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Indepth Arts News:

"Blackout - Predrag Pajdic"
2003-11-21 until 2003-12-11
Museum of Contemporary Art
Belgrade, , YU Yugoslavia

Using music, installation, video and photography, Pajdic's solo exhibition Blackout at the Salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade explores issues of memory, history, sexuality, displaced national identity, exile and return by exploring and reconstructing the artist's reason for departure from the former Yugoslavia in the eighties. Reflecting upon the collective blackout that has enveloped Serb society since the demise of Milocevic as they attempt to recreate a lost nation, Pajdic's multi-media work seeks to redress this national voluntary amnesia by revisiting the history of the last 50 years.

The work ranges from interviews with old childhood friends and family, quizzing them as to why they think Pajdic left the former Yugoslavia, archival material of old Tito speeches inflating the need for a civilised and cultured society, images from public spaces that are no longer recognisable or familiar to the artist as well as found footage from old partisan films that formed part of the supra-national propaganda machine to re-recorded pop songs by cultural icons of the era.

Hero, 2003, is an installation of 7 lightboxes and sound. The photographs of blurred images, taken in Kalemegdan, the central public park in the heart of Belgrade, represent the plethora of bronze busts dotted around the park celebrating the lives of supposedly famous Serbian (formerly Yugoslav) historical figures. With the demise of the former Yugoslavia the non-Serb historical figures (Croats, Slovenians and Others) vanished, leaving behind unfilled empty spaces. Those that did remain, in other words Serb nationals, represent a revisionist historical narrative of the former Yugoslavia.

In Why I Left, 2003, a 2 channel video, the artists poses the same question "Why do you think I left Yugoslavia?" to various figures from his past and present, including his mother and family and childhood friends. This work examines the reasons why Pajdic left the country from the interviewees' subjective perspectives. However, through these questions the interviewees discover their own personal memories and impressions not only of the artist but also of the nation as a whole. In turn, these works operate as inverted self-portraits, paradoxically questioning their own beliefs, identities and memories. A full-colour catalogue will accompany the exhibition. Edited by Alona Pardo, with essays by Glenn Bowman, Gemma Starkey, Alona Pardo, Marina Martic and Branimir Stojanovic.

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