Slaven Tolj “Untitled (In expectation of Willi Brandt)”

Summer Garden Ćulhan (Sarajevo)
September 05, 1997


Slaven Tolj, a guest of Meeting Point, comes from Dubrovnik in neighboring Croatia. Two important life moments attach him to Sarajevo.

He finished the Fine Arts Academy in Sarajevo a few years before the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia and the war in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Returning to Dubrovnik, during the war years he experienced a similar fate as those citizens of Sarajevo– siege and devastation of the city.

The passage through Mostar on his first trip to Sarajevo after the war was a special experience which additionally determines and explains the performance that he presented in the cafe bar of the Ćulhan. Sitting at a cafe table, Tolj pours a drink into a glass from two bottles. This mixture whose components consist of brandy typically offered in two areas, Dalmatia (herbal) and Bosnia (plum), he swallows in one gulp. In this simple gesture, at the same time ritual and symbolic, Tolj sums up the tragedy of division and the crimes committed in its name, as well as a personal attitude about  all that happened. The action of the performance and its subtitle, In Expectation of Willi Brandt, gives this work a conspicuously political meaning.