Location: Museum of Fine Arts Split (Ulica kralja Tomislava 15, 21000 Split)

DENIS BUTORAC - At Night It's Colder than Outside

Curated by: Ana Čukušić

Duration: December 22, 2022 - January 29, 2023


If we avail ourselves of Susan Sontag’s definitions, photography, compared to other artistic media, has the most stable connection to the past. It is always one step behind. A photographic image may not represent objective evidence, but it is a record of a past scene, which makes the photographer a contemporary, through whose eyes and camera the present becomes the past. Photography also proved to be suitable for recording injuries. It developed an affinity for the rejected, the insignificant and the uninteresting. It revealed beauty in the dilapidated remains and ruins of reality. The link between photography and death accompanies not only photos of people but also their objects. Denis Butorac’s photographic approach, however, does not imply documentary conservation of the past or the authoritativeness of the artistic concept, his photographs in fact point to the futility of understanding the world (uniformly). Something else has prevailed – the proposal to collect it.


Denis Butorac’s previous photographic series conveyed the complex nature of identity maturation conditioned by the geopolitical and cultural milieu. By entwining the documentary and the conceptual approach in the semantically layered photographic series, the artist examines a wide range of themes: from the search for identity that arises from spatial, social and personal memory, familial and traditional narratives, through the question of the functioning of society, its influence on the individual and the problems of formation of various gender and other stereotypes.


The subjects of photographs from the recent series titled At Night It’s Colder than Outside are melancholy objects – objects with a patina, rotten or cracked things, memories, still warm from human touch – which expose the depreciation of their value. Articles of consumption become metaphors of lived moments, traumas and important life events, which the artist breaks into unusual fragments. By using code, he redirects attention from the object to the photographic approach, whereby the establishment of a specific ambience and atmosphere becomes the final goal, while he keeps the driving narrative to himself. Since the objects’ connection to reality grows weaker with the passage of time, their values and meanings likewise fade, and from the very beginning the artist does not burden them with a definitive conceptual framework, on the contrary, he opens them up to any and all types of interpretation. The content of the photographs thus becomes an affirmation of the object’s presence and the properties that make it unique to the artist, to the detriment of their oblivion.


More information is available at https://www.galum.hr/en/exhibitions/exibition/1761/.