Croatian and Macedonian experience, summer 2010
I was invited for the second time, to attend the Art Colony in Kitcevo. I thought that it is a very good opportunity to visit Zagreb, Croatia, since my last visit was in 1972.
I notified my friend and colleague, Artist Toni Franovic about my arrival to Zagreb for 2 days. From here developed a fantastic adventure, friendship, cooperation in work and most of all, enormous, unexpected achievements in the field of art.
The first few days we where in Palmizana, a magic island, on the Dalmatian cost, owned by Toni's gallerist Dagmar Menengello.
We started to work on a joint project: a fence, constructed from my iron imaginary creatures with several parts made from rough colored glass made by Toni.
I made a sketch for an outdoor sculpture Hug. It is made of two creatures, fish or lizards, embracing each other.
Model of Hug
Dagmar immediately announced that she wants to install the work in memory of her late husband Toto Menengello. At the moment the piece is cut in the Koncar Plant.
Back in Zagreb, Toni arranged for me to work in the big plant Koncar, among other fields also deals with iron flame cutting.
Dina working on the fence in the Koncar Plant
They immediately cut the animals for Dagmar's fence and grabbed the opportunity to commission me for an outdoor sculpture. I suggested 5 trees, in different shapes, height 380 cm. thickness 25 mm. colored in gradient colors from yellow through orange to fire red. This is an enchanted forest said Toni. This was exactly my idea of the trees.
The sculpture was installed in front of the Koncar plant to everybody's satisfaction.
Enchanted Forest |
I also made a relief from junk I collected at the plant, such as remnants of cut iron, pipes, U profiles and an old frame that I found in their courtyard. Inside the relief, Toni will add some elements of his colored glass.
Dina and Tony |
Working on the relief
In one of the weekends we visited my birth town Vinkovci, which I left when I was 5 years old in 1941.When the 2nd world war broke out in Yugoslavia. We were hosted by the manager of the Municipal Museum Mr. Kreso Maric and Prof. Tomo Salic, who wrote a wonderful book "The Jews in Vinkovci and Surroundings".
Street in Vinkovci |
Family Gross house in Vinkovci
It was an extremely exiting experience for me. I saw the house where I spend the first 5 years of my life. A very impressive big house, build in the Bauhaus style about 1935.
The house is in a very bad condition but is planned for preservation because of its uniqueness.
By the end of the visit, we found a place for my future sculpture from where it is possible to see my childhood home.
Place for future sculpture
I landed in Skoplje, Macedonia into a totally different reality and working conditions. It took me some days to adjust and put all my energy to create, and finish in time the two works I intended to do.
Hotel in Kitcevo
The two weeks I spend in Kitcevo, almost two hours drive from Skoplje, where dedicated to work and build the two pieces. I made a composition of 3 trees "Magic Trees" from junk, found in the working place courtyard.
Magic Trees |
The second work Creature's Carriage made of an old distorted fence put on wheels, with several creatures popping out from it.
One day was dedicated to a trip to Ohrid, an old most interesting city, situated by the lake of Ohrid. The city has about 365 monasteries and churches, rich with cultural treasures.
Monastery in Ohrid
The installation of the trees was an exiting moment. The coloring went on successfully and one minute after finishing,
it started to rain vigorously. We where so lucky.
Dina Merhav July 2010
Magic Trees detail