Siniša Labrović (HR) Mens sana in corpore sano

Video installation, 2013

Mens sana in corpora sano is an artistic project that consists of two parts: a sporting competition in four athletic disciplines, two each for men and women, after which comes a four-channel video installation. The video images are accompanied by artefacts from the competition itself. The celebration of human physical capacities is a part of almost all known cultures. Often the celebration unfolded through competitions, to which we today most often add the adjective sporting. The best known are the Olympic Games, deriving from Ancient Greece and revived in 1896.

Athletics is one of the fundamental branches of sport. Because of the comprehensiveness involved it is called the queen of sports, and is fundamental to almost all other kinds of sport. According to Wikipedia, “through athletic exercises physical strength, endurance, speed and agility are attained, and properties of the will such as courage, resolution and persistence are strengthened.” Sport, particularly competitive sport, is a sign of the contemporary obsession with youth, competition, records, advancement and the pushing forwards of borders, with victories and defeats, winners and losers. All accompanied by the cult of the body, health, maximalisation and optimalisation, as well as sports icons and heroes, national and world. Media. Fame. Money. And where in all this is a place for the old men and women, with their age? Publicly, almost nowhere, except in some anniversary recollections.

We do not imagine that this project will bring about an about turn, in fate, in the media, or any kind, and yet we can still rejoice. The old body is read as decay, decline and degeneration, and not as a natural state in human life to which belong joy, the desire for endorsement and public acknowledgement, as well as appropriate physical strength, courage, the possibility of advancement, spiritual and physical dignity.

Ultimately, it is not the objective of the project to celebrate any kind of or anyone’s success (and of course, not to reduce them or take them away), but to celebrate life and existence itself.

It is important to take part, not to… not to... not to…

Sorry, I forgot.


Siniša Labrović (HR)

Siniša Labrović was born in 1965 in Sinj. In 1997, he took a degree in Croatian language and literature at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb. He began to go in for the visual arts in 2000. He had his first solo show in the Otok Gallery in Dubrovnik. He has shown his work at numerous collective and solo exhibitions, carried out actions and performances as well as urban interventions, in Croatia – in Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Zadar, Pula, Rijeka, Split, Šibenik, Osijek and Poreč, and abroad – in Novi Sad, Belgrade, Ljubljana, Graz, Carlisle, Reykjavik, Regensburg, Dundee, Istanbul, Paris, Copenhagen, Brussels, Venice, Budapest, Berlin, Dresden, Vienna, Bratislava, Prague, New York, San Sebastian and Lodz. In 2005 he attracted the attention of world media (such as Reuters, BBC, Ansa, New York Post, Guardian, Times, NBC, ABC) with his work, a reality show in which the contestants were sheep. In 2007 he won third purchasing prize at the first T-HT/MCA Competition in Zagreb for Family Diary. This work is part of the permanent display of the MCA.

The paper Slobodna Dalmacija proclaimed the performance Gloria done on the Split waterfront one of the five best cultural events in Dalmatia in 2007. In 2010, at the 16th International Theatre Festival in Pula he won the Vjetar prize for the performance of Gloria. His work is kept in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, the Museum of Fine Art in Split, the Museum of Modern Art in Dubrovnik and in private collections. In 2009 he exhibited at the 11th Istanbul Biennial. He represented Croatia at the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale with the Pulska grupa, Hrvoslava Brkušić, Igor Bezinović and Boris Cvjetanović.