The show Terra Incognita includes the screening in a gallery of the film Yet Another Departure and photographic collages that, with the film, constiute a unit complete in itself. Via visually impressive takes, Renata Poljak sets up a spatial and temporal narrative of recognisable authorship, at the same time getting into the area of the fusion of personal and collective memory and/or forgetfulness, which in the context of the political and economic changes that have in the last few decades overtaken Croatian society take on social and psychological connotations powerful in their metaphorical and symbolic meanings.
The exhibition Terra Incognita problematises the variability of historical narratives and poses the question of what they will mean in the future. In this sense the motif of the former flagship of the Yugoslav Navy, which was scuttled two years ago to serve as an underwater feature, and the exteriors and interiors of the Brijuni Islands, on which Tito once had his summer residence, are in their way metaphors of the ephemeral. Scenes of the surfaces of the sea, the underwater shots, the emphasis on the horizons at which sky joins with sky or earth, island as the space of the action and collaboration with the same actress link Terra Incognita with Renata’s previous multimedia project Partenza. In both cases the focus of the author’s thinking is on the currently particularly topical theme of departure, longing and uncertainty, in which island and sea have a symbolic meaning, while past and present create a marvellous amalgam of poetry and metaphor.
TERRA INCOGNITA is a Latin term used in ancient cartography to indicate the existence of unexplored lands and territories. What will there be, in the future, with the ship Vis and the Brioni Islands, as places where a utopia was created? Will they turn into a terra incognita of a history that is being rewritten?
If we imagine the future, knowing that the past is always repeated, again we will arrive at the age of a collective utopia; the ideas of self-management and the non-aligned movement will take some other forms but will stay the similar in ideas.
The positions of woman and the islands, as well as of those who believe in utopia, will remain on the margins.
In the future, when they find these photographs that link a woman in a landscape with a technical drawing of a sunken ship and nautical signs of an exact geographic location, they will be able to think that they have found solid artefacts about an era or a territory. This will teach them nothing, it will not stop wars, the oppression of people will not cease, freedom of thought and speech will not yet be completely effective, but some of them, those a little more humanistically oriented, will, with the certainty that only emotions can provide, claim that this was a happy era, in its idea.