Opening, May 24, 2018, at 7pm


The 34th YOUTH SALON – PANOPTICON, developed around the concept by Mirna Rul, will open on Thursday, May 24, 2018, at 7.00 PM in the Home of Croatian Fine Artists on Trg žrtava fašizma 16. The exhibition will remain open until June 26, 2018.

The Youth Salon is traditionally held every two years, and this is its 34th edition. On the occasion of HDLU` s  150th anniversary, as well as the 50th anniversary of the Youth Salon, this year’s Salon will, among other things, mark the continuity of their existence.

A building circular… The prisoners in their cells, occupying the circumference—The officers in the centre. By blinds and other contrivances, the Inspectors concealed… from the observation of the prisoners: hence the sentiment of a sort of omnipresence—The whole circuit reviewable with little, or… without any, change of place. One station in the inspection part affording the most perfect view of every cell.
Proposal for a New and Less Expensive mode of Employing and Reforming Convicts

Jeremy Bentham

Back in 1979, artists gathered around Radna zajednica umjetnika Podroom presented a Contract on the Conditions of Public Presentation of Artworks, which required a better position of artists in relation to institutions, pointed to the need for financial appreciation of artistic work, and warned of the problem of aesthetic and artistic values pre-defined by institutions.

More than ever, artists have been relying on institutional funding (scholarships, royalties, state / city incentives …); artworks are, as a rule, produced for institutions, adapted to them, and shaped accordingly aswell as depended on them. Art is contextualized and politicized practice, while the field of art is the space for eternal negotiation and conflict between various actors (Bourdieu) [2] – artists, schools / academies, galleries, museums, markets, professionals, etc. and only the one who has “habitus “, Ie,”plays” by the rules of the game which, again, create institutions themselves. Beti Žerovc [3] draws a parallel between the exhibition of contemporary art and religious ritual, where the curator, representing “supreme priest”, creates an ideological foundation for promoting the interests of financial and cultural centers of power, which, on the other hand, allow a privileged position within the institutions. Networking and connectivity (both of curator and that of the artist) with relevant actors from the cultural and political milieu represent conditio sine qua non of success, good positioning, survival on the cultural-artistic scene, and stable material status. However, these positions of power differ considerably if we observe the world or the Croatian context. In the world context, there are different platforms –,, Artist Pension Trust etc; artists are exposed to panoptique view and analysis, and are valorized based on algorithmic calculations and risk management in accordance with the interests of neoliberal power centers. The evaluation and performance prognosis are based on the number of exhibits and the relevance of exhibition spaces they exhibit in, number of sales, popularity among members and media presence. Higher ranking also provides easier access to institutions, finances, and relevant world art events. But when it comes to Croatian artists, few of them are present on these platforms; most of them create within their micro community, with minimal production resources and almost voluntary engagement. The more insecure position makes them dependent on different national power centers. Local institutions are their panoptic. Being exposed to “supervision and punishment” [4], which often manifests itself simply as lack of interest or lack of “awards”, testifies to the systematic tendencies of precarization of their position in Croatian society.


