For non Serbian speakers, here is a revised Google translate of an interview with me for Nedeljnik
Your current exhibition at the Goethe Institute was created in New York. What was the idea in that first second, or minute, when you started thinking about it?
The project “The future belongs to them” began in Belgrade at the end of 2021, with a photographic work of the same title in collaboration with photographer Danilo Mataruga. When I started working on that intriguing portrait holding a test tube with an unknown biological weapon, I initially wanted to make a visual artefact of the manipulative and unpredictable times we live in, not knowing that we would sail from a pandemic to a war in Ukraine. In November of last year, I left for New York to strategically shoot several video works with slogans that I constructed. So I held the slogan “Your genocide is bigger than mine” in front of the UN headquarters, and “Next time we will be more than prepared” in Times Square and in front of the 9/11 memorial in New Jersey.
In some accompanying descriptions of the exhibition, unofficial, circles of friends characterize your exhibition as socially and politically engaged. Do you agree with that? And was that an idea too?
I often say that I was born in an area of great and constant political turmoil, where people in power can only be removed by assassination, natural death or bombing; that I am the last generation of ‘Tito’s pioneers’, accordingly, my body and my being is a political construct, so my works are also the result of all that. I believe that an artist should be socially and politically aware and that engagement is an inevitable consequence of detecting problems and natural revolt.
Is it desirable for art to be socially engaged because the analysis of society should not only be provided by sociologists, political analysts, but also by artists?
I think it is my duty to analyze and criticize the time in which I live through my art; to influence the consciousness of my contemporaries and through the works I create, to encourage people to see more clearly the socio-political circumstances that surround us, to recognize the hypocrisy of society and to react uncompromisingly to injustice, crime, corruption, and other pathologies, which over time, if not controlled, can become a desirable model of social behaviour and lead to fascism.
What was interesting when you were doing the installations in New Jersey, in front of the UN building? Were there any curious people or comments and why exactly in those places?
Installation ie. slogan in English “Your genocide is bigger than mine” in front of the UN headquarters in New York, I was filming in the “eye” of the hurricane that hit Florida the night before, and came weakened to Manhattan. The day was very warm for November, and the rain was pouring down from all possible directions. At the moment when I thought that my cameraman and I wouldn’t be able to film anything, and the night was already slowly starting to fall, as if the sky looked at us, the rain and wind stopped. We rushed to the UN Palace and were given six minutes to film a “guerrilla” performance. After that, it started raining again, driven by a strong wind. Two days later, while shooting a video installation in front of the little-known 9/11 memorial on the New Jersey shore, I couldn’t control passers-by jogging in front of my camera, mothers with small children in the distance walking in slow motion in wide frame, a shift of extreme clouds and the sun, which at times penetrated like a laser and “fried” my picture. Many things had to come together in short intervals in order to create these works. The slogan “Your genocide is greater than mine” could only happen in front of the headquarters of all nations, and for the slogan “Next time we will be more than ready” my intuition chose a place in front of two tall steel columns by the Hudson River, which belonged to the collapsed twin towers of the World Trade Center.
