Performance and Conceptual Art, the Third Way: Yugoslavia in the 1970s

Friday, December 5, 2014
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room (1219 IAB, 420 West 118th St.)
Please join the Njegos Endowment for Serbian Language and Culture at Columbia University's East Central European Center for a panel discussion on Yugoslavian art in the 1970s.
Unlike in the former East, conceptual and performance art in post 1968 Yugoslavia was not produced under clandestine conditions of private studios and apartments; and unlike in the former West, it did not develop under pressure of the art market, but instead took advantage of a network of state-supported galleries and cultural centers. This panel looks beyond the art-world household names that emerged from this scene, such as Leibach and more recently Marina Abramović, to artists and art institutions on the Yugoslav 1970s art scene. Yugoslav 1970s experimental art offers from its specific socio-political condition a productive and influential new paradigm. This strategy took place as communication and mobility between different cities of Yugoslavia, exchange with artists from the West, and most significantly through artists’ interactive use of public space and resulting redefinition of public institutions. Some of the questions that the participants at the panel will address are: How did neo-avant-garde art in postwar Yugoslavia change notions of public space and communication at the time? What does such change add to artistic practice in the Western Balkans today and to the international discourse of conceptual art?  How did the artists put to use the special conditions of socialist self-management to further their concerns? What were specific forms of ideological critique that conceptual art offered in these conditions that radically differed from Western profit-driven art market, and "dissident" art in the East.
Goran Đorđević is a former artist who throughout the 1970s actively participated in the art scene around the SKC Gallery (Student Cultural Center) in Belgrade, and exhibited in numerous exhibitions in the country and abroad, including Biennale de Paris 1975. As of 1985, he did not appear in public as an artist.  He now lives in New York.
Branislav Jakovljević is an Associate Professor at the Department of Theater and Performance Studies, Stanford University. He specializes in avant-garde and experimental theater, performance theory, critical theory, and performance and politics. He has published essays on a broad variety of subjects, from history of late nineteenth-century theater, to Russian and Soviet avant-garde, to contemporary American experimental performance. His works have been published in the United States (Theatre Journal, TDR, PAJ, Art Journal, Theater) and in Europe (Serbia, United Kingdom, Spain, Sweden, Croatia, Poland, and Belgium). His book Daniil Kharms: Writing and the Event was published by Northwestern University Press in 2009. He recently completed his second book manuscript, Beyond the Performance Principle: Self-Management and a Political Economy of the Live, Yugoslavia 1945-1991.
Sreten Ugričić is writer, philosopher, and librarian. He served as Director of the National Library of Serbia (2001-2012). In January 2012, after publicly supporting freedom of speech in Serbia, he was accused of supporting terrorism by the Serbian Minister of the Interior and then dismissed from the position of Director of the National Library in a politically-motivated act unprecedented in the post-Milošević era in Serbia. He was forced to leave the country and to stay abroad (Switzerland, Austria, USA). Sreten is author of 9 books (fiction, essays, theory). In 2014 translation of his latest novel was published in Macedonia and a new collection of stories and essays was published in Montenegrounder the title “Život je inostranstvo” (“Life Is A Foreign Land”). He is currently a visiting scholar at Stanford University (2013-2015), pursuing the project “Meady-rade”. What is meady-rade? Opposite from ready-made.