Book presentation: Željko Zorica
This book has its own unexpected and sentimental story that is also his story, which becomes their story, and then, lastly, mine and ours as well.
Željko Zorica Šiš and André von Ah met somewhere around the year 2007. Željko Zorica was an artist and a friend I had known since 1997 and with whom I collaborated many times over the years.
André von Ah was an art historian and my life partner for many years and later my husband. This is actually a book that the two of them thought out and planned into being. That’s what I was thinking of when I said that this book has its own story, the idea of it has existed for several years, but the circumstances around its fruition are Magrittesquely bizarre.
You see, Željko Zorica Šiš died on September 5, 2013, at the age of XX, and six days later, André von Ah followed, quite unexpectedly and suddenly, on September 11, 2013, at the age of 27. They left behind all kinds of things, including the draft for this book. There was plenty of will, but the energy was sometimes lacking. Or is it just the sort of excuse that is uncomfortable to question, and therefore one never questions it loudly, but intimately?
No one would have batted an eye, considering the circumstances, if this book had never got published. No one, that is, but us – Ana Zorica and me. This is a book about Željko Zorica’s work, about the artist we have known, loved and joyfully welcomed – always. Incidentally, to me it’s also a book about the creativity and youthful energy of André, a young Brazilian art historian who came to Croatia and loved being here, working, acting and participating in the realities that Šiš amicably involved him in.
Šiš was one of those artists who didn’t let anything slip by, full of references and everyday life which he questioned in the most peculiar ways. Everything had a way of being (artistically) interpreted and possessed the potential for denoting reality, that is, outlining it in his own particular, playful way.
“Playfulness” is a slightly ingenuous word I’m using simply to get it out of me, because the memory of our conversations always makes me think of that word that doesn’t seem to have a wide enough scope. On the other hand, there is no single word that could encompass him – other than, simply, Šiš. What else?
Therefore, this entire book is a comradely attempt to transfer the plentiful experience and versatile dimensions of a creative line, chronologically limited to just three years (2010 – 2013), through the project series KroaTisch Freundschaften.
This series of controlled happenings during that short period took place twice in Zagreb and once in Brest, New York and Ljubljana, its title constantly being associated with the idea of bilateral friendship between countries and all that’s “cooking” behind those scenes. That’s where the Tisch (table) in KroaTisch comes from, as well as the food as the uniting medium in all the manifestations of these controlled happenings.
It is precisely this premise of Šiš’s that opened a great number of possibilities for artistic, activist and civic playfulness. I have laid out a brief chronological overview of the works to obtain sequence and a somewhat decent representation of the contents that this book is dedicated to.
Zvonimir Dobrović, editor