Stanko Abadžić - Adriatic Routes

The exhibition will last from October 6th until October 31st, 2004
Opening hours: daily from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. except Mondays


One of this adventurers of the century, a member of that nomadic tribe is also a famous Croatian photographer Stanko Abadžić (1952), a teacher of German, a citizen of Prague, Zagreb and Krk, in short - a citizen of the world. In Vukovar, where he was born, in that baroque wonder on the Danube, in a town that welcomed all people with open heart, he learnt how to love the world. Recognizing the sensibility of his 15-year-old son, Abadžić's father gave him his first Russian camera SMENA 8, which the photographer has kept to his very day, emphasizing that it made him "realize good photos are not only made with expensive cameras". As a student, he took pictures of weddings and soccer clubs in order to earn some pocket money. At the same time he took numerous pictures of Vukovar, and thus developed a poetic sensitivity for its heritage, the old streets, rooftops, roads, melancholic views of time stopped - sensitivity of a boy who loved the past.

Inspired by French photographer Willy Ronis, who listens to Bach before taking photos, Abadžić developed his own romantic "pilgrimages and rituals" by visiting mysterious little hideouts. He liked to go to the Literarna kavarna in Tynska street, which was hidden from the city bustle. At the market in Havelska street he would first buy a cantaloupe and then have "an espresso and a glass of mineral water" in Tynska street. And still, he was mostly drawn to the mysterious surroundings of the royal palace of Hradčany, where the streets are cobbled and the spring air is filled with the scent of the locust trees and flowering violets.

The island of Krk has also many a mysterious antique to offer our artist. The stone buildings are always photographed with a child, filling the photo with joy. Some children run along a street in Baška, holding bread in their hands, another scene shows us an old man with a sheep, four passionate card players show through their straw hats, an elderly man happily floats in the sea with a glass in his hand… Abadžić fondly captures the spray of the sea on bathers, the joy of young lovers playing on the beach, the lovely bays around Baška with their straw sunshades.
Finally, his path naturally led him to Dubrovnik - an architectural masterpiece whose beauty leaves a mark in everybody's heart. In the old town, Abadžić records details that tell the story of historic layers, the spirit, philosophy and history of maybe the most magnificent European city; studies of details - such as a stone hand reaching out from a wall, a lovely woman's leg next to an ancient column, the shadows of passers-by and lamps on old wall. And indeed, he did not forget the churches, ramparts, the port, cafés, lances with winding staircases, etc. In his wanderings along the Adriatic coast, Abadžić also took pictures of the hamlet of Lubenice on the island Cres, the coastal motorway and the ships, each time capturing an unusual detail of a backyard or billboard.
In Rijeka he recorded, like Orson Welles, the puzzling design of a secessionist stairway, in Istria the fence of a forgotten place… And finally, let us mention a photograph so characteristic of Abadžić - the end of the tourist season in Baška - in which he recorded an abandoned town with sad metal scaffolding and puddles underneath… a most appropriate symbol of the century - showing a magical interweave of technology and nature.
Abadžić records the loneliness of history, he searches for the lost views of existence. But most of all, his camera is the means with which he reveals the loneliness of worlds, cities and people stopped in the infinity of time. For, in spite of the frantic pulsing of life, in spite of enormous cities and communication technologies, human beings have never been so lonely. Mass societies and contemporary media have created their paradox. There are lonely women and men sitting in rooms with their memories. A boy walking the streets in the artist's photograph is not at all different from a boy sitting alone in a room. In Abadžić's streets we thus sense only silence / the silence of people, of rooftops and of walls. These photographs are sensuous, contemplative and melancholic. There are people walking in them whose loneliness merges with the loneliness of cities. It is a dialogue of history and individuals. It is the viewpoint of a wandering photographer who one day may visit you and your city…

Marina Tenžera