Dulcis Domus is an ongoing project that documents the many abandoned villas, palaces and castles found across the urban and rural areas of Europe. Theirs is a different reality than our own.
They are never truly dead, yet never really alive. As public space becomes privatized and the restriction of movement in urban environments increases, there is an overwhelming encouragement to avert the gaze. Crossing the border of imposed restrictions means to purposefully go against ingrained beliefs, to breach a loose social contract held together by fear of punishment and a comfortable status quo.
To find a new home, we claim the ones that were once called by that name, reappropriating not only the structure itself but their own personal histories as well. These homes become grotesquely revitalized as sites of our own search for meaning, but remain within their own reality. In turn, we become vehicles of disparity, embodying the otherness and the radical alterity offered by abandonments.
The Second World War left many scars, but in terms of abandoned villas of wealthy families, most of them are concentrated in countries that held precarious political positions in the wars. Most of these homes were abandoned, appropriated by the regime and then re-appropriated by the surviving members of the families after the conflict ended, only to once again be abandoned when the world entered post-war economic fluctuations. A staggering number of them now stand abandoned and overgrown, often very difficult to reach. I wanted to preserve the memory of the places as well as the families who once lived there, by documenting and retelling the hidden histories of these spatial and temporal incongruities that were once called home.
About Mirna Pavlovic
Mirna Pavlovic, born in 1989 in Croatia, and based in Ghent, Belgium. She caught the travel bug some years ago and hasn’t fully recovered since. Her quest for the abandoned, the forgotten and the derelict has led her all over Europe – fuelled by a desperate yearning to break out of prescribed forms of moving through an urban environment. But most of all, that same quest is one of identity, tirelessly seeking to find out the reasons behind the urge to explore, in places where time collides to form a reality of its own.
Her work has so far been shown in many festivals and galleries worldwide, most notably at the Moscow International Foto Awards 2016 (winner, Architecture – Interiors), Totally Lost in Italy (finalist & special mention), Rovinj Photodays 2016 in Croatia (finalist), Tokyo International Foto Awards (winner, Architecture – Interiors) and in the PH21 Gallery in Budapest (finalist). She was one of the winners of the prestigious competition Neutral Density Photography Awards 2016, taking 1st place in the category Architecture – Interiors.
She has also exhibited at PhotoVisa in Russia, and twice at Zagreb Salon in Croatia. She has been invited to present her work to a live audience at Slideluck Vancouver and Organ Vida. Her photographs have been acquired by the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb as part of their permanent collection of Contemporary Photography. Some of the selected publications include VICE, Ignant, ArchDaily, Elle, Fubiz, f11 Magazine, and Feature Shoot among many other websites and blogs. [Official Website]