Digital images and a sound composition flow, like the waves of the sea, over the voices of sellers and buyers.

The impressive fish market building in the very centre of Rijeka was built in 1916 according to the design of Carlo Pergoli, whilst the sculptural elements were shaped by Urbano Bottasso in a style similar to Vienna Secession. The building, along with the two neighbouring pavilions in the marketplace, is a symbol of the city. But above all, this is a place of everyday life where personal stories and the character of the local community which has been connected to the sea for centuries entwine.

Pavel Mrkus directs his interest beneath the high ceiling vault of Rijeka’s fish market, on the internal balconies of the building, where he places his installation. It consists of projected digital images and a sound composition in order to form a story which, like the waves of the nearby sea, flows above the heads of the sellers and buyers. Their voices, the shouts of special deals and discussions about the best choices and the greetings of neighbours and stories rise up and blend naturally with the artist’s audiovisual composition. With his visual gesture, the artist enriches the current look of the place and enhances the fresh catches of fish and other marine inhabitants, as well as the buying of those who look upwards.

The video was filmed in 2019 on fishing trawler DIMI in the Kvarnerić waters. “Masters” is a story told in pictures and sounds, a story that gives us a precious glimpse into the experience, skills and everyday life of the masters of the sea – the local fishermen. It pays homage to the people we never see, thanks to whom we always have the fish on our tables.

The artist’s intervention in Rijeka’s everyday life where the locals, along with the sale of fish and buying of ingredients for lunch or dinner, meet and interact with each other, offers an experience which enables the observation of this place from a different, enriched perspective. It could be that just such an experience is able to strengthen the responsibility towards public space as a place of coexistence and a communal cultural identity.

Photo: Hrvoje Franjić