Meštrović Pavilion, the Home of Croatian Fine Artists, will open its doors on June 1, 2023, for the Dance de Luxe exhibition, which will turn the Bačva gallery into a “beach” – Zagreb’s refuge from the summer heat, offering a program for all ages.
Internationally recognized Olaf Nicolai (DE) and Dubrovnik artist Mariana Pende (HR) exhibit a collaborative site-specific installation – built especially and only for the Meštrović Pavilion in Zagreb.
Dance de Luxe refers to Danče beach, the only beach in the center of the well-known tourist mecca of Dubrovnik, which, due to its slightly hidden location, known only to local citizens and their closest friends, has remained outside the huge tourist frenzy that characterizes Dubrovnik in the summer. Branko Franceschi, the curator of the exhibition, says that over the years “Danče has become a kind of center for the locals, where generations of citizens hang out and exchange the latest gossip or the verbal history of their town. It is the place where you make or break lifelong friendships, meet or lose your lovers, or simply enjoy life with your family and relatives. Collaborative art project Dance de Lux, mimicking hedonism of the infamous disco era in its title, celebrates Danče’s outdoor social lifestyle and intends to recreate it in the interior of the Bačva Gallery, the most spectacular exhibition space in downtown Zagreb.”
As noted by artist Olaf Nicolai: ” Designed by Ivan Meštrović (1883–1962) and inaugurated in 1938, the Pavilion is not only an architecturally imposing building – it is also an urbanist statement. It is one of those architectures that create places that cannot be passed through unnoticed – everything is a creative setting that assigns things and people their spots. In his miniatures on urban features from the period in which Meštrović Pavilion was created, the German cultural historian Siegfried Kracauer noted a second, more informal architecture alongside this architecture of planned setting. He speaks of places that come into being slowly through the most diverse undertakings, that change again and again, transforming themselves – and thus resemble rather living landscapes. One such place is one of the oldest bathing beaches in Dubrovnik, Danče, after which a small republic was named.