ZOOM LECTURE AND CONVERSATION
13/04 2021 AT 7pm CET
As part of the online public program series Evenings with WHW Akademija, which includes lectures by various artists, curators and activists, workshops and other types of participatory programs, next week we are hosting curator Zdenka Badovinac, who will discuss rethinking the notion of “locality” and artistic and institutional practices in the current sociopolitical moment.
In my lecture I will focus on the question of how much it still makes sense to deal with art and culture from particular regions, such as Eastern Europe, the Balkans or the territory of former Yugoslavia, and whether representations of these spaces have ever been anything more than just an instrument of their commodification. I will try to rethink this issue from two current perspectives: first in light of the growth of autocratic regimes in Eastern Europe and second from the perspective of the pandemic.
Recently, some political and cultural initiatives have emerged seeking to create closer integrations in the central part of formerly socialist Europe, strongly stimulated by right-wing politicians. We are once again being told that “the West is in decline,” and that it is necessary to build on domestic traditions, on family, and on national sentiment. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has initiated another sort of interest in the local, which is linked to questions of care and solidarity.
I will refer to different contemporary dilemmas related to questions of the regional and the local as seen through the perspective of my own museum practice and that of some Eastern European projects.
One example we’ll look at is the case of the exhibition Bigger than Myself, which will soon open at MAXXI: Museum of XXI Century Art in Rome and which was condemned, even before it opened, by the official Slovene politics as being too “Yugoslav” and not Slovene enough.
Is it still possible to think about the local from a planetary perspective — which goes beyond right-wing nationalism, self-sufficient provincialism and the neoliberal commodification of different spaces? — Z.B.
Zdenka Badovinac is a curator and writer who served from 1993 to 2020 as Director of the Moderna galerija in Ljubljana, which since 2011 has spanned two locations: the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova. In her work, Badovinac highlights the difficult processes of redefining history alongside different avant-garde traditions within contemporary art. Her first exhibition to address these issues was Body and the East — From the 1960s to the Present, Moderna galerija, 1998. Badovinac also initiated the first Eastern European art collection, Arteast 2000+. One her most important recent projects is NSK from Kapital to Capital: Neue Slowenische Kunst – An Event of the Final Decade of Yugoslavia, Moderna galerija, 2015 (which also traveled to Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 2016; Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, 2016; and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, 2017). Other recent exhibitions include NSK State Pavilion, 5th Venice Biennale, 2017, co-curated with Charles Esche; The Heritage of 1989. Case Study: The Second Yugoslav Documents Exhibition, Moderna galerija, 2017, co-curated with Bojana Piškur; Sites of Sustainability: Pavilions, Manifestos and Crypts; Hello World. Revising a Collection, Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin, 2017; and Heavenly Beings: Neither Human nor Animal, Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Ljubljana, 2018, co-curated with Bojana Piškur.
Badovinac’s most recent book is Comradeship: Curating, Art, and Politics in Post-socialist Europe (Independent Curators International, 2019). She is a founding member of L’Internationale, a confederation of seven modern and contemporary European art institutions. Badovinac was Slovenian Commissioner at the Venice Biennale from 1993 to 1997 and in 2005; Austrian Commissioner at the São Paulo Biennial in 2002; and President of CIMAM – International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art from 2010 to 2013.
This program is presented as part of the collaborative project Communities of Learning, Bridging the Gap of Isolation, initiated by WHW and supported by the Culture of Solidarity Fund of the European Cultural Foundation.
The program is supported by:
Foundation for Arts Initiatives
European Cultural Foundation
Kontakt Collection / ERSTE Foundation
Kultura Nova Foundation
Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia
City of Zagreb