Sandra Sterle (HR) Reviving Nono (Aesthetics of a political trauma)

Installation, 2013

Antonio Jelenkovich/Ante Jelenkovićwas born in 1910, in Zadar, then part of Austro-Hungary. He served in the Italian army in Venice in 1030-31. After that he worked as bricklayer and site foreman in Zadar. In 1935 he married PalminaConsolari, with whom he had two children (Renzo and Armida, my mother). In World War II he was drafted into the Italian army. After taking part in the shooting of RadeKončar, he became a communist, but stayed in the Italian army up to 1943, when the Italians, just before the capitulation, handed him over to the Germans, in Spandau West camp in Berlin. He just managed to survive, and the Russians liberated him in 1945. He returned to Zadar weighing 47 kg, while he was 185 cm tall. He found consolation in the knowledge that his wife and children were alive. He took an active part in the reconstruction of war-damaged Zadar, until he was suddenly incarcerated on GoliOtok in 1951. In consequence, his family had to move out of their home.

He was released after a year. He worked in Yugoslavia as building technician and as supervisor in the excavations of Zadar Forum, in the renovation of the church of St Donatus, in building Maslenice Bridge and so on. He died in a crash with his motorcycle while Zadar was being shelled in 1993, in the eighty third year of his life, in the Republic of Croatia. How can this dead nonobe brought back to life? His stories from life were an amalgam of historical events, ideology, fantasy and fact. During my childhood, he was most interested in the Russian space programme, about which I heard in his three main languages (Croatian Italian and Albanian). The historical strata of his life for decades were an overlay on my artistic practice. Via politics to the problem of representation and intimate private life, documents, photographs, surreal narrative interwoven with fiction and fact, the relations between man and granddaughter, visuals from my early life, all piled up. In the fissure between the terror of officially written histories and real events the most incredible biographical data are hidden that in the background reveal the traumatic history of a person and of the city of Zadar, and allow us to guess at the strange circumstances that resulted in one of the most valuable art collections in Croatia, the Gold and Silver of Zadar, being preserved.

Sandra Sterle (HR)

Sandra Sterle (Zadar, 1965) graduated at the Department of Sculpture from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb and continued her education at the Department of Film and Video of the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf. From 1991 to 2000 she lived and worked in Amsterdam, where she received several scholarships and awards for her artistic work. In 2001 she started teaching at the Arts Academy in Split, first a course on new media and then the courses entitled Performance and Video and Art in Context. Her works have been exhibited, performed and screened at numerous national and international artistic institutions. Her works move within both real and virtual geographies in relation to which she creates fluid identity configurations, constantly defining new social, biological and communicational formats. She is interested in physical performances as a medium of performing identity within the framework of a classical definition of a performance or through constructs, using video, film, media technologies or building methodologically complex narratives.