pronouncing, is preventing something to happen: if only I can once say I’ll follow you until the end of the world,   si je pouvais dire seulement une fois je te suivrai jusqu’au bout du monde

The desire of elsewhere is met by the elsewhere of the past, a video installation enriched with a photograph evokes a lost Yugoslavia. Crveni Makovi (Red Poppies) the young Yugoslavian pionneers’ song to the memory of partisans, the blood – like red of the poppies, the artist’s voice reciting passages of Alice In Wonderland, Sarajevo today, a childhood in Split yesterday, and even a fly. The artist walking in the streets in Sarajevo or sleeping in the grass, everything jostle together to sketch the idea of the lost wonderland, to show the historical ellipsis between childhood and adulthood (1991-2001). Yugoslavia of yore and the one who hasn’t got a name anymore – today’s Yugoslavia – just one unique desire, that of not been roused.

Because this end of the world may very well be the outcome of a dream: And if he – Tito – stops dreaming about you, where do you think you will be? 

***

It was the second or the third day after the war started. We ( I ) were still not sure what does it mean exactly. I just came back from Florence – my very first travel abroad-and there were some news on TV I really didn’t want to know or to listen to immediately. Anyway, it all seemed like it was happening somewhere else – farther away, though in the same country. I was seventeen and the day was sunny and beautiful. Split was looking very calm and serene in this light.

I was biking. Back then, in my rebel adolescence, my yellow bike was giving me the feeling of freedom which I needed so much.

I remember I was biking along the coast and gazing at the sea. But in one moment something seemed really strange. On the usually busy road, connecting small harbor with the old town, there were no cars, no people. “How nice and beautiful,” I thought. My eyes wondered and I looked up to the building on the opposite side of the road. It was a huge modernist, white and enclosed administrative building with a few monumental pillars in front; at that time, however, with blinds all closed. And there it was; a small roundish black thing pointing at me, under the closed blinds, as if following my movements. I was at gunpoint.

When I bike, I listen to the beautiful music, and I bike pretty fast while my braids curl on the wind.

I took the U turn, passed the building, left it behind, and still nobody on the road. A green park opened in front me, still with no people, nor children in it. “How beautiful and special – perfect,” I thought and laid down in the grass, with my bike next to me. When I woke up the sun was already gone.

Nine years later, when I laid down in the grass somewhere in France, I suddenly remembered it. My knees buckled and huge fear overwhelmed me.