The future is a privilege…
Interview by Branko Rosić
Znakovi, Radio Beograd 2, Feb 11, 2023
Kulturni dnevnik, RTS 1, 7. feb 2023
Odgovornost ovde ne stanuje
…i tako…već je 4. oktobar, od rezultata bar dva konkursa Ministarstvo kulture i informisanja, ni traga ni glasa. Već sam digao ruke, jer na moj poslednji dopis, upućen na nekoliko adresa u MKI, niko nije želeo da odgovori, iako bi zaposleni savetnici po zakonu i bon tonu poslovanja, morali da odgovore. E tu je problem, niko ne odgovara jer mi smo generalno narod bez odgovornosti. Prebacuje se odgovornost kao lopta, sa jedne instance na drugu, svi su sve uradili u roku, medjutim rezultata nema, iako su rezultati Konkursa za Mobilnosti trebalo da budu poznati 11. maja 2022, dok su rezultati Konkursa za Otkup i finansiranje umetničkih dela, trebalo da budu poznati 11. juna 2022. godine. Za oba konkursa smo moje kolege, institucije i ja počeli da sakupljamo dokumentaciju još krajem prošle godine; pozivna pisma, pregovori, sastanci, pečati i potpisi, ubedjivanja…a dočekali smo da manje od tri meseca do kraja godine, još uvek ne znamo ni ko je dobio sredstva, o uplati novca uopšte da i ne govorim. Nažalost, pokušao sam nekoliko puta u poslednjih šest meseci da reagujem kao fizičko lice, medjutim, moje strukovno udruženje, kao institucija, nema snage i nije u stanju da podrži i stane u odbranu interesa svojih članova. Takodje, deprimira me nikakva reakcija od strane umetnika i institucija koji su konkurisali. Za to vreme Ministarka Gojković, pojavljuje se na svim mogućim otvaranjima, u zemlji i inostranstvu, kao da je sve u najboljem redu. Sramota me je od inostranih partnera kojima treba da objasnim da nećemo saradjivati, jer se u mojoj zemlji ne poštuje zakon. S druge strane, bujaju privatne galerije, svakim danom sve više i više, nemoguće ih je prebrojati, kao menjačnice, kladionice i tržni centri, i svaka se na neki način finansira ili sufinansira od strane Ministarstva kulture i informisanja. Amateri postaju izlagači, kolekcionari postaju umetnici, profesori sa redovnim primanjima konkurišu samostalnim umetnicima bez ikakvih primanja, novi docenti na akademijama se primaju bez raspisanog konkursa, scena je monopolizovana, ide se premisom: ili ste sa nama ili vas nema. Umetnička scena, kao čista paradigma jednopartijske države i jednoumlja. Ovim završavam ovo besmisleno izlaganje, koje će neko pročitati, neko ostaviti facu sa suzicom, a neko ilegalno kopirati i preneti onima koji bi trebalo da daju ostavku, samo kada bi imali bar malo savesti.
…and so…it’s already October 4, still no results of at least two contests by the Ministry of Culture and Information. I already gave up, because no one wanted to respond to my last letter, sent to several addresses in the Ministry of Culture, although the employed advisors should have to respond by law and business etiquette. And here is the problem, no one answers because we are generally a people without responsibility. Responsibility is passed like a ball, from one instance to another, everyone did everything within the deadline, but there are no results, although the results of the Competition for Mobility should have been announced on May 11, 2022, while the results of the Competition for the Purchase and Financing of Works of Art should have been known on June 11, 2022. For both competitions, my colleagues, institutions and I started collecting documentation at the end of last year; invitation letters, negotiations, meetings, seals and signatures, persuasions…and here we are, less than three months until the end of the year, we still don’t even know who received the funds, not to mention the payment. Unfortunately, I tried several times in the last six months to react as a physical entity, however, my professional association, as an institution, has no strength and is unable to support and defend the interests of its members. Also, I am shocked by no reaction from the artists and institutions that applied. During that time, Minister Maja Gojković appears at all possible openings, in the country and abroad, as if everything is in the best order. I am ashamed that I need to explain to foreign partners that we will not cooperate, because the law is not respected in my country. On the other hand, private galleries are flourishing, more and more every day, it is impossible to count them, like exchange offices, betting shops and shopping centers, and each one is in some way financed or co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and Information. Amateurs become exhibitors, collectors become artists, professors with regular incomes compete with independent artists without any incomes, new assistant professors at academies are accepted without an open competition, the scene is monopolised, the premise is: either you are with us or you don’t exist. The art scene, as a pure paradigm of a one-party state and one-mindedness. This is how I end this meaningless presentation, which someone will read, someone will leave an emoticon, and someone will illegally copy and pass it on to those who should resign, if only they had at least a little conscience.
September 2 & 3, 2022 @Galerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam, The Netherlands