Official histories of cultural institutions are usually dull, self-serving affairs. Not so Močvara i priča o URK-u (“Močvara and the Story of URK”), the recently published account of Zagreb’s Močvara or “Swamp”, the alternative cultural institution that has for 19 years served as home to an array of live music, DJs, film nights, theatre, art exhibitions and a whole lot more. Such is the book’s sprawling nature that it isn’t so much a history of the Močvara as an all-embracing if willfully woozy panorama of alternative Zagreb as a whole. Thankfully it comes with English-language summaries, thereby rendering the Croatian underground just about navigable to the complete outsider. It’s the sumptuous visual content that makes the book so essential – both as a historical record and as a beautiful artefact in its own right. Featuring page after page of concert pictures, psycho-punk posters, and programme booklets that look like miniaturized graphic novels, it reveals the extent to which the Močvara has created a self-sustaining visual universe of its own. Leafing through this 480- page breeze block of a book it becomes clear that the Močvara has done more than any other Croatian institution to promote and sustain a home-grown graphic arts tradition. No other local organization has come close to producing so much quality work, in such impressive year-on-year quantities.
What follows are ten of the Močvara’s best posters – although such a limited number does little justice to the sheer breadth of material commissioned by the club over the last two decades. To get a handle on that, get hold of the book.
Močvara i Priča o URK-u is published by URK/Močvara and UPI2M. It can be purchased from the club itself or from selected outlets - notably Rockmark music bookshop (Berislavićeva 13) and the Pločnik bar and record shop (Međimurska 21).