Susak’s Sentinels


Susak’s Sentinels by Charlie Bonallack

For this year’s Susak Biennale I propose to drop a series of painted images fired onto porcelain into the sea forming a ring around Susak at various GPS locations. To realise this project and produce these paintings, I’ll need to work/interpret from a series of photographs depicting fire in some form – a candle, a glowing cigarette, bonfires, flames and so on. The element of ‘fire’ needs to be central to the said photograph, ie if it’s of someone smoking, the cigarette needs to a central component to the image.

I need 12 and instead of sourcing them myself, I thought it’d be a far more rich, holistic and fun approach to ask the artists participating to provide them. They could literally be a selfie with cigarette, a magazine cutting or a scan of an old snap. Given the production process is long, I would ideally need them as soon as possible but by the end of february would be great. They can be sent to me as attachments via email or printed vserions by post if you prefer, details below.

A little background to project ‘Susak’s Sentinels’

Looking into Susak’s history, I came across an old superstition called ‘Mrak’ which literally means ‘Dark or darkness’ in Croatian. It seems the universal childhood fear of the dark also became an adult one too for Susak’s inhabitants, as explained on the following site :

‘Mrak is an evil that waits and attacks men or women during nights strangling a person by lying on him or her… There aren’t any special means of defense against the darkness except physical resistance and one special element, which can be used against all kinds of evil “Fire”. Night darkness can harm clothes that a mother had left over night outside to be dried and such can harm a child. It can be fought by fire so a person who carries a torch or just smokes a cigarette is immune to the dark evil influence. Clothes, which were under the influence of darkness, should be put above a fireplace and a circle made around of burning fire.’

The work

My work on porcelain itself, involves working from/interpreting photographs through painting directly onto biscuit porcelain (fired once at approx 800-1000ºc) with special oxides. Once complete they’re fired a second time at 1350ºc, at which point they become images literally set in stone. See examples on following page.

Looking forward to recieving your images and of course meeting you all in person this May.

Many thanks,



Postal address: 161 rue du mas de merle, Montpellier 34070, France

Tel: 0033 633 725448


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