South, South! Let’s Go South!

Artists: Igor Antić (Serbia/France), Radoš Antonijević (Serbia), Katarina Alempijević (Serbia), Jaka Babnik (Slovenia), Igor Bošnjak (BIH), Žaneta Vangeli (North Macedonia), Zlatan Vehabović (Croatia), Natalija Vujošević (Montenegro), Igor Grubić (Croatia), Danica Dakić (BIH/Germany), DiStruktura (Serbia), Uroš Đurić (Serbia), Pravdoliub Ivanov (Bulgaria/Austria), Irwin (Slovenia), Vladimir Perić Talent (Serbia), Dalibor Martinis (Croatia), Radenko Milak (BIH), Mladen Miljanović (BIH), Biljana Đurđević (Serbia), Dušan Otašević (Serbia), Vedran Perkov (Croatia), Vessna Perunovich (Serbia/Canada), Lala Raščić (BIH)Selma Selman (BIH/USA), Kamen Stoyanov (Bulgaria/Austria), Predrag Terzić (Serbia), Jelena Tomašević (Montenegro/BIH), Vuk Ćuk (Serbia), Jusuf Hadžifejzović (BIH), Jasmina Cibic (Slovenia/Great Britain)

Title: South, South! Let’s Go South!

Venue: Nadežda Petrović Art Gallery, Čačak

The jubilee 30th Nadežda Petrović Memorial, titled South, South! Let’s Go South!, is to officially open at the Nadežda Petrović Art Gallery in Čačak on 3 October at 1 p.m. TheNadežda Petrović Memorial, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, is the oldest and one of the most important exhibitions of contemporary visual art in Serbia.

The selector of this year’s Memorial is Professor Sarita Vujković, PhD, museum advisor and director of the Museum of Contemporary Art of the Republic of Srpska. The exhibition visuals were designed by graphic designer Nemanja Mićević.

The concept of the Memorial is an expression of the wish to fashion one of the former Yugoslavia’s major biennial art events as a place of reunion, congregation and get-together, and of peculiar interaction between contemporary art and the public in the context of its special 60th anniversary. The concept is based on the number 30, with 30 participants (28 artists and 2 art groups) from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia andMontenegro. The exhibition is structured in a way that seeks to account for the artists’ theoretical, artistic and geographical contexts; it thus considers their different positions in the artworld, their inclusion in or exclusion from mainstream art, socialisation and urbanisation, marginalised groups and migrations, accenting the particularity of their individual stances.

Given its scope and relevance, the exhibition South, South! Let’s Go South! will take place at eleven different venues across the City of Čačak, of which six galleries (Nadežda Petrović Art Gallery; Risim Gallery; Cultural Centre; Intermunicipal Historical Archives; National Museum; Master Jovan Obrenović Residence) and five public spaces (Roman Square; Roman Baths; City Park; Official Gazette/Službeni Glasnik bookshop window; raised platform in front of Cultural Centre).The name of the exhibition evokes a popular exclamation that epitomises Serbia’s industrial development and modernisation at the turn of the 19th century, which took a southward direction, around the time when the first railway was built through the Sićevo Gorge, bringing along the participants of the First Yugoslav Art Colony in 1905. Further, the prefix ‘južni’,‘southern’, is contained in the word Yugoslavia, and is also part of many other expressions that attest to the need to migrate and move, due to Nature’s laws as well as those of ecosystems, or different cataclysms – of war, economic or other kinds of trauma. The natural need for the South has been superseded by the tendency to go West for a full range of human needs – those for safety, economic, educational, intellectual, cultural and artistic needs – a daily indicator of thestate of things in our society.

The visual identity of the 30th Nadežda Petrović Memorial is linked conceptually to the Čačak Rubber Tree (Ficus elastica), the longest and oldest southern tree in the Balkans, which has freely grown for fifty years, spreading and taking over the interior of the Cultural Centre. This rubber tree, undoubtedly the most unusual identity marker of the city, has been growing in special conditions, by feeding on culture. Its abundant treetop and lush fleshy foliage, speared and intertwined with endless outgrowths, looks like a rhizome with a myriad of lateral shoots, reminiscent of Deleuze and Guattari’s rhizomatic discourse, quite related to the context of contemporary art practice.

This year’s Memorial will be held in parallel with a special regional project called ‘Culture Territory’, developed with the aim of connecting the major cultural institutions in Čačak, Cetinje and Banja Luka. As part of this joint exploration platform developed to facilitate creative and open communication between young people, a School of Criticism and Art is to be held concurrently in Čačak, Cetinje and Banja Luka, while the exhibition is on view.

The project ‘Culture Territory: Veering Off Course to Get to the Right Place’ is implemented by the UNDP, UNICEF and UNESCO in the framework of the joint regional programme ‘Dialogue for the Future: Fostering dialogue and social cohesion in and between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Republic of Serbia’, and funded from the UN Peacebuilding Fund.

Dušan Otašević
Igor Bošnjak

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