Marina Abramović, Mrđan Bajić, Braco Dimitrijević, Mirjana Ðorđević, Uroš Ðurić / Elke Krystufek, Miodrag Krkobabić, kuda.org, Mihael Milunović, Milorad Mladenović, Mileta Prodanović, Milica Ružićić, Škart group, Raša Todosijević, Milica Tomić, Zenit
curated by Stevan Vuković in cooperation with Marko Lulicć


Belgrade Art Inc., Secession 2004, Foto: Pez Hejduk
Belgrade Art Inc., Secession 2004, Foto: Pez Hejduk


The exhibition introduces Belgrade's contemporary art positions, with their links to Zagreb and Novi Sad, and explores their historical origins and role models. The concept of the show deals with non-linear moments of upheaval over a broad period of time from the 1920s to the present, in which contemporary art production in Belgrade, due mainly to artist-led initiatives, was involved in a close international exchange.


Belgrade Art Inc., Secession 2004, Foto: Pez Hejduk
Belgrade Art Inc., Secession 2004, Foto: Pez Hejduk


The exhibition deals with the approaches local artist initiatives were and are using to create contexts of art and theory production. By framing fields of reference and establishing networks, their individual positions in the art world also become graspable on a greater scale. Three group projects and thirteen individual positions (cooperations) are presented in Belgrade Art Inc.


Belgrade Art Inc., Secession 2004, Foto: Pez Hejduk
Belgrade Art Inc., Secession 2004, Foto: Pez Hejduk


The historical artist group Zenit, as well as the artists Mrdan Bajic, Milorad Mladenovic, Skart group, and Mileta Prodanovic, all deal with urbanity and archaic counterparts in different ways. Milorad Mladenovic works with photographs of painted-over graffiti in Belgrade's urban space. He arranges individual photos in sequences, producing new alphabets and sign sequences. Mileta Prodanovic is present in the exhibition with photographs and water colors. In his photographs, the motif of an angel repeats itself. This angel is a specific detail from a fresco in Mileseva, a monastery in Serbia, but it appears without context, reduced to a symbol. The popularity of this image in recent years is caused by an era of renewed nationalization and religiousness and has been massively present in public spaces, magazines, logos, and product packaging. In his watercolors, Prodanovic cites historical paintings and frescoes by shifting urban castles usually found in the background to the center of the image. At the same time he links them to today's consumer culture by labeling them with logos.


Belgrade Art Inc., Secession 2004, Foto: Pez Hejduk
Belgrade Art Inc., Secession 2004, Foto: Pez Hejduk


Skart group is an artist group from Belgrade that discusses the theme of city in both small, elaborate graphic publications as well as in direct actions in urban space. For the exhibition they published a pamphlet that will be handed out by a performer during the opening. Tito, Richard Burton, and a bookseller from Belgrade play the main roles in an absurd scene that cynically reveals the current political confusion in Serbia.

Mrdan Bajic has achieved international recognition in recent years through his work in progress Yugomuzej (1998/2002). The project is a virtual museum, located beneath Slavia square in Belgrade. The museum exhibits relicts from Yugoslavian history in a spatial-sculptural comprehensive style. The work is shown as an installation in the Secession. An integrated CD-Rom enables a virtual tour through the Yugomuzej. This project links the themes "city" and "memorial" to aspects of ideology and history.


Belgrade Art Inc., Secession 2004, Foto: Pez Hejduk
Belgrade Art Inc., Secession 2004, Foto: Pez Hejduk


Similar themes can be found in the pieces by Milica Tomic, Mihael Milunovic, and Milica Ruzicic. Milica Tomic's work has been widely exhibited internationally in recent years. In the Secession, Tomic shows the video On Love Afterwards (2003), which documents interviews with partisans who were active in the National Liberation War during World War II. This work is about the relationship of past and the present and directly refers to the political system of the former Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia, where politics were not democratic, but more liberal than in the rest of socialist Eastern Europe, allowing or sometimes even supporting critical, conceptual art.


Belgrade Art Inc., Secession 2004, Foto: Pez Hejduk
Belgrade Art Inc., Secession 2004, Foto: Pez Hejduk


Mihael Milunovic plays with the irony of political symbols in his project Flags for the New Millenium (2004). The flags, hoisted in front of the Secession, combine symbols in an unusual and disturbing way that makes it possible to recognize elements of well known flags - but do not represent any system. The artist not only attempts to deconstruct the establishment of political symbols but also to question the rituals and fetish tied to flags.


