curator: Vladan Jeremić
"Last year and this year were marked by the efforts of cultural workers to improve their poor material living and working conditions and solve the problem of social contributions. The worsened financial situation is accompanied by frequent attacks in the media sphere on artists and their works, although violence is sometimes carried out directly, which was especially pronounced in Serbia, but also in neighbouring countries during the 2020 pandemic. The possibility of criticism through artistic means is sanctioned in the public sphere of these societies on the European periphery. On the other hand, within the creative industries, in order to privatize public goods and glorify the fictitious value of "contemporary art brands", and devalue specific artwork, autonomy is abolished by the exclusive market orientation of art producers and consumers. Therefore, the request for the guarantee of relative autonomy primarily refers to the working status of artists, ie to the provision of basic working conditions for artistic production and decent earnings.
Given the context in which artists in Serbia live and work, preventing the spontaneous extinction of the status of independent artists and placing its legal framework on stable feet is one of the primary goals of ULUS. In that sense, the question of the survival of this status and the autonomy of the art branch appears to be crucial. Therefore, on the one hand, "Antinomies of Autonomy" are a kind of continuation of last year's efforts to shed light on the issue of the status of independent artists and, in general, the material working conditions of workers in culture. But, on the other hand, the exhibition in a more general sense problematizes the autonomy of art and the position of art in relation to other types of work, and the functionality of the requirements for the autonomous status of art in current efforts to regulate working conditions in this area. At the same time, it is clear that the autonomy of the artistic field should be distinguished from the autonomy of the status of artists in society, although they permeate in a way that is difficult to break.
The exhibition "Antinomies of Autonomy", which takes place from September 16 to October 14, 2021, in the Art Pavilion "Cvijeta Zuzorić" and which focuses on the issue of autonomy in different contexts and, in general, the status of independent artists and their struggle, tries to offer a multitude of answers to the question of what and what kind of autonomy of the artistic field is possible. How do the current contradictions of art and other fields of work affect the disappearance of various autonomies? What kind of autonomy is needed and is it achievable at all in the general precariousness and fragmentation of society due to the pandemic and ecological crisis? The exhibited papers can be read according to the problem issues and contexts they deal with.
The first segment of the exhibition consists of works that explicitly deal with the local context of censorship and the use of artistic autonomy to talk about the traumatic places of Serbian society. Within this segment are works whose authors are: Bojan Radojcic, Dejan Atanackovic, Dragana Nikoletic, Goran Delic, Jovan Jaksic, Milan Cuk, Radivoje Markovic, Veljko Zejak, Sasa Stojanovic, United Voices Against Kidnapping, Vladimir Komarica, Vladimir Miladinovic and Zivko Grozdanic Gera.
The second segment of the exhibition consists of works that deal with the fundamental issue of the autonomy of the art form, issues of copyright and authorship, but also a critical re-examination of the function of an art institution, a museum, for example. In this segment of the exhibition, one can see historical examples of analytical and conceptual art and the transformation of the dominant European narrative of art history, as well as examples of other neo-avant-garde radical practices that question the art form itself and its history. Within this segment are works whose authors are: Boris Demur, Jusuf Hadžifejzović, Nova Evropa / NEP, Jelena Bokić, Predrag Miladinović, OPA, Chto Delat and Zoran Tairović.
The third segment is perhaps the most illustrative because it problematizes the status of the artist and the struggle around him, finding a new role of artists in environmental and social struggles, erasing autonomy or its recreation through the liberal imperative of freedom. Exhibitors in this segment are: Aleksandar Jestrović Jamesdin, Andrej Bunuševac, Anita Bunčić, Dragan Stojmenović, Federico Geller, Jelena Arandjelović, Jovan Jović, Klaudija Šarić-Marić and Jana Stojaković, Maja Beganović, Marko Golub, Miloš Tomić, Nena Skoko Snežana, Nenad Bogdanović , Oliver Ressler.
The fourth segment of the exhibition deals with the issue of a new language that functions outside the already mentioned gap between participatory and digital, in which both tendencies are burdened with standardization. In that sense, the works try to overcome the autonomy of the artistic field, using, however, all historically known means, in order to build their own language, or, on the contrary, they completely immerse themselves in standard frameworks and practices. Within the fourth segment, the exhibitors are: Babi Badalov, Aleksandra Mirimanov, Aleksandra Vasović, Milica Živadinović, Mirjana Petrović, Sanja Ždrnja and Snežana Vujović-Nikolić. "