Marija Braut: My Zagreb
Zagreb City Museum, guest appearance at the Pik Gallery, Rab
Exhibition concept: Iva Prosoli
Exhibition design: Iva Prosoli
Digital print: Art Jus, Zagreb
Photography equipping: Studio B-Nula, Zagreb
“Zagreb is my city. I came to know it thoroughly through picture-taking. There are certain routes that I usually take, but I also explore the new parts of the city when commissioned to photograph them. I have once captured all the parks of Zagreb on film. Thereby, I have discovered some of the city’s hidden parts that would have otherwise remained unrevealed. I simply cannot refrain from taking snaps of Zagreb, after all I am in the city every day. I see something new every day.”
“The guardian spirit of Zagreb”, “the First Lady of Croatian photography” are two of the titles associated with Marija Braut. Not unjustifiably, art historian Ive Šimat Banov named her ‘Mare the vagrant’ (Mare lutalicain Croatian). And it is thus – by roaming the city streets – that Marija Braut has been indefatigably exploring the city of Zagreb for the past forty years.
The photos included in this exhibition have been selected from the vast collection donated to the Zagreb City Museum by Marija Braut. The period of their origin spans twenty years. Looking at them today, from a temporal distance, they can be considered documents of time, the story of a city narrated by its streets, squares, promenades, facades, parks and people. They will raise many a smile, perhaps even feelings of nostalgia, when beholders will recognize the views, nowadays fairly transformed, the signs of no longer operating businesses, old car models or a lady dressed in the latest vogue. Marija Braut has also recorded the spread of the city onto the right bank of the Sava River, the birth of Novi Zagreb (New Zagreb). The photos of the “old” Zagreb’s Gornji and Donji grad (Upper and Lower Town), which radiate a Central European atmosphere, are represented alongside the wide spaces, the yet uncompleted areas of the new city and contemporary architecture functioning as clear signs of new optimism.
When asked about the changes brought about by time, Marija Braut replies: “The cityscape has been much changed by new buildings, but the spirit has remained. Its spirit lingers still in the old parts that have been left intact. In the winding streets of Gornji grad, in the the zigzag rhythm of the Ilica Street.”
May the exhibition bring some of this spirit also to you!
Marija Braut (Celje, 1929 – Zagreb, 2015) moved to Zagreb in 1941, where she studied architecture. She became involved in photography in the studio of Tošo Dabac in late 1960s. She held her first exhibition in 1969 together with Petar Dabac. She worked for the Zagreb Municipal Galleries, currently Museum of Contemporary Art, contributing catalogue photos and portraits of artists. She has been a freelance artist since 1972. She has collaborated with the Croatian National Theatre, Zagreb Youth Theatre, Gavella Drama Theatre, Kerempuh Satirical Theatre and Dubrovnik Summer Festival. Braut has held numerous solo exhibitions and participated in countless group exhibitions, altogether comprising over 100 shows. She regularly publishes her photos in daily newspapers and specialised publications. Marija Braut’s photographs are housed by the Zagreb City Museum, Museum of Arts and Crafts Zagreb, Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, Croatian State Archives, Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Croatia.
The Octogon Gates at the Flower Market, Zagreb, c. 1980, MGZ 56675
Bird-seller in Gornji grad, Zagreb, c. 1985, MGZ 56688
On the stairs leading towards Dolac Market, Zagreb, c. 1980, MGZ 56689
Splendid, Zagreb, c. 1980, MGZ 56708
On the Strossmayer Promenade bench, Zagreb, c. 1980, MGZ 56693
Fishing in the Sava River, Zagreb, c. 1975, MGZ 56679
On the banks of the Sava River, Zagreb, c. 1975, MGZ 56692