Mileta Prodanovic, Visitations. Brandopolis, 2003/04
Mileta Prodanovic, Visitations. Brandopolis, 2003/04


JK (2003) by Milica Ruzicic is a life-size sculpture, which presents a "real" Turbofolk singer exaggerated into an icon. Turbofolk, a loud combination of popular folk songs and contemporary sound production is a very popular form of music, which has been dominating Belgrade's entertainment media since the 1990s.


Milica Ružicic, JK, 2003
Milica Ruzicic, JK, 2003


Mirjana Dordevic also investigates phenomena of public communication forms in her installations. The SMS Archives (2004) sets SMS messages into a different media and draws attention to them as large-format announcements.


Uros Duric, Life As A Narrative, Elkepop, Rap 3, 2003   Elke Krystufek, Red self, 2000
Uros Duric, Life As A Narrative, Elkepop, Rap 3, 2003 / Elke Krystufek, Red self, 2000 / Courtesy: Georg Kargl, Vienna


The theme of identity, which has certainly been dominant in Belgrade's art since the latter half of the 1990s, is addressed in works by Uros Duric and Miodrag Krkobabic. In the series Elkepop, Uros Duric affirms the artistic strategies of Elke Krystufek: the paintings are self-portraits (in earlier works, the artist has taken on a variety of roles such as soccer player, VIP, and Kasimir Malevitch) combined with text quotations. The idea for the project arose in an intense exchange with Krystufek and was first shown as a double solo exhibition in 2003 in the salon of the Museum for Contemporary Art in Belgrade.


Miodrag Krkobabic, Necrospection (work in progress), 2000
Miodrag Krkobabic, Necrospection (work in progress), 2000


Necrospection (2000) by Miodrag Krkobabic is a work-in-progress and comprises a series of obituaries which, beginning with the artist's year of birth, document every succeeding year as the potential final one.


Courtesy: Sean Kelly Gallery, New York
Marina Abramovic, Rhythm 5, 1974 / 1994, Courtesy: Sean Kelly Gallery, New York


Marina Abramovic, Rasa Todosijevic, and Braco Dimitrijevic have taken up central positions in the artistic practice since the 1970s. They consider artistic production a platform for the reflection of social conflicts and find it necessary to keep the contents of their work embedded in current and historic contexts.


Rasa Todosijevic, Was ist Kunst, Marinela Kozelj?, 1978
Rasa Todosijevic, Was ist Kunst, Marinela Kozelj?, 1978


The group projects include Zenit, a Dadaist movement and magazine from the 1920's based in Zagreb and later Belgrade, which commissioned original textual and graphic contributions by Malevitch, Marinetti, Tatlin, Archipenko, Loos, Kandinsky, Moholy-Nagy; the exhibition entitled In Another Moment, initiated by Braco and Nena Dimitrijevic in 1971, with invited artists including Lawrence Wiener, Daniel Buren and Art & Language, at the then new Belgrade Student Center (SKC) -the Center would subsequently become an internationally renowned and highly frequented exhibition site; and the Kuda.org media center, presently active in Novi Sad, running a programme of lectures and presentations by artists, media activists, theorists, scientists, and ICT researchers. On one hand they are an important reference for the present and subsequent generations, and on the other hand they serve as a paradigm for the rejection of the cliché of entirely hermetic scenes. By presenting them, the exhibition attempts to counter a one-dimensional, monopolizing interpretation with a more complex and emancipated version, which abandons the predicative and iterative scheme of institutional linear histories of art.


Mileta Prodanovic, Visitations. White Angel In The City, 2003/04
Mileta Prodanovic, Visitations. White Angel In The City, 2003/04


In the 1990s, artists living and working in Belgrade had to keep up and rebuild the art scene in a closed society that forced them to deal with financial and structural exclusion, isolation, limited traveling and other restrictions.


Mileta Prodanovic, Visitations. White Angel In The City, 2003/04

Mileta Prodanovic, Visitations. White Angel In The City, 2003/04


Architecture by: Kühn Malvezzi


PUBLIKATION

Katalog BELGRADE ART INC.

136 pages, 29 color illustrations, 32 b/w-illustrations
authors: Jesa Denegri, Matthias Herrmann, Marco Lulic, Irina Subotic, Stevan Vukovic
Secession 2005, ISBN 3-901926-72-0
Distribution: Revolver

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available in the shop



The exhibition is supported by: KulturKontakt, Lang & Lang Werbeproduktion, Jat Airways, Mc Shark



CHARLINE VON HEYL
EXHIBITION PROGRAM 2004



For further information and photographic material please contact:
 
Katharina Schniebs
Secession, Association of Visual Artists Vienna Secession
Friedrichstraße 12, 1010 Vienna
Tel: +43-1-5875307-21, Fax: +43-1-5875307-34
presse@secession.at