Kollektiv BLOK (Ana Kutleša, Ivana Hanaček und Vesna Vuković ): The Art of the Collective – Case Zemlja (2016–2018)

Laudatio: Luise Schröder*. NS-Dokumentationszentrum München, 7. November 2019

But who is BLOK? BLOK is a curatorial collective which was founded in 2001in Croatia. It operates at the intersection of art, urban research and political activism. Over the past 18 years, the collective has designed and produced various projects platforms for collective work of artists, curators, researchers, political activists and anyone interested in the politics of space. 

Since 2016 they also run an artistic and social venue in the Zagreb neighborhood of Trešnjevka, called BAZA. This place is dedicated to the production of contemporary art, to education and to activism in the neighborhood and beyond.

BLOK applied for the Hans-and-Lea Grundig Award 2019 with an outstanding research and exhibition project called: The Art of the Collective – Case Zemlja. It deals with the activities of Zemlja, a left-wing artist association, operating from 1929 to 1935 in the area of Zagreb and in the surrounding towns and villages. It consisted of 34 professional artists, architects, professors, as well as peasants, factory workers, health workers and children. BLOK researched, collected and exhibited various art works and archive materials of Zemlja, that were scattered among many private and public archives and has never been shown to a public before. By mapping the member’s political biographies, their works and their connection to the worker’s movement within three exhibitions in Zagreb, Pula, Petrinja (2016-2018) BLOK made ot possible to re-read Zemlja’s artistic activities and to stress the connectedness of art production and the development of radical social movements within the interwar period in the area. The way BLOK curated and exhibited their research, makes it possible to acknowledge the heterogeneous legacy of Zemlja and to deal with discussions and discourse on antagonisms within collective artistic production in general. A subject which is as topical/important today.

By awarding the Hans-and Lea-Grundig award for art mediation and art history to the BLOK collective the jury wants stress the importance and necessity of BLOK’s work in the field of artistic production, art mediation and political activism in local and international contexts. 

*Luise Schröder konnte aufgrund anderweitiger Verpflichtungen nicht an der Preisverleihung teilnehmen. Ihre Laudatio wurde von Oliver Sukrow gehalten.