Concept: Branko Franceschi
Curators: Lada Bošnjak Velagić, Tatijana Gareljić, Klaudio Štefančić, Ivana Rončević Elezović, Dajana Vlaisavljević
The Accidental Depot is a post-earthquake and pandemic exhibition of the holdings of the National Museum of Modern Art. Presented in a loose chronological order, the National Museum of Modern Art is exhibiting all the works of art from its holdings that have ended up in the exhibition space of the museum due to a set of unforeseen circumstances. One was the need to store the works of art from the museum’s holdings exhibited earlier during the City Iconography II exhibition. The other was the need to evacuate the museum’s works of art from the museum’s depots and state and city administration offices which the artworks were lent to given that these spaces were damaged by the earthquake that struck Zagreb on 22 March. As a result, the museum’s exhibition galleries have become the museum’s largest depot.
Curated by a set of circumstances and prompted by necessity, the exhibition provides the audience with a compressed and saturated overview of works of art kept in the museum that are well-known and that have been exhibited either rarely or never before. On the level of presentation, the current exhibition accordingly represents a break with the practice of exhibiting the ‘most representative’ works from the museum’s holdings. Instead of continuing to verify the established narrative of the development of art in Croatia from the middle of the 18th century to the present day, a set of circumstances opened up the possibility for the silent coexistence of works of art, bringing masterpieces that have been accepted as such into direct contact with those that have languished in the dark of depots for decades and that would probably never see the light of day. Accidents and natural disasters neither discriminate nor do they acknowledge a hierarchy of values, they treat everything equally. The audience is invited to construct their personal interpretation of the development of the local practice and phenomenon of art, as well as to give their own answers to broader existential questions in the light of the two disasters that have struck Zagreb in parallel.
The Accidental Depot also serves as a reminder of a chronic shortage of adequate museum depots and of the fact that the National Museum of Modern Art does not in general meet museology standards prescribed by law and ensuing rules and regulations. The concept of ‘Accidental Depot’ seeks to harness the revolutionary potential and consequences of an unexpected set of circumstances to raise a set of burning yet unresolved issues that remain hidden behind the respectable mise-en-scène of the proverbial ‘permanent collection display’.
The display is presenting 800 artworks from the museum’s holdings, with over 10,000 still in the depots of the National Museum of Modern Art.
We thank the museum’s entire team and external associates who have made this complex exhibition possible.
Branko Franceschi, Director of the National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb