Ivan Buvinić – Safe House

17. 2. – 6. 3. 2020.

Foto: Marko Ercegović


Centuries-old themes of childhood and growing up in a family home have always intrigued and attracted attention of numerous artists due to their fragmentary nature and politics of memory. From the perspective of an adult, the memory of this stage of life marked by (seemingly) limitless joviality, sense of belonging and security is often buried in oblivion or present in fragments of memories. Due to this, any attempt at its reconstruction with the goal of creating an image of one’s identity represents a research process where the space of a home at a symbolic level is the starting point of all interpretations.

Photography always had a dominant role in creating family memories but it soon assumed the position of a self-representative medium which, according to Marianne Hirsch, successfully contributed to creating myths of the ideal family. [1] Today more than ever, the photographic medium is present in family life not just as an everyday practice but as a retroactive vehicle for questioning the limits of memory and demystifying what the concept of a family home represents.

The work Safe House by a young artist Ivan Buvinić is created along these lines. By combining several approaches, from installations, over archive photography to video projections, the author fills up the exhibition space with personal interpretations thus offering a reconstructed image of his formative years. One such instance is a fragile sculpture constructed from seemingly insignificant objects with which the author – by photographing it in front of a kitchen tablecloth – attempts to convey his perception of inheritance. By using photos from the past, the artist does not lapse into a nostalgic representation of a personal archive but questions the segments that have marked his childhood the most. The death of his grandfather is one such segment so he intervenes into a family photo from his childhood by using methods of chemical erasure to the point of nullifying its content. The similar principle was adopted in relation to the photos from his parents’ wedding where, after the author’s intervention, one finds it necessary to examine the role of photography in preserving memories. In addition to photographs, this work also consists of a projection of the author’s electroencephalography test results (EEG), thanks to which we uncover the role that sound stimuli played in his childhood. Finally, the work Safe House points to numerous ways a photographic medium can be used to interpret memory; however, at the same time, with the variety of approaches at the representational level, it invites us to engage in different readings of experiences and memories related to one’s childhood.

Ivan Buvinić (1994, Šibenik) is a third-year student at the Academy of Dramatic Art in Zagreb, Cinematography department. He exhibited at several group exhibitions, notably: Biennale of Young Croatian Photography (2017, 2018), In process (2018), and the photography festival Rovinj Photodays (2018, 2019) where he was awarded in the category of architecture and portrait.


[1]Hirsch, Marianne, Family Frames – Photography, Narrative and Postmemory,
Harvard University Press, 1997:7, in: Belaj, Melanija, “Obiteljska fotografija kao kreiranje i arhiviranje (poželjne) stvarnosti”, Narodna umjetnost: hrvatski časopis za etnologiju i folkloristiku, Vol. 45 No. 2, 2008:136

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