Artupunktura 2023, Third Edition of Art Therapy for Zagreb

Paul Bradbury

September 28, 2023 – More artistic magic for the Croatian capital, as the popular Artupunktura returns for its third edition.

Zagreb in September and October…

A few days ago, on the final day of the excellent Zagreb Burger Festival, I was walking home from my last visit to the fun at Dr Franjo Tudjman Park. I was surprised to see that the main street Ilica was closed, but it didn’t take long to realise why.

ANOTHER street festival in Zagreb. Instead of the cars and ubiquitous trams, the city’s longest street gave way to a party atmosphere, with stalls, live music, and people out enjoying the September sunshine.

This is one of the things I most appreciate about living in Zagreb – there always seems to be something going on, and there is often a cultural or artistic surprise hiding in a courtyard or square as you pass. The city seems to be working very hard to enhance its credentials as an art and culture destination, and it is heartening to see so many cultural festivals start and take root in the Zagreb tourism calendar.

Photo by Samir Ceric Kovacevic

Among these is Artupunktura, which kicks off next month for its third edition, the latest new festival to become an annual fixture. At the launch of this year’s edition last week in Lauba, Zagreb Tourist Board CEO Martina Bienenfeld summed it up nicely – after encountering two simultaneous disasters in 2020, one health (COVID) and one natural (the earthquake), Zagreb was a wounded city, a city that needed to heal. And part of that therapy came through art and culture with the Artupunktura concept. An artistic equivalent to the pain relief of acupuncture.

Photo by Bosko i Kreso

As with many festivals introduced to the city in recent years, Artupunktura is rising in stature and visibility, and Arkupunktura 2023 has something for everyone.

Photo by Bosko i Kreso

The project was initially conceived as a platform for culture and art that will unite, actively support and promote culture, artists from various fields and artistic collectives in order to achieve international recognition through synergy. The goal is to grow into a comprehensive social process where art provides new perspectives through its presence in public space and community life, city life and all aspects of its ecosystem. The third edition of Artupunktura starts on October 12, and as many as 30 art projects will be presented at numerous locations in Zagreb.

Photo by Bosko i Kreso

At the press conference, Ms Bienenfeld said: “The Zagreb Tourist Board initiated and launched Artupunktura in 2021, as an artistic platform that brings together the independent cultural scene, and at the same time heals Zagreb from the consequences of the earthquake and pandemic. It has grown into a comprehensive social process which, in just three years of its existence, with 8 art projects, has grown to as many as 30.

Photo by Samir Ceric Kovacevic

This year, Artupunktura 2023 is opening with the decoration and revitalisation of the Neboder passage (Prolaz Neboder), in the very centre of Zagreb. – a symbolic renaming in Tomislav Gotovac Passage. Namely, Gotovac, as a pioneer of world performance, performed a series of actions, among others, the famous performance Zagreb, I love you! Therefore, this gesture would actualize the importance of the activity of art in public space, community and society, which is one of the significant identities of the city’s contemporary art Zagreb.

Photo by Samir Ceric Kovacevic

Also, one of our most famous contemporary artists of world fame – Ivana Franke, who exhibited at the Biennale of Architecture in Venice, MOMA in New York, Venice (Peggy Guggenheim Collection), Berlin (Deutsche Guggenheim), Paris and New Delhi, will also present her work for the first time. In its third edition, Artupunktura is more mature, more complex and focused on new visions and artistic mapping of the city of Zagreb, for which I thank all of this year’s partners. In order to continue to maintain the high quality of artistic expression, starting this year, Artupunktura will be held biennially, following the example of other major world events in the field of art and culture.”

Photo by Samir Ceric Kovacevic

The Deputy Mayor of the City of Zagreb, Mr. Luka Korlaet, stated: “The Artupunktura project represents the democratisation of art, its popularisation in the best sense of the word, but also de-elitisation. In this sense, it is in agreement with the Cultural Strategy of the City of Zagreb, especially in the part called ‘Culture and art in the community’.

Artupunktura does this in the best possible way by bringing culture into interaction with the community, and this year’s Artupunktura is the most extensive and ambitious so far. The famous American art historian Rosalind Krauss said that art became modern the moment it got off the pedestal, and this project is another step further. It is indeed an art that penetrates into every pore of society, that initiates interaction, that confronts us with various topics and is therefore socially important. The project will therefore continue to have the support of the City of Zagreb.”

Photo by Samir Ceric Kovacevic

Some of the projects are one- or two-day, while some projects will be current for a longer period of time, including the month of November. One such project is Ivana Franka’s art installation Resonance of the Unforeseen, which was included in the annual list of the best works of art in the public space of the world’s leading art platform Artsy in 2020, when it was originally presented at the Yokohama Triennale.

Franke set up an art installation on the facade of the Museum of Art in Yokohama, and this year, as part of Artupunktura, Zagreb also gets an exclusive version of that world-famous work that questions the limits of spatial and visual perception. From October 12 to November 12, 2023, Resonance of the Unforeseen, set around the music pavilion in Zrinjevac, will be a unique experience of contemporary art in a public space.
All details, dates and times of individual Artupunktura projects are available on the website, as well as in the Zagreb Visitor Centres.


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