Indepth Arts News: |
"Blackout - Predrag Pajdic"
2003-11-21 until 2003-12-11
Museum of Contemporary Art
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.