Zdravko Mustać
Product of Body 1994
MG-6915

Zdravko Mustać was born in Zadar in 1961, but, by his own admission, he acquired his artistic and film identity in Split, attending the Split Cine Club’s Film School. Despite having worked in the medium of video art in the 1990s, he always emphasised that he is a filmmaker: “I’ve been using video since the 1990s, but only as a substitute for film, for reasons of practicality and availability. The works that I made on video were conceived and structured in a cinematic way.” This is exactly how the video “Product of Body” (1994) was made. On four different coloured backgrounds (yellow, blue, red, green), he filmed himself in close-up enunciating the names of cities and towns in the US, Germany, Japan and Italy. The artist’s head is shown from all sides, not continuously, but partially, in four different frames, which can be analogous with the four corners of the world. Each position of the head is highlighted with different colour and each position corresponds to one country: on a yellow background the artist enunciates the names of the cities in the US, while the names of German cities belong to blue, Japanese cities to red, and Italian cities to green colour. The video as a whole – with the help of an emphatic editing cuts and captions – is divided into 9 parts, each of which is dedicated to one ‘product’: sweat, tears, saliva, spittle, blood, bile, urine, sperm and excrement. The viewer can notice that apart from the connection at the level of film language – the relationship between the frame, colour, position of the head, sections devoted to bodily secretions, etc. – there must also be some connection between the names of cities and the human body. However, contrary to the formal organisation, the content of Mustać’s video is enigmatic. Is the subject matter of “Product of Body” perhaps World War II and the destruction of Zadar? Or the elementality and universality of life juxtaposed against geographical divisions and historical events? Unequivocal interpretation, of course, does not exist, but in the search for possible meaning, both the viewer and the artist find a certain aesthetic pleasure.

Tekst: Klaudio Štefančić, Senior curator of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2023
Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2023

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