From December 4, 2014 to February 7, 2015
Opening on December 6 at 7 pm
Curator : Boshko Bosković
Ana Bilankov; Gorana Bosnić, Sandra Dukić & Gordana Macanović; Mladen Miljanović; Nita Deda & Yll Citaku; Renata Poljak and Kamer Şimşek
The Balkans are an intellectual construct, loaded with multivalent ideological meanings; since the Byzantium its ‘in-between’ position has confused the West, whose perspective of the region is often singular, external and static. The dismemberment of Yugoslavia in the 1990’s introduced a new object of fascination with the Balkans: ethnic conflict and nationalism. Following this, a number of international exhibitions perpetuated certain stereotypes of the wild east. Much of what is attributed to this region emerges from a popular Western imagination that ignores the speciﬁcities of local histories and cultures, reducing descriptions to the language of blood and honey. In her seminal book, Imaginary Balkans, Maria Todorova states the following: “The problem of identifying with the region of the Balkans is a sub variety of a wider identity problem of peripheral nations.”(1)
Future Perfect is a selection of short films and videos featuring storytelling that consciously/unconsciously mimics the archetype of longing, which is not – grammatically speaking – expressed only in the past tense, but also permeates concurrently into the future. Geography predetermines, frames and inspires the subject matter for each artist, creating a narrative where the past is folded inside the texture of each moving image. The six works reinforce the way our minds experience time: often in two places at once – in the here and now, but also in the back then. Each piece contains a dose of melancholy evocation, particularly of that which ceases or no longer exists, transforming the artworks into observers of realities that are constantly changing.
— Boshko Bosković
(1) Maria Todorova, Imagining the Balkans, London: Oxford University Press, 2009, p. 9.
Ana Bilankov’s experimental-documentary video In War and Revolution (2011, 15 min.) investigates the personal and collective amnesia that occurred during political changes of the early 1990’s in Croatia. Bilankov employs a structure of parallel editing and an interview with the author’s 97-year-old grandmother, who tries to remember her youth as a teacher during the anti-fascist movement in World War II by looking at a photograph from the book The School in War and Revolution. The artist interviews the local intellectuals on the subject of removal of inappropriate books on ideological grounds from bookstores and libraries by the new Croatian government of the early 1990’s.
Renata Poljak’s video Staging Actors/Staging Beliefs (2011, 12 min.) revolves around the character of Boško Buha, an icon of Communist ideology in socialist Yugoslavia. Through staged interviews with Ivan Kojunždić, the actor who portrayed Boško Buha as a child, Poljak explores how beliefs are broken when we loose the heroes that interpreted the world as we knew it. Poljak examines transformations and mutations in the Yugoslav political, social and cultural agendas since Yugoslavia’s disintegration in the early 1990’s by way of an investigation of the current lives of actors who played leading roles in once popular films. Poljak investigates how ideologies and political agendas form and dissolve together with the shifting mechanisms of constructing and recording history and memory.
Mladen Miljanović’s Do You Intend to Lie To Me? [Da li namjeravate] (2011, 14 min.) seeks to reveal the truth about the brutality of life, art and responsibility in post war Bosnia. This homage to the life of his art professor and mentor Veso Sovilj provides a picture of a stagnating social milieu. Sovilj, the main protagonist, participates in the movie about himself without even knowing, while Miljanović directs and interweaves different segments of society in order to create a grand happening, thus becoming a moderator of reality. On the 30th anniversary of the career of Sovilj, Miljanović decides to make him a gift. Embarking on a mission to realize a concept that his mentor conceived, yet never realized, Miljanović produces a film in which his professor is interrogated by polygraph about the truthfulness of art and life.
Boogeyman On Call (2012, 14 min) features three young women, Gorana Bosnić, Sandra Dukić and Gordana Macanović, who embark on a journey to a village in Western Bosnia where they capture the phenomenon of the Boogeyman on film. The story begins as investigative reporting, including amongst others, interviews with the police who are trying to hunt down the mythical creature. We soon realize that the narrative shifts its focus on examining the personal, social and political fears of this particular community.
The short film Our Bride [Nusja Jonë] (2011, 3 min. 30 sec.) by Nita Deda & Yll Citaku documents the colorful and arduous bridal ritual within the Torbesh community of Donje Ljubinje, a small village, situated in the Shara mountain in Kosovo where brides have their faces meticulously and avidly decorated, while their bodies are covered with layers of traditional handmade clothing and accessories. The process is important in every woman’s life and has spiritual connotations as well. The bride’s costume and make-up give the appearance of a living doll, protecting her from the evil eye and discouraging gossip and speculation. The film captures the polarity of tradition and modernity within a specific context of a minute population with a set of practices and customs that are slowly disappearing at the dawn of the 21st century. In the world of the virtual and digital, the village of Donje Ljubinje has only one woman left to adorn the brides and no one to whom she can pass on the lineage of her knowledge and artistry.
