The Realize! Resist! React! exhibition focuses on political performance in the 1990s in the post-Yugoslav context. It includes more than 120 artworks, archival materials, and video documents from Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro, and North Macedonia,
The exhibition is curated by Bojana Piškur with the help of guest curators Linda Gusia, Jasna Jakšić, Vida Knežević, Nita Luci, Asja Mandić, Biljana Tanurovska-Kjulavkovski, Ivana Vaseva, Rok Vevar and Jasmina Založnik. Realize! Resist! React! is designed by Siniša Ilić.
The announcement states that the nineties were an extremely difficult period for the region, marked by war, nationalism, revisionism, corruption, particracy, transition, and a rapidly developing capitalist economy. The period also left a profound mark on all the decades that followed.
“Political performance on the territory of ex-Yugoslavia in the 1990s was a form of resistance against various ‘war machines’ related to power, institutions, state, identities, language, often emerging under extreme political circumstances and in the midst of radical political, economic, social, and cultural changes that affected every aspect of society in the ex-common state.”
The exhibition organizers also mention that the stated processes were followed by a a distancing from the “idea” of Yugoslavia, and the discovery of new spaces and alliances: “The newly founded states turned either toward Western models, or relied more on their local traditions, emphasizing ethnic elements, or opted for a combination of internationalization and national symbols, politically embracing multiculturalism.”
The exhibited artwork is structured around the topics of war, nationalism, the body, new spaces, demonstrations, states, territories, new borders, the Other, feminism, and media.
The exhibition explores different trajectories of political performance, especially what it brought to, meant, or changed in the broader field of art of the 1990s post-Yugoslavia, as well as the connections between performances and political and ideological structures from which these performances emerged.
At the same time the exhibition is an attempt to uncover the emancipatory power of political performance of that difficult decade and a search for links with the present, a time no less trying than the 1990s.
Translation: Iskra Krstić
This article was ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED in Serbian on Jun 24, 2021.