Hidden Belgrade (28): The Wall of Undesired Things

All those following the contemporary art scene, know that one man’s trash these days is not only another’s man potential fortune, but actual exhibit-able art.

Guided by this logic, the almost permanent, seemingly curated collection of debris found on the wall of 26 Hilandarska street in Stari Grad, can be considered a rare instance of folk, collaborative street art installation.

According to the Serbian press, the installation began a few years ago (it is certainlt now more than 3 years old) when one of the tenants of the building in Hilandarska, found a small figurine that his ex-girlfriend left in his post-box and decided to leave it outside. This move prompted him to put more “useless” things on a landing inside the building and then on this wall, and, then in turn, it inspired others to leave their mementos (Belgraders are anyway fond of leaving their junk on the street, even if unprompted).

This story elevates this collection of trinkets to it something like Belgrade’s informal version of the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, which gained fame for collecting mementos from those who want to part from symbols of lost loves. Nevertheless, the fact that the “installation” is completely unexplained and immediately changeable makes it more mysterious, and poetic (if not immediately easy to appreciate).

If it made its way to  a contemporary art gallery, a particularly inspired curator could write that it is a multi-layered installation, both personal and public, a mediation on nostalgia as well as an exhibit about what we leave behind or permanently exchange in an urban setting.

In any case it is certainly an interesting social experiment as people either stop to appreciate it and leave or take things, or rush past it. Junk or not, it has become a wonderful if occasionally eerie t fixture of Hilandarska and its permanent changes serve as a reminder of transience of things, love included.

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