A temporary hay sculpture near Korzo as a symbolic start of the harvest in the year of the European Capital of Culture.

Ivan Kozarić’s installation of a haystack from 1996, after Dubrovnik and Zagreb, finds its place in Rijeka at the very beginning of 2020, as a symbolic start to the harvest of artistic creation in a year rich in cultural events.

Displaced from its natural environment, the area of the suburban surroundings of Rijeka, and the time in which it is otherwise gathered, the hay compiled around the post in its centre appears as an astonishing totem in the public space of the square of 128th Brigade of the Croatian Army, as a hint of rurality alongside the main symbol of urbanity – Rijeka’s Korzo. In the break between Advent and Carnival, Kozarić creates a temporary sculpture out of unconventional material, an artistic situation that always transforms the norm into something valuable with an alchemic principle. In contrast to the motionless, hard materials of the surrounding area, Kozarić introduces the texture and therefore the smell of hay in the middle of winter, its permeability and transience, confirming his unmistakable sense of space and the play of city points and symbols.

Placed in the centre of a square which bears a symbolic name, the haystack is devoid of its useful purpose and becomes the city’s “acupuncture point”, a place where the cyclical restoration of nature, including life, is implied. The minimalism and conciseness of expression paired with modest material and a simple form is Kozarić’s longstanding recipe for transmitting a maximum visual and multi-layered artistic message. Since the reactions of passers-by form an integral part of Kozarić’s work, it remains to be seen how the people of Rijeka accept this unusual guest.