projects > Museum Incognita - Belgrade

Fayen d’Evie and Katie West

Meditations on listening, carrying story, custodial care, botanicals, and neglected histories, through embodied encounters with artworks in three landscapes: the Museum of Contemporary Art sculpture garden (under reconstruction); a private garden of sculptures by Olga Jancic; and a brutalist monument designed by Vojin Stojic; with architect Gradimir Medakovic, at the summit of Kosmaj mountain.

When the other meets the other, curated by Biljana Ciric
27 May - 4 Jun 2017
Cultural Centre of Belgrade, Serbia

Images: Boris Buric

Kastaljan Monastery

The bus was that bit too large for the narrow country roads, which made turning around to find another way quite difficult. Dajan our guide was sure the monastery ruin was nearby. We assumed that he had visited this place before, but it seems this was not the case. After stopping a few times to ask locals for directions, the bus began to climb a stony path up a steep hill. We wondered if the old bus would make it. We decide to stop half way up the hill, and let everyone walk the rest of the way. We are still slightly sceptical about the existence of these ruins. We’re soon distracted from this doubt, as we take in the view of healthy green fields that go on miles from this vantage point. We keep on walking, and as we do, wildflowers and tall trees begin to line our path. I recognise species that also grow in Australia. In small groups we stop to pick bright red sour cherries, negotiating how to get past stinging nettles to reach them. The path keeps on going and soon we find the monastery, as Dajan promised. We first notice the church and see that this is still a place of worship. Even though the roof is gone, and what is left of the walls is over grown, offerings of flowers and alcohol sit amongst the stones and foliage. Next to the church and sitting a little lower down the hill is what must have been the dining hall. The walls of this building are mostly intact. Windows frame the forest outside as they did for the monks who lived there. We find another room where gothic style windows are still in place. At this sight, people simply stand back for a moment, arms crossed with a satisfied smile of awe. Others take their bodies closer, to take in with their fingers the texture and angled cuts in the stone. There seems to be quite a congregation in this room now. Someone arrives with wild strawberries to show everyone. The smell is so strong and sweet. As I go to leave this room I notice on the wall the imprint of seashells. From the medieval age we are transported back to an Earth that is mostly ocean. The monastery is built from the remains of an ancient seabed.

We did not record a collective description at this site.