Tri knjige nastale u povodu obnove i povratka riječkog orla na kupolu. Dvoglavi je orao simbol na grbu Grada Rijeke.

Enver Krivac (HR) – Indeficienver: Flight over the Eagle’s Nest

A comic-strip eagle that we can share a laugh with.

Can Rijeka’s eagle fly? An unusual question, it could be said, if we know that it is about the sculpture architecturally anchored to the dome of the city’s clock tower, and what’s more, that it is a representation of a bird with semi-folded wings. None of these facts suggests that we’ll witness this creature fly any time soon.

And yet, a bird is a bird and wings are wings. They are also a sort of metaphor reminding us that the story of Rijeka’s eagle should not end with the reconstruction of its earthly ties and bounds, in the sense of the narratives about the symbol of ruling powers. In comics, Enver Krivac is an indecent author with a decent experience. In Rijeka’s case, this could stand for an ideal name for a different view on the sculptured figure of the eagle from the ones seen so far.

His book features some forty passages clearly aimed at demystifying the traditional story of Rijeka’s eagle in genre way. Krivac’s interpretation is not a negating one, it develops from the respect of its theme; on the contrary, it sympathises with it, whereby entering waters of an approach known in the arts as camp. His work pursues a thriving line of comic authors from this area whose poetics, script-wise, are distinguished by their reductions to a short leash and funny verbal witticisms. Krivac frames the story within three perpendicular shots, each dominated by two eagle’s heads in a dialogue. The conversational placement becomes an ideal moment for a twisted humorous commentary of the world down below and around, including a Monty-Python-esque walk along the edge, occasionally coloured with local hues.

The passages are smooth and make it easy for the reader to identify they are based on everyday life, not denied even by the fact that it is really about life on a high level, on the top of the city’s clock tower, in the company of pigeons, seagulls and other feathered inhabitants. We see this as a personifying move on the author’s part. The two heads seem to belong to some local street guys who have found themselves in a position in which they’re above the rest by chance where – clever as they are – they retain a healthy nerve of the street whose humour spares nobody, not even themselves.


Damir Tulić (HR): Rijeka’s eagle in the historic-artistic context

The study from which we begin a future story about Rijeka’s eagle.

The book by art historian Damir Tulić, Rijeka’s eagle in the historical and artistic context, comes to the reader’s hands as part of a publishing triad prepared for the erection of the eagle sculpture on the dome of the city’s clock tower.

What the eagle of Rijeka is, when and on what occasion it emerged as a kind of artistic-political crown of the clock tower, who ordered it at that city landmark, from where and how far does its dynamism of symbolism go, who did their best to set it up and how, and who invested so much energy in its partial decapitation and then in its complete physical destruction, probably bearing in mind its erasure from the collective memory? And why? These are all questions that a curious reader can resolve by reading the pages of Tulić’s text.

The text is comprehensive, expertly based on a number of original and historical sources, and written without being subjected to the hermetic sides of professional, scientific language. It is a text that reconstructs the informative coordinates of the historical story of the eagle sculpture in a highly professional way. Consequently, the book can be read as a historical-artistic study devoted to a theme from the city’s artistic, urban and political past and, incidentally, as an episode from city life, the intrigue of which is similar to a political-criminal read. Every future view of the inhabitants of Rijeka and their guests towards the (non)flying two-headed creature at the top of the city tower should start from Tulić’s book.


Damir Steinfl (HR): The legend of the two-headed eagle

Ludic sweets from a psychedelic nest.

Everything that he found stored in the database as its standard content, starting from the historic factography about the time and motives for the sculpture, over its stylistic features and changes of the form found in the history of art, to disputes about its recent social context thanks to which the sculpture is regaining its place at its former location, served as a mere trigger to Damir Steinfl for his own story, a story not obligated to meet the standard definitions in any way.

Its storyline – or the story vortex, which would be more precise, branches into several ‘poems’ as the author calls them, tracking a surreal whirlpool fuelled by an associative blending of one fragment of the story into another. For a good purpose, as they hold the composition of the theme together, building it up as a sequence of events stretched from the moment of birth of Rijeka’s eagle to it playing an important role in urban life. The episodes of the sequences are ruled by mermaids, dragons, Puss in boots, incredible fish, tower-heads with huge earlobes and tongues sticking out and similar picturesque huddles we know from the history of classical and pop culture. The licentious imagination of the author serves to add wonders to the theme we’re used to reading only through classical glasses, i.e. those with limitations, overseeing the suppressed potential of the non-classical nature within.

Additional veritable ludic little sweets burst out from Steifl’s pages in all directions, contributing to the excellent platform of the idea. Letting go of their illogical logics, the reader stands the chance of enjoying the figure of the eagle, disregarding the limits of the comic’s graphics and appearing, together with the other protagonists of the story, through two or more scenes. The same goes for their verbal utterances aspiring to be formatted as the facets of so-called high literature, leading the story through archaic, fairy tale tones in a tender way.