I came across the Parallel Traces project through their exhibition “A New Lens on Jewish Heritage” in Belgrade (06.02.-20.02.2020). I noticed the small poster on the door of “Kuća legata” (Heritage House) on bustling Knez Mihajlova Street. It was before the working hours and, despite the busy schedule, I decided I must come back later. I am very glad I made that decision.
“I would like it if the need for the monuments as I make them would end; I wish for my students to lose my subject matter; I would like it if they, the masters to be, would raise monuments to life and not death.“, … „A man does not die when he passes away, but when he is forgotten”
Nandor Glid, Menorah in flames,1988-1990, Belgrade, Dorćol,
(Nandor Glid’s name and monument title do not feature on the new sculpture plaque. The treeline follows the line of the Jevrejska street, ending with the sculpture).
– from the work “Ethnographers Argument” by Nikola Radić Lucati (featured photo)
As the official website states “Parallel Traces is a cross-cutting, collaborative, pan-European project that offers a renewed look at the significance of Jewish heritage today. The project aims to rediscover traces of Jewish cultural heritage in urban architecture as an integral part of European history and to raise awareness and respect amongst different cultures through different mechanisms. (…) The Parallel Traces project takes as a premise the consideration of heritage sites and heritage traces as kind of laboratories to re-interpret traditions and art as means to encourage activities and artistic projects which explore the links between heritage and contemporary culture.”
The exhibition focused on artwork from the contest which was open for artists from five cities (Girona, Wroclaw, Tbilisi, Sighet and Belgrade) and five guest artists from those cities, invited to express themselves on the topic of “parallelity” of Jewish Heritage in contemporary urban environment of the communities they live in: Nikola Radić Lucati (Belgrade, Serbia), Dina Oganova (Tbilisi, Georgia), Daniel Grünfelf (Sighet, Romania), Agnieszka Traczewska (Wroclaw, Poland) and Israel Ariño (Girona, Spain).
Agnieszka Traczewska’s work “Gaps” on how an empty space where buildings of Jewish community once stood can become a place of memory felt very close. Whenever I get an opportunity to take someone on a tour through my hometown Zagreb, I show them many beautiful, interesting, some not-so-beautiful or even strange things. The strangest “sight” is the parking lot a few steps from the main square. That’s where Zagreb synagoge once stood. It is a heartbreaking sight.
The Parallel Traces project has a new activity for everyone to join: post your own findings of parallel traces with the hashtag #myparalleltraces.
There’s also an app for iOS and Android.