Art as a means to influence society

Toni Meštrović and Nadija Mustapić are Croatian audiovisual artists whose works have been exhibited in Turku and the Saari Residence during October 2015.

The video and sound installations by Nadija Mustapić (Rijeka, 1976) and Toni Meštrović (Split, 1973), an artist couple from Croatia, deal with social phenomena. They believe in art as a means to promote social progress, life and ideas. Their works combine a documentary approach with a poetic quality and experiences of space. In addition to working as artists, they teach at the University of Split and the University of Rijeka.

Their video and sound installation Waiting Room for People, Machines and the City (2015) was exhibited in Turku on the Foundation Day, which was celebrated on 1 October. It was included as a special performance in the programme of the New Performance Turku Festival. The work was originally made for the waiting room of the Rijeka railway station in Croatia, and it features images of the railway station area projected onto the ceiling. It depicts the difficult changes of major proportions that the railway and shipbuilding industries have undergone in Rijeka over the past two decades.

On 8 October 2015, the Titanik Gallery in Turku exhibited works by Meštrović and Mustapić under the title Videowall: Lanterna, A Blue Note and O-tok (Macaknara) by Meštrović, and An Afternoon Without Gravity and The Additional Act by Mustapić. The works were projected onto the windows of the gallery, and the artists were present to discuss their work.

On 14 October, the Saari Residence held an exhibition called Connecting Islands. Works by the Croatian artist couple were exhibited in four locations:

Meštrović: Vertigo (main hall of the manor) Meštrović: Continuum Continuus (garden cellar) Mustapić: I Don’t Know About The Rest of The World, But Here… (laundry room) Mustapić and Meštrović: A Waiting Room for People, Machines and the City – documentation (machinery hall)

Nadija Mustapić described Conneting Islands event the next day:

“Last night’s event Connecting Islands in which we presented our works on the Saari premises and installed video/audio installations in the empty buildings was a real ‘connecting’ experience for us. It was so rewarding to have had such an amazing turnout. We did not expect so many local people to drive out in the evening to come for an art event, but over thirty of them did, which indicates to the overall positive impact the work done at Saari has on the local communities.

We are thankful for the opportunity to meet those audiences and exchange thoughts on the works presented, but also on how the art works resonated with the interiors of the Saari buildings and with the local contexts. Our intention was to open spaces for ‘connections’ between the contents in the works themselves and the sites where works were installed and in return we received feedback from the visitors that taught us more about the local sites and contexts.

We will keep thinking about these points of connection that our Saari experience offered us during our unforgettable two-month residency.”

Toni Meštrović online Nadija Mustapić online