Art at Work – Announcements

Nika Autor & Newsreel Front, Damir Avdić, Milijana Babić, Jože Barši, Marko Brecelj, Danica Dakić, Walter De Maria, Goran Đorđević, Lenka Đorojević & Matej Stupica, Šejma Fere, György Galántai, Gorgona, Tomislav Gotovac, Igor Grubić, IRWIN, Hristina Ivanoska, Sanela Jahić, Filip Jovanovski, Doruntina Kastrati, Božena Končić Badurina & Duga Mavrinac, Andreja Kulunčić, KURS (Miloš Miletić & Mirjana Radovanović), Siniša Labrović, Irena Lagator Pejović, Nebojša Milikić & Jelena Mijić, Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) , New Tendencies, OHO, Marika & Marko Pogačnik, Darinka Pop-Mitić, Zoran Popović, Uroš Potočnik, Radical Education Collective, Rena Rädle & Vladan Jeremić, Mladen Stilinović, The Šempas Family, Nebojša Šerić Šoba, Škart & Horkeškart, Biljana Tanurovska – Kjulavkovski & Ivana Vaseva, Raša Todosijević, Slaven Tolj, Goran Trbuljak, TV Gallery, ULUS Debate Program, Via Negativa, Za KRUH, Zrenjanin Social Forum

Curated by Bojana Piškur, Ana Mizerit, Igor Španjol, Zdenka Badovinac.

Curators of special projects
Sezgin Boynik: Impure, Democratic, Concrete: the West East Project
Jelena Vesić: On Collectivizing: Narratives about Yugoslav Avant-Garde Art Collectives and Examples of Feminist Interventions

The Archive of Sanja Iveković, Džuverović (she/her), Vukica Đilas, Goranka Matić, Conference Drug-ca žena, Darinka Pop-Mitić

The Art at Work The exhibition looks at three different segments of the genealogy of the concept of (artistic) work in the region of the former Yugoslavia: first, the way work was conceived by the avant-garde artists of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s; next, the transformations of the concept of artistic work and art spaces in the 1990s; and lastly, the labor-related political art practices since 2000.

The early 1990s—the time of transition from socialism to capitalism in the territory of the former Yugoslavia—saw some fundamental shifts in the way artists’ work was perceived, as well as structural changes of spaces of art. And more than that: in the post-socialist world, artists’ production time changed as well. The former utopianism of art collectives was replaced by the newly-founded NGOs’ pragmatism and flexibility of work, due to their predominant dependence on public funds in the 1990s. Artists became producers, and both artists and other cultural workers came to depend on projects for their survival, thus joining the ever-growing ranks of precarious workers. While working conditions for artists can hardly be said to have been much better under socialism, at least artists were masters of their own time. As the precariousness of (artists’) work is only intensifying with the globally deteriorating conditions (the pandemic, right-wing policies, wars, the economic crisis), the need for building more intense horizontal connections and rethinking the legacy of the avant-gardes is ever more urgent. Another fact underlined by Art at Work is that art collectives used to be predominantly male; Women organized and articulated their work in other ways. The projects produced over the past 20 years that are included in the exhibition address the concept of work in the manner of political associations, thus directly influencing cultural politics in their respective states. This exhibition chapter also relates to the local traditions of collaboration between art institutions, NGOs, and individual artists in terms of labor, thematically extended to encompass the struggle for (cultural) workers’ rights, including the rights of domestic workers, care workers, and Migrant workers.

Participating in the exhibition there are more than 50 artists, art collectives, and associations from the region of the former Yugoslavia. Many of the presented works are from Moderna galerija’s collections, a majority from the international Arteast 2000+ collection.

There are two special projects included in the show, curated by Jelena Vesić and Sezgin Boynik, while curator Teja Merhar has conducted extensive research into and mapping of the independent spaces of the 1990s in the territory of the former Yugoslavia.

Organized in the framework of Our Many Europesa four-year program by the museum confederation L’Internationale and its partners, and co-funded by the Creative Europe program of the European Union.

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