DUBROVNIK…, the eternal story about the eternal City (1990- to the present day)

D.F. as he took photographs of Dubrovnik and its surroundings, produced this (first) exhibition in 1990, with the intention of taking it around Europe. From the very beginning, the idea of presenting Dubrovnik to the world, as the best known Croatian toponym and protected world heritage (UNESCO), was not understood in his homeland, and this did not change even later, when this valuable heritage was damaged in the war.

It was only due to an incredible coincidence that only one or two years before the beginning of the war in Dubrovnik region (1 October 1991) D.F. took detailed photographs of the city and it surroundings. Afterwards, during the war, at his own initiative and with great determination, he repeated the same pictures (in the same visual and technical manner) which thereby represent exceptionally clear and illustrative material about the (at that time unprecedented) systematic destruction of cultural heritage, which the author dubbed heritage cleansing (which has only become known worldwide in recent years in connection with the systematic destruction of monuments in the Middle East).

 

THE MOST IMPORTANT EXHIBITIONS: DUBROVNIK

1990 Dubrovnik, Sponza Palace / The first exhibition about Dubrovnik
1991 Dubrovnik, Rupe Ethnographic Museum, photographs of the surroundings / The same permanent collection to the present day
1992 Madrid, Centro cultural de la villa, Dubrovnik, patrimonio de la humanidad / The first Croatian exhibition after the international recognition of the Republic of Croatia
Arles, Espace van Gogh, XXIII Les Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie/ The first, and up until the present day still the only appearance of a Croatian photographer in an official competition at the most important European photography festival
1993 NeuUlm, Edwin Scharff Haus / The first integral exhibition on Dubrovnik… (surroundings, city, war)
Paris, ChapelleSaint-Louis de la Salpetriere / The first Croatian exhibition organised by the French Ministry of Culture
1994 Bucharest, Institute for Architecture / The first Croatian exhibition in Rumania
Kišinjev, Visual Arts Museum / The first Croatian exhibition in Moldova
1999 Buenos Aires, Centro cultural Recoleta
Santiago (de Chile), Casas de lo Matta
2000 Prag, Terezianskekridlo, Pražskyhrad / sponsor of the exhibition Václav Havel
2016 RueilMalmaison (Paris), Médiathèque Jacques Baumel

 

BOOKS DUBROVNIK

1990 Dubrovnik, catalogue and poster for the exhibition in Sponza (with assistance from the Institute for the Restoration of Dubrovnik)
1992 Dubrovnik, patrimonio de la humanidad, Centro cultural de la villa, The format of the book: 22x21cm, 140 pages, 50 black and white photographs of the city
1993 Dubrovnik…, FAB d.o.o., Zagreb, first edition (3 parts: landscape, city, war)
1997 Dubrovnik…, FAB d.o.o., Zagreb, second (supplemented) edition, also showing reconstruction after the destruction (with pairs of photographs, demolished – reconstructed) ISBN 953-6039-00-1

 

23 January 1992 -The first Croatian exhibition after the international recognition of the Republic of Croatia – Dubrovnik, patrimonio de la humanidad, Madrid

The exhibition Dubrovnik, patrimonio de la humanidad, held on 23 January 1992 in Centro cultural de la villa in Madrid, was the first Croatian exhibition after the official recognition of Croatia. It was held upon the initiative of and coordinated by Jagoda Lukavac and Tatjana Ribić. It was made possible by their friends from Madrid, Luis Caruncho and Adrián Piera. The foreword to the book with the same title was written by the Nobel prize winner for literature (1989) Camilo José Cela (1916-2002):

Art may not draw from the wellspring of reason, but rather pours forth stealthily from two imponderable lodes: chance – generously repeated, and beauty – that lives and dies without heeding time. In this record which Damir Fabijanic made in Dubrovnik, grapes and red earth, flax and whitewash, flowers and water and light, the very fibre of the landscape and buildings and men and women, cry out in pain to beseech heavens with a song of pure and simple beauty.
The main tool of photography is the human eye, that flicker of the most penetrating force which serves as the arbiter of the arts. The wisest judges – even those who were wrecked in the siege of Dubrovnik – believe that photography, and perhaps poetry, is the embodiment of chemically pure art, that art that grows from awareness and premonition. The content of man’s work determines the boundaries of the spirit. Only form, that perhaps ultimate delusion of utmost beauty, begets undiluted, aesthetic, naked freedom. Schiller was deadly accurate in his war cry when he commanded: Let form annihilate matter.
If he were alive, writer M. Eça de Queirozwould find a kindred spirit in Damir Fabijanic, a man who has traversed the border between our world and that other world that we now call simply – Dubrovnik.
(translated by: Milivoj Telećan)

 

July 1992 – XXIII Les Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie, Espace van Gogh, Arles

Damir Fabijanić was invited to the most significant festival of photography in the world with his exhibition of Dubrovnik that had been held in Madrid. It was held in the excellent premises of the Espace van Gogh, a former hospital and today a media library. Thanks to the initiative of Jacques Defert, the Director of the French Institute in Zagreb, and given the fact that the title of the program of the festival was Les Europeennes (Europeans), the additional (war) photographs of Dubrovnik by Fabijanić were presented.

D.F. is the only Croatian photographer to date who has participated in the official program of the festival of photography in Arles.

 

March 1993 – Dubrovnik… the first integral setting of the exhibition, Edvin Scharff Haus, Neu Ulm

With the encouragement and excellent support of Nenad Mihanović, and with help from many Croats (such as Nikola Pavlinek and Zlatan Međugorac) and Germans, the first integral (three part) exhibition entitled Dubrovnik… was held in the Edvin Scherff Haus in Ulm. In Zagreb a book with the same title was printed and published by the author, with financial assistance from the International Affairs Department of the French Ministry of Culture, and help from the French Institute in Zagreb.

The forewords in the book were written by Camilo José Cela (taken from the Madrid book), Karl Lehman and Radovan Ivančević.

The book was created with the tremendous and unselfish assistance of my designers and friends, Ante Rašić and Rašić Studios

 

September 1993 – Dubrovnik… the Exhibition of the Week in Paris

The exhibition Dubrovnik…, held in Chapelle Saint-Louis de la Salpetriere, Paris, was organised by the French Ministry of Culture (as the first Croatian exhibition they organised). The City Guide of Paris declared it the “exhibition of the week” (of 59 newly opened exhibitions). The book Dubrovnik… was listed in the most beautiful books of photographs in the world (28 books) by the independent Paris panel of the Paris publisher Marval (from among books by the best world photographers, such as Lewis Baltz, William Eggleston, Luigi Ghirri, Ernst Hass, John Heartfield, Mary Ellen Mark…).

 

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