Hills around Nova Gorica, Gorizia and further up the Soca river would be just another set of rolling green hills if it wasn't for the First World War. Kilometres upon kilometres of tranches carved deep in the limestone ground, galleries, casemates and tons of shell fragments still lying around have changed this land forever. As did tens of thousands of lives lost here.
Branko Drekonja, painter and sculptor has two passions. Exploring the battlefields and creating sculptures made of battlefield debris. Christ and cross are among the main motifs. Not just because local priests would commission most of his works but also because hardly anything else could symbolise an incredible scale of suffering and death witnessed by the nearby slopes.
Simplicity is another characteristic of his work. Elaborate body is sometimes replaced by a single twisted wedge. By adding just one more element randomly deformed shell becomes a work of art, serving as a chandelier. Pile of unexploded grenades is transformed into the chapel or cathedral.
There is one work, thou, that differs. "The Cube" an installation staged in the hall of PDG (Primorska Drama Theatre) in Nova Gorica is a reconstruction of a cubic metre of the battlefield ground eighty years later. Surrounded by four military tombstones the perfect geometric form of cube, packed with remains of human bodies and military equipment is overgrown by grass. The nature is hiding the vanity of glory and grim reality of death. Slowly and without the sound of trumpets life is winning over death yet again.
"The Cross 1"
"The Cross 2"
Ars-Cartae.com is thanking Mr. Branko Drekonja for kindly allowing us to display his work.