press release

The Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade is proud to present the artist’s first institutional solo exhibition in Serbia. Jasmina Cibic’s work explores histories of ideological formations, which she addresses with site and context specific installations, performance and film. By traversing different structures and systems, the artist creates projects that often feel like Gesamtkunstwerke within which she re-works found readymades spanning from language and architecture to historical events.

The artist’s new project presents the third chapter of the artist’s series "Spielraum," which questions the potential of instrumentalisation of visual language, rhetoric and architecture in the construction of the State, and investigates how art and architecture can serve as soft power strategies of every political order.

The exhibition presents a theatrical set, composed of a performative installation and a new film work shot in the former Palace of the Federation in Belgrade, completed in 1961 in order to host the first conference of the Non-Aligned Movement. The building’s construction became a visual paraphrase of the construction of the new federal state and its ideological underpinnings, its interior a visualisation of the “representational” Yugoslav elements from all six federal republics, featuring their local wood, stone, carpets and artworks. What was constructed as the stage for new world politics, presenting a middle course for states in the developing world between the Western and Eastern Blocs in the Cold War, today exists as an empty theatre box, void of its actors. It is the stage that itself becomes the actor; it is the stage that Jasmina Cibic resurrects as the focal point of ideological consideration in her exhibition Tear Down and Rebuild.

Cibic’s film frames its four characters (a Nation Builder, a Pragmatist, a Conservationist and an Artist/Architect) as an extension of the architecture and its fittings, formally completing the empty stage, as sculptures rising from the scenographic background. The dialogue is composed from quotes drawn from various political speeches and proclamations on iconoclasm of architecture and art: the language that endorsed demolition and redesign, which was to aid the creation of new displays for ensuing nation-states or ideological positions throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. The sources for the script include amongst others: Regan’s speech on the Berlin Wall, Prince Charles’s 1984 address at RIBA and Isis bloggers’ proclamation on the demolishment of temples. As the film’s narrative unfolds, the viewer is a witness to the final decision to demolish the fictitious building, the image of which is constructed in the spectator’s imagination through a collage of quotations on diverse, ideologically contrived and historically charged buildings, monuments and walls that were to be or were knocked down—pointing to the universality and timelessness of the paradox of national and ideological representation and its icons.

Jasmina Cibic’s installation reworks two spaces: the scenography of the cinematic space of the film and a performative installation in its antechamber, a space covered in its entirety with representations of a fictitious landscape that the artist has composed from numerous photographs drawn from the archives of Josip Broz Tito’s personal photographers. These present picturesque and sublime landscapes, as captured by artists in the servitude of the state, set the scene for the various protocol events scattered around the globe that were to shape the geo-politics of the post-WWII world. Within this composite landscape, Cibic displays quotes from various political speeches on nation building, as blown up banners deposited throughout the imagined landscape. During the exhibition, a performance will take place, where a group of performers will be gilding this series of positive affirmations as the final act of staging the Gesamtkunstwerk Tear Down and Rebuild.

About the artist:

Curated by Una Popović (MoCAB).

Supported by Nomad, Zagreb.