Crossing Borders at Hrpelje-Kozina

Until a few years ago, there was a line that cut Europe into two parts: it was the Iron Curtain that began to crumble with the fall of the Berlin Wall, leading as a consequence to the unification of the two Germanys and successively the accession of new states to the group of EU countries. This curtain demarcated the two previous political blocks: the first was headed by the countries of the communist area led by the USSR and subjected to the defense system called the Warsaw Pact, the second by those that referred to a capitalist economic system placed under the wing of the USA and NATO.

Esterno di Beka9 con la bandiera che svetta. Ph R.Grisancich

The Berlin Wall (in German Berliner Mauer, but the official name that indicated its reasons was: Antifaschistischer Schutzwall, translated Anti-fascist Barrier) was a system of barriers active from 1961 to 1989, erected by the East Germany government to prevent the free movement of people to the West. More generally, the climate of the so-called Cold War made impossible, between these two blocs, not only the free movement of people, but also the circulation of ideas and goods. Years of peace and cultural upheavals followed the collapse of the Berlin Wall, with the hope (which later proved unfounded) that trade and cultural exchanges could start a lasting and inevitable peace process. The expansion of the EU borders with the gradual incorporation of new countries has further made us believe that this dream could become reality. We have seen that this is not the case.

Bagrat Arazyan, “Frontier”, 2024, environment, variable sizes, paper, giclée print, stones. Ph courtesy Beka9

The border, to be understood not only as a line of demarcation, limit, delimitation, division, term, end, extremity, barrier, but also as a political and social entity, that is, formal separation of peoples, habits, laws, customs, bureaucracy, stamps and passports, is no longer respected. It is not respected by illegal migrants, it is not respected by the arrogance of armed armies who want to impose their will to dominate by force. No democracy and free elections, anything else than Alessandro Manzoni’s poetic hymn on the identity of a people! Here it seems that the slogan has now become impoverished, reduced to a clash between the high ideals of peace and the sordid (Nazi-style) slogan of Blut und Boden!

Elisabetta Bacci, “Untitled”, floor installation 200 x 200 x 10,5 cm, from the cycle “Fracture” 2018. Ph courtesy Beka9

To talk on these themes and to focus on this disastrous reality that we are experiencing day by day, not only with flashes of war, but also with arrogant statements from the most unpresentable political leaders, Nadja Bagaeva has curated an exhibition project for the Beka9 space in Hrpelje-Kozina, comparing the work of eleven authors: Konstantin Adjer, Eva Alvor, Bagrat Arazyan, Elisabetta Bacci, Dušan Fišer, Lana Hasić, Tone Hellerud, Olga Kopeleva, Zoya Lebedeva, Lina Ledentcova, Marina Razheva. The exhibition is part of the first edition of the “Crossing Borders” Festival, which includes musical performances and conversations with the artists. The works of these authors (all set in a very effective way) adopt the most disparate expressive languages: ranging from figurative images to symbolic painting, from video to installations, all in harmony with the articulated and very subjective spirit of contemporaneity.

Eva Alvor (Myrnychenko), “Bogi”, 2023, textile, acrylic, handmade embroidery, 140 x 270 cm. Ph courtesy Beka9

The space that hosts the exhibition is formally a former military garrison built close to the border that separated Italy from Yugoslavia, before the fragmentation of the country and the political system that kept it standing occurred. Just to give an idea of ​​what the aftermath of the Second World War was, we must remember that the border that ran between Yugoslavia and Italy, with the delusional claims by the nationalist right of the time for a recovery of the lost lands, was definitively sanctioned as soon as the Treaty of Osimo, in 1975, thirty years after the end of the war.

Dušan Fišer, “Framing”, 2019, wood, plaster, mirror, 43 x 240 x 57 cm. Ph courtesy Beka9

The fact that this exhibition was inaugurated on the date of the summer solstice has a symbolic value: it indicates a wish and opens up hope for a future where at least culture can dialogue, beyond any divergence and any difference and of any border. It should in fact be noted that this exhibition project sees the participation of two Ukrainian artists and four Russian artists. Evidence of dialogue for a better future? We hope so.

Fabio Fabris


AA.VV., Crossing Borders
20/06/2024 – 07/07/2024
Beka9 art space


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