DREN MANDIĆ MONUMENT (1976-2010)
Dudova šuma, Subotica
Author: Maja Rakočević Cvijanov, MFA in sculpture
“The Quest for the Heights” memorial is an interactive object for climbing and a reminder of the courageous act of Dren Mandić, a mountaineer, to conquer one of the highest peaks of the Karakoram, where he remains forever.On the circular rotunda in Dudova šuma three granite blocks are incorporated in the concrete foundation, the highest of which is 3 m. Grips for climbing are mounted on the two smaller rocks of granite from Aranđelovac, as Dren Mandić was also involved in this discipline.Crushed stone – crushed white and red marble is spread around the blocks.Dedication in Serbian, Hungarian and English language, in Latin script is inscribed on the highest rock.The text is painted gold.On the side, there is a granite panel warning that one can climb at one’s own risk and small children may climb under the supervision of parents.
Text on the granite block:
ZAUVEK OSTAO NA PADINAMA
KARAKORUMA ISPOD VRHA K2
ÖRÖKKÉ A KARAKORUM
LEJTŐIN MARADT A K2 CSUCS ALATT
STAYS FOREVER ON THE SLOPES OF
THE KARAKORAM BELOW THE K2 PEAK
rotunda diameter – 802 cm;
big rock – 305 cm x 100 cm x 100 cm;
medium rock – 210 cm x 80 cm x 80 cm;
little rock – 160 cm x 60 cm x 80 cm.
“The Quest for the Heights” memorial in the Dudova šuma park really is a unique ensemble of life forms. At one time, this plot was planted with mulberry trees to enhance the raising of silkworms when Subotica was developing into a town, today there is only one mulberry tree here. Silkworm caterpillar (Bombyx mori) feeds on mulberry leaf, spins a silk yarn, which forms its casing. Then the same are processed into silk. Bunjevci, residents of the town, dressed girls and women in luxurious clothes made of costly “Lyon silk”. It was the eagerness to progress, by equalization with higher social classes, ascending from the lower, peasant class into the illusion of the middle class. There are no longer mulberry trees but the monumental volume of “gubó gyár” once the silk factory (gubó – cocoon) is still lasting in a completely altered purpose. However, craving for the unreachable remained. “Dudova šuma” is a park with lush foliage of century-old trees, where one can hear the voices of tennis players, young and old people go jogging on the jogging trail, walkers admire the colourful accents of the “lake”. Of course, next to the children’s playground the challenge attracts glances. Children, as soon as they can walk, turn to the three granite boulders. With the help of their parents some of them climb to the top and suddenly, surprised and intimidated see “the world” from the bird’s-eye view. Perhaps they are promising followers of Mandić and Subotica climbers, Vermeš and local athletes, Sarić and aviators, Olympic athletes, scientists and singers, farmers and all those inquisitive and courageous, stubborn, persistent and hard-working citizens of Subotica on “Silk Roads” noble in the competition with those better than themselves.
“The Quest for the Heights”, indubitably, is a unique memorial, lasting as a menhir, layered like a memory, challenging like vanishing points still unexplored.
From the book: Public Monuments in the Municipality of Subotica II, by Bela Duranci, Maja Rakočević Cvijanov and Vera Gabrić Počuča in the “Likovni susret” gallery of contemporary art in Subotica
Augustin Juriga i Željko Vukelić