In May 2018 I drove from Montpellier (France) to the island of Susak (Croatia) to participate in the Susak Expo 2018, a biennale organised by Daniel Devlin. This biennale, unlike other biennales, is not about displaying existing art, but about making art in situ on the island itself.
My work for the Susak Expo centered on a myth called ‘Mrak’ which I came across doing research about Susak’s history.
This myth was born from an old superstition on the island called ‘Mrak’, which literally means ‘dark or darkness’ in Croatian. It is believed that ‘Mrak’ carries dark forces which can harm wandering islanders, in particular children, at night. To the point, where it is believed ‘Mrak’ can infiltrate and infect their drying clothes at night. It seems the universal childhood fear of the dark follows Susak’s inhabitants into adulthood.
The myth suggests that the sole protection against ‘Mrak’…is fire itself. A bonfire, a fireplace, a torch or even a lit cigarette will do. If you decide to go for a stroll across the island at night, smoke all the way or carry a flaming torch.
No myth is plucked out of thin air or exists without roots in history. Darkness and light have toyed with our notion of right and wrong, of good and bad since time immemorial. Myths also evolve. So I decided to perpetuate and contribute to this quaint myth and possibly offer the island permanent protection from future maleficent forces by producing a series of sentinels that would be submerged into the sea around Susak. These ‘Susak’ Sentinels, a series of twelve hand painted images on fired porcelain, each interpret a photograph (that depicted fire in some way) contributed by artists participating in SUSAK EXPO 2018.
With the help of a local fisherman, I dived into the sea at various dedicated GPS locations and released these porcelain paintings in a ring around the island, some disappearing forever into the gloomy depths, others nestling hidden in the shallows, amongst sea grass; 12 individual records of moments with fire – out of sight in the depths, inextinguishable and forever part of the myth ‘Mrak‘.
Many thanks to the following artists/collectives participating in Susak Expo 2018 who contributed a photograph: Qwerty, Daniel Devlin, Romina Dusic, Dominik Grdić, Charles Williams, Luka Duplančić, Kaz Raad, Tomislav Brajnović, Doug Lewis, Margareta Vidmar & Esox Lucius Ido, Carousel.
Susak Sentinels /credits
Camera work – Kaz Raad, Charlie Bonallack
Editing – Mickael Chirier
Skipper SS204 – Dragan Vidović
Saxophone – Oliver Ertl
Produced for Susak Expo 2018
For more info on the Susak Sentinels got to: