From My Diary

photographer Ana Opalić
written by Irena Bekić

PDF Download: Click here.

The exhibition of photographs by Ana Opalić, "Fictitious Travelogue," was held in Gallery "Prozori" in Zagreb from 17th June to 4th July 2011. The text "From Travelogue" was set as integral part of the exhibition.



I am standing on the highest point: in front of me infinity appears, stretching from near to far. The road is as long as a river. I see them coming.


I do not know why I decided to stay. In fact, the question is why I set out in the first place. For years, I have been making up itineraries obsessively, I imagine destinations. I am dedicated to this infantile hobby to the extent that now I can already confuse realities easily and sometimes without control. When I bow my head, I can see my shoes on the streets of imagined cities, I take in the contours of my shadow on the walls. Façades, courtyards, entrances, staircases, everywhere there are pieces of me...


I see other cities in the reflection of shop windows. I can feel warmth on my bare shoulders, I do not mind it. I will buy a bottle of water, lemonade, or some other drink from a merchant who smiles at me, talking in an incomprehensible language while he offers me an opaque glass with the drink. (You are as murky as a murky glass, says my friend who left Osijek long ago, but I forever relate this simile to Slavonia, confidently believing that it belongs there as if I had read it in some ethnographic book.) Sometimes I wear a scarf around my neck. My hair, swept by the wind, covers my face. I move it away with frozen hands. My nose is cold, but I still enjoy this wind, not knowing its name or from where it blows. I am so absorbed that I know the taste of the coffee I had on an unknown square, I smell scents, I hear the voices of passers-by. Their energy regenerates me. I can see myself. Us. I can always see myself. I can clearly feel the atmosphere of the shaded rooms in which we sleep. Old-fashioned beds, lace on the pillow-cases. Entirely foreign and seductive details: a mosaic with a floral pattern, perhaps dilapidated pargeting... I know how it is to wake up in such rooms. When I open my eyes, it takes some time for thoughts to match the place, names to match things. To find out what is left and what is right. I send instructions to my right hand to move. A slight twitch, almost imagined. This is how I get by. I manage space with primitive methods. There is something exciting in recognizing unknown places. I remember the room in Vác. It is dark, cramped with furniture. Between the two beds there is a window, a small hole with bars. The view from it is of nothing. Mother sits on the edge of the bed and wishes us good night. I am eight years old. I am awfully excited because we are sleeping in this room without significance, somewhere halfway to our destination. Of the entire journey, I remember only this.


In fact, now I know why I stayed. I wanted to stay long enough until things and places become unknown to me, until assumptions lost their validity. To feel the uncertainty and fascination of an eight-year-old – this is what I wanted. To discern details and start to put them in order again, to start to know them all over again, to see them better. To merge...