Galerie du jour agnès b – Paris 2014
« A people with no memory is a people with no future »
Artists : Gordana Anđelić-Galić, Maja Bajević, Igor Bošnjak, Lana Čmajčanin, Andrej Ðerković, Jusuf Hadžifejzović, Nela Hasanbegović, Ibro Hasanović, Adela Jušić, Šejla Kamerić, Milomir Kovačević, Nina Knežević, Radenko Milak, Mladen Miljanović, Damir Radović, Lala Raščić, Nebojsa Šerić-Shoba, Irena Sladoje, Alma Suljević, Edo Vejselović
Curated by Pierre Courtin
The Memory Lane exhibition gathers artists who live or used to live in Bosnia Herzegovina. Most of them live in Sarajevo, others come from Banja-Luka, Trebinje, Prishtina, New-York, Paris, Berlin or New Orleans. The exhibition is entