Treasures in Disguise curated by Dijana Vucinic (DVARP), Bostjan Vuga (SADAR+VUGA), Simon Hartmann (HHF), Ilka and Andreas Ruby (Ruby Press) and Nebojsa Adzic (SACG) opened to a packed audience at the Montenegro Pavilion at the Palazzo Malipiero.
Present in the crowd were Branislav Micunovic, the Montenegrin Minister of Culture, Branimir Gvozdenovic, the Minister of Sustainable Development and Tourism, the commissioners of the pavilion, and members of the press.
Gvozdenovic, the Minister of Sustainable Development and Tourism, kicked off the opening with a speech in Montenegrin. His speech asked Montenegrins and all present to reject a black-and-white interpretation of the past, to avoid pigeon-holing buildings built during the Yugoslavian period as the product of a “wrong time.” For him, Treasures in Disguise shows that Montenegro is ready to reevaluate its ignored architectural legacy and to rehabilitate buildings that are currently unused and decaying. Andreas Ruby, one of the commissioners, concluded the opening by reminding us that architecture has the ability to live through different historical periods and that the Hotel Fjord, Kayak Club Galeb, Spomen Dom, and Dom Revolucije could develop trajectories as rich and sustainable as those of Hagia Sophia or Diocletian’s Palace, which have over time been reappropriated to serve different needs. For this to happen, Montenegrin civil society needs to discover the hidden values of these buildings, which are tainted with the failure of the society that produced them; by highlighting their architecture, Treasures in Disguise hopes to initiate a conversation about their future.