Night Ride [Gece Gezisi] (2013, 8 min. 30 sec.), by Kamer Şimşek deals with the remembrance of things past and solitude. An elderly man calls a taxi to travel through the streets of his own city. During the journey he reflects upon his existence, sharing the remarkable and heartbreaking moments of his life. By the end of the ride both men turn back onto the memories of sites they hold dear in the city that formed them as individuals.
Ana Bilankov (born in Zagreb, Croatia, 1968) studied Art History and German Language and Literature at the universities of Zagreb and of Mainz (Germany) and holds a Master’s degree from the Berlin University of the Arts. Her work have been shown in many solo and group exhibitions as well as events such as the Moscow Biennale (2005), the Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival (2012) and CologneOFF IX (2013).
Boshko Bosković (born in Belgrad, Serbia, 1976) is the Program Director of Residency Unlimited, in New York. His curatorial practice contributes to promoting unexpected multicultural relations and realities. He has curated numerous exhibitions such as Monument-Movement at Muse, Center for Photography and the Moving Image (New York), Not So Distant Memory at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts and at the National Center for Contemporary Art (St. Petersburg, Russia), Power of the Brand at the Contemporary Art Museum (Banja Luka, Bosnia & Herzegovina). In 2012, he curated in collaboration with the collective La Fabrique d’expositions the video program Videozones (2012) in the context of Montreal/Brooklyn, which was presented at the Galerie de l’UQÀM and at Interstate Projects (New York). He published essays for many of the aforementioned exhibitions.
Gorana Bosnić (born in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1976) studied at the Academy of Arts of the University of Banja Luka and has participated in numerous exhibitions in Bosnia including at the Bansksi Dvor Gallery (Banja Luka), at The Museum of Contemporary Art (Banja Luka) and the Mestna Galerija (Trebinje), amongst others.
Sandra Dukić (born in Rijeka, Croatia, 1980) graduated from the Academy of Arts of the Banja Luka University. Her work was shown internationally in venues such as the Center for Book Arts (New York), the National Centre for Contemporary Arts (St. Petersburg, Russia), the museums of contemporary art of Banja Luka and of Vojvodina (Serbia). In 2011, she received the prestigious ZVONO award.
Yll Citaku (born in Pristina, Kosovo, 1979) graduated as a film director from the Academy of Arts at the University of Pristina. His films were presented in numerous festivals including DokuFest, International Documentary and Short Film Festival (Kosovo), the Tabor Film Festival (Croatia) and the Thessanoliki International Film Festival (Greece). His film Should I Stay or Should I Go (2001) won Best Film at the first edition of DokuFest.
Nita Deda (born in Prishtina, Kosovo, 1987) studied Media and Communication at the Empire State College in Prague from the State University of New York. She is currently the Director of Communication at Dokufest, International Documentary and Short Film Festival. Among other projects, she has worked as the video editor of Kosovo 2.0 website and as the Communication Coordinator of the first Pavilion of the Republic of Kosovo at the 55th Venice Biennale.
Gordana Macanović (born in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1979) studied English language and literature and teaches English in a high school.
Mladen Miljanović (born in Zenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1981) attended the Reserve Officer School where he earned the rank of sergeant. After termination of his military term, he completed a Master’s degree in Painting at the Academy of Arts of the University of Banja Luka. His work is shown worldwide and he represented Bosnia-Herzegovina at the 55th Venice Biennale. He was awarded the ZVONO prize in 2007.
Renata Poljak (born in Split, Croatia, 1974) graduated from the School of Fine Arts in Split and completed postgraduate studies at the École régionale des beaux-arts in Nantes. Her work has been exhibited widely, in solo and group shows, biennials and film festivals and is on view at Optica (until December 20, 2014) and at Occurence (until January 14, 2015). She is the recipient of numerous awards.
Kamer Şimşek (born in Prizren, Kosovo, 1983) studied radio and television at Trakya University, Turkey where he made short films. He has worked in making series, advertisements, documentaries, and short movies. After completing his studies he returned to Kosovo where he cofounded the Lucida Visual Arts Society.