Inside It Will All Be Soft and Tender

Untitled 100x65cm

Untitled, watercolor and pencil on paper, 100x165cm, 2019.

Inside It Will All Be Soft and Tender is a series of watercolor drawings based on the motifs of Yugoslav housing architecture – particularly the blocks of New Belgrade, the neighborhood where I grew up. The title is based on the conversation I had with Milenija Marušić, the architect behind many key examples of Yugoslav housing architecture. Objecting to the commonly used label ‘brutalism’, she said: What is brutal about it? This concrete is just the outer layer. Inside, it was all soft and tender. Something that we speak of as ‘brutal’, stiff, and strict, becomes determined by its soft and tender, almost organic interior. If we can talk about these existing buildings in the past tense, can’t we also talk about them in the future? Inside, it will all be soft and tender. These drawings attempt to salvage the heritage of Yugoslav modernist housing from the two most common ways of representation: as ruins, with a touch of the apocalyptic, or as nostalgic remnants of better times gone by. Instead, they try to reinscribe a softness that Marušić speaks of, as well as a sense of futurism of the impossible, that Yugoslav housing politics embodied.

Untitled (Fan), watercolor and pencil on paper, 88x118cm each, 2020.

Untitled (Blender), watercolor and pencil on paper, 110x155cm, 2020.

Architect of the Classless Society Currently Without Employment Wandering Utopia, watercolor and pencil on paper, 2020.