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Boston Society for Architecture: Conjurer of Worlds

January 8, 2020


January 8, 2020

In the 1980s, when Katarina Burin was six, she vacationed in Yugoslavia with her parents and brother. That’s how the artist remembers it. “We were in public spaces always, with other people. We’d eat together under a roof on a concrete platform every night.”

The reality was that the family fled communist Czechoslovakia and traveled from Yugoslavia to Croatia to Serbia, where they spent three months in a United Nations camp. “My parents . . . were stressed and paranoid. They didn’t tell us what was happening.” The family eventually resettled in Montreal, where her mother—who had been an architect—became a technical draftsperson; her father was an engineer.

The strange collision of social and familial, exterior and interior, concrete public memorialization and ephemeral private memory that she associates with the camp drives her examination of everyday communist-era monuments in the exhibition Irrational Attachments, at Providence College—Galleries through March 14. Burin grew up to be an artist who taps into her parents’ skills to explore the heritage of midcentury European Modernism, a visual scholar who shuffles through archives like decks of cards.