Exhibition - Andrija Mutnjaković: Visionary Architecture



Exhibition Andrija Mutnjaković: Visionary Architecture will open on Tuesday, 19 December 2017 at 6 pm in Oris House of Architecture. The exhibition encompasses a wide range of professional activities of architect Andrija Mutnjaković – from numerous competition entries, realisations to minutely elaborated theoretical and utopian works. The exhibition will stay on view till 20 January 2018. 
Engaged Architecture is the title of the first and, to this day, the only retrospective exhibition of Andrija Mutnjaković, held in February 1975 at the Gallery of Contemporary Art in Zagreb. In the exhibition and the selection of catalogue’s illustrations, curator Antoaneta Pasinović focused on Mutnjaković’s visionary architecture – different sorts of research in the fields of kinetic architecture and biourbanism. The intention was clear – to emphasize the part of Mutnjaković’s work that he considered the most valuable: Hollywood Villa (Domobil), housing neighbourhoods Urb-mobil in Luxembourg, Petržalka in Bratislava, S(j)enjak in Osijek and New Belgrade, the city centres of South Zagreb and Tel Aviv, Saint Peter’s Church in Split. All these projects were an authentic answer to the 1950s crisis of high modernist architecture and the functional city, devised so as to meet the social and psychological needs of individuals by creating different and experientially rich surroundings.

Believing in his own idiosyncrasy, community’s active participation in shaping the daily habitat, and the possibilities provided by new technologies, Mutnjaković stepped out of the mainstream, the homogeneous body of Zagreb’s school of architecture with its fixed modernist agenda in which one recognises the classical discipline as a permanent marker. Mutnjaković readily accepted the position of enfant terrible, only to witness – in 1985, in the first retrospective of Croatian post-war architecture – his projects becoming representative of utopian and experimental visions of Croatian architecture in the 1960s. Despite this position, Mutnjaković has never been an outsider in Zagreb’s architectural scene because, in his own belief, the profession includes both experiment and reality. In the latter, Mutnjaković has been present throughout the spectrum of different and numerous public and professional initiatives, exhibitions, public lectures, engagements in editorial boards of magazines such as Čovjek i prostor and Arhitektura, and through realisations including stage designs, interiors and buildings, of which the most famous one is unquestionably the National Library in Priština. To the above-listed, one should add extensive research in the fields of history and theory of architecture.

The reason why we have, four decades after Antoaneta Pasinović, reached for the same set of visionary projects of Andrija Mutnjaković, some of which are even presented through materials from the first retrospective, is the wish to—in the present moment, in which architectural profession is questioning its goals and the purpose of its activities—bring these two terms from the periphery of the field of professional engagement to its core, at least for a brief moment. Mutnjaković is here to show us that pragmatism, on one side, and vision, on the other, the same as the position of a publically active individual and a dreamer are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
From the exhibition's introduction, Tamara Bjažić Klarin
Andrija Mutnjaković
Born in Osijek. He lives and works as a freelance architect in Zagreb. A member of the Croatian Academy of Arts and Science. His professional activities cover theoretical research, historical studies and practical work on designing architectural edifices. These architectonic and town-planing projects may be categorized under three areas of interest. Native architecture inludes studies for the regeneration of regional architecture by applying contemporary architectural expression (National University Library of Kosovo, National Library in Teheran, Demascus and Algiers, a grammar school in Zagreb, Duga uvala tourist complex near Pula, etc.); Bioarchitecture concerns the application of biological principles to the concept of architectural functions (projects for new town development in Osijek, Zagreb, Beograd, Bratislava, Tel-Aviv, etc.) and Kinetic achitecture. His theoretical research and historical studies include a large number of essays and books.