Serbia’s first independent presentation at the 52nd Venice Biennale, is housed in Pavilion Yugoslavia in the Giardini. It’s a project by sculptor Mrdjan Bajic (born 1957, lives and works in Paris) and commissioned by painter Vladimir Velickovic. “Project Reset” consists of the three parts “Yugomuseum”, “Backup” and “Reset”. 52nd Venice Biennale 2007, Venice / Italy, June 7, 2007.
> Right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) this link to download Quicktime video file.
From the press release:
“”Mrdjan Bajic has now been selected to exhibit at the national pavilion for the second time. And this little house in Venice has in fact gone through a process very similar to the artist’s, a search for identity, positioning itself in contradictory historical circumstances that changed many times over, changing its name four times, it’s citizenship the same number of times, and all of it of course (and fortunately) not moving from the Venetian garden. The pavilion that carried the name of communist Yugoslavia, then the smaller, wartime Yugoslavia, and then yet smaller, nervous union of Serbia and Montenegro, now becomes a national pavilion of a small state called Serbia. The name that for years was a symbol of war and devastation in the simplified views of public opinion, now resumes its right to be something other than that.”
“Within such a symbolic framework, Mrdjan Bajic formed his “discursive and semantic nomadism” as an authentic artistic idiom, to combat the cacophony of the world.”
“The artist develops his complex, emotionally charged, and evocative constellations boldly and compellingly by using mental, socio-cultural, collective, and communal references. He is the artistic engineer of Deconstructivism, and his attitude is analytical, rationalistic, self-effacing, emotional, objectivistic, collectivistic, humble, and utopia “” in a resigned way. All of these qualities enable him to display his aesthetic and ethical commitment with a distinctly Central and Eastern European flavor. The poetic authenticity of his work radiates alluring warmth that shines through the complex intellectual constellations of his referential system. Ultimately, this energy is his very own personal contribution to our fragile community.”
“The sculpture Angel addresses spirituality as yet another taboo subject of visual expression that threatens to become sentimental. Bajic is well aware of all meaning-related contamination of angels in this national context: from the mass bastardization of the Byzantine representation of “The White Angel,” to the cynical title of the 1999 NATO campaign against Yugoslavia known as “Merciful Angel,” to all sorts of combinations of self-pitying national black angels and homeward-looking angels. The instability of meanings of spirituality is as important for Bajic as is the language of the forms.”
“With his work Bajic proposes to provide an answer to the challenge of creating art while interpretatively dealing with political, structural, cultural, and esthetic criteria. His YUGOMUSEUM links great, problematic historical narratives with idiosyncratic needs of the individual. BACKUP reminds us that the studio is still a frame and a subject matter. RESET indicates a gap between the abstract concept of the nation and a world irrevocably transformed by everyday experiences of real men and women. His sculptures form an imprint of complex mindsets coming to terms with universal contradictions, while attempting to comprehend the complexities, and the turbulence of his native country’s current situation.”
Mrdjan Bajic: 1990/1996 resides in Paris. Since 1997 works as Associate Professor, Faculty of Fine Arts, Belgrade. 1998/2002 works on the project Yugomuseum. Selected international exhibitions include: 25. Sao Paolo Biennial, 2002; APERTO, Venice Biennial, 1990; 8th Sydney Biennial, 1990; Metaphysical Visions-Middle Europe, Artists Space, New York, 1989.
Commissioner Vladimir Velickovic
Artist Mrdjan Bajic
General project manager Dusan Ercegovac
Curator Maja Ciric
Technical coordinator Maja Gavric
Organisation Milijan Dimitrijevic
Technical assistant Dragan Dordjevic
Technical support Dragisa Popovic
Yugomuseum:movie Dorde Markovic, Nenad Radojicic
RESET will be accompanied by an exhibition catalogue featuring newly commissioned essays by Vladimir Velickovic, Biljana Srbljanovic, Lóránd Hegyi, Lidija Merenik, Jovana Stokic, Maja Ciric.”