The works exhibited within this year’s Youth Salon refer to the concept of panopticon in its various metaphorical meanings, and depending on the treatment of the very concept, we can split them into several groups. In the first group there are artists who recognize panopticon in the society of control and their works are critically related to the supervisor, but also the punishment (also the one that manifests itself as a lack of awards), whether it is Croatian cultural and artistic institutions (Barišić, Tomasović, Popijač, Lovrec), media (Sladetić) or surveillance through surveillance cameras (Miloš). The escape from this kind of control society allows Drinković‘s Identity Eraser, while Hršak, on the other hand, is a little nervous about leaving the safe shelter of the Academy of Fine Arts. Bachler, Ivković and Vernić question the relationship between the institution, the artist and the recipient – Bachler exposes the work that is not a priori art work, expecting the institution to declare it, Ivković challenges any attempt to interpret the work by both the institution and the observer, while Vernić ironically relations towards the “elitization of art”. The sharp criticism of the political power centers whose misperception and negligence have led to the destruction of the industry, but also the regios as a whole, we read in the works of Vuković and Matoković, and the illegal activities of local powers, with the aim of obtaining financial gain, in Stojićević‘s work Negligence of city authorities in abandoned areas is criticized by Pilj, the extensive construction of Zagreb fountains is discussed by Vanda Kreutz, and the relations between periphery and center by Giba and RogićKovačić and Koruga both refer to Virgina Woolf in their works, apostrophizing the question of the female artist position in Croatia in relation to their male counterparts, in terms of even more pronounced precarization of their position. The need for “adjusting” to diverse positions of power is awakened in Novak´s work, who tries to “balance between the multiple roles” that the artist has to play in order to survive in the art world. Also, Leko  “stopped worrying and learned how to love the system,” Pongrac sees the possibility of growth in tight, nearly prison terms, and Stojanović learns how to adjust to circumstances by watching the world around her. More or less subtle subversion of this kind of reality is read in the works of Meić, Jakuš and Marić, and the anxiety about the reality we can not escape, just like Bentham’s panopticon, overwhelmes us from the first look at the works of Matić and Ančić. Existential anxiety and dehumanization is also present in the work of Ivana Tkalčić, whose hyperreal world is an utopia for digital information but also a prison for man.

Tudek and Mihaljević approached the story almost crazy and somewhat ironicallay, by approaching the panopticon on the form level rather than the content, referring precisely to the circle as a building element of its architecture.

Meštrović’s Pavilion itself, with its circular form will, during the course of Salon, invoke Bentham’s panopticon, whereby young artists and their works will be exposed to a panoptitic “inexorable view of the future” [5] of the Croatian art.

Mirna Rul, curator of the 34th Youth Salon

In keeping with the concept Panopticon and the propositions of the open call, the jury of experts including Mirna Rul, Curator of the 34th Youth Salon; Ida Blažičko, Artist and Representative of the Organizing Committee of the 34th Youth Salon; Tihana Puc, art historian, Vladimir Tatomir, independent curator and Igor Ruf, artist, have selected 24 artists:

Maja Bachler, Maša Barišić, Vitar Drinković, Tomislav Hršak, Tea Ivković, Valerija Jakuš,  Marija Koruga, Anja Leko, Kristina Marić, Marija Matić, Vida Meić, Niko Mihaljević, Anita Miloš, Vladimir Novak, Filip Pilj, Kristina Pongrac, Ana Sladetić, Josipa Stojanović, Lana Stojićević, Ivana Tkalčić, Vice Tomasović, Ivan Tudek, Vendi Vernić, Nebojša Vuković,

while the following artists were invited by the curator of 34th Youth Salon:

Marija Ančić, Ana Kovačić, Vanda Kreutz, Jelena Lovrec and Mario Matoković.

Authors invited to participate in Art Lab are: Mihael Giba and Frane Rogić, and Petar Popijač and Maja Flajsig.


[1] Archives of conceptual and neo-avant-garde art practices, Podroom,

[2] Pierre Bourdieu, The Rules of Art, Stanford University Press, 1995

[3] Beti Žerovc, When Attitudes Become the Norm, Društvo Igor Zabel za kulturo in teorijo (Ljubljana) & Archive Books (Berlin), 2015.

[4] Michel Foucault

[5] Željko Kipke, „Neumoljiv pogled u budućnost“, exhibition in SC Gallery, 2014.


Side program of the 34th Youth Salon coming soon!

20 kn citizens
10 kn students and retirees
10 kn groups (over 5 persons, fare per person)
10 kn for regular members of: ULUPUH, HDD, UHA, ORIS, HULU Split, HDLU Osijek, HDLU Rijeka, HDLU Dubrovnik, HDLU Istra, HDLU Varaždin, upon presentation of valid documents.
Free for regular members of Croatian Association of Artists, AICA, ICOM, Croatian Society of Art Historians and Croatian Journalists’ Association, as well as the students of the Academy of Fine Arts and Art History at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, upon presentation of valid documents.
Tickets are sold at the Croatian Association of Artists box office, during the opening hours of the exhibition.
For further inquiries regarding the tickets, please contact
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