For the fifth consecutive year, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Tourist Board of the City of Split are organizing the installation of an artistic interpretation of the Nativity scene in the Chapel of St. Arniro. This unique project that combines the traditional motif of the Nativity scene and contemporary artistic interpretation in public space has thus far presented works of Kažimir Hraste, Dijana Iva Sesartić, Vice Tomasović and Loren Živković Kuljiš.

The author of this year’s intervention in the Chapel of St. Arniro is Viktor Popović, an artist from Split who approaches the motif of the Nativity scene on an entirely symbolic level. Instead of setting up the usual traditional figural representation, the artist transforms the entire space with a simple, minimal light intervention. He sets up a floating circle in space, made of luminous argon tubes that clearly evokes the motif of an aureole or the holy circle as a symbol of holiness and eternity. Using only light, the artist clearly points to its symbolism of the creation of life and the highest state of the divine. In contrast to the present-day that is prone to exaggeration and superficiality, the artist insists on an extremely simple motif and exclusively white light, thereby creating a space of contemplation, peace, sublimity and modesty, recalling the fundamental values of Christmas as a celebration of life and light.

Viktor Popović is an artist based in Split. In his installations and objects, he often uses appropriated and archival materials in combination with raw industrial materials that probe the relationship between the artwork and the audience, and the historical and physical context of the exhibition venues. His recent works explore the Modernist heritage of Croatia. He has exhibited in numerous galleries, museums and non-profit venues in USA and throughout Europe. Popović is an MFA graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb and the recipient of a number of distinguished grants and awards, including the 54th Zagreb Salon of Visual Arts CS AICA Award (2019); Art Omi Residency Program, Omi International Arts Center, Ghent, New York, SAD (2017); 36th Split Salon Prize (2009); ArtsLink Residency Program, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Portland, Oregon, SAD (2006); Annual Young Artist Prize, Croatian Association of Artists, Zagreb (2006); Filip Trade Contemporary Art Collection Prize, Zagreb, Hrvatska (2005); Grand Prix of the 8th Triennial of Croatian Sculpture, Zagreb (2003). Since 1998, he has been teaching in the Painting Department of the Arts Academy in Split, where he was promoted to the position of a full tenured professor in 2018.

The program is realized with financial support of the Tourist Board of the City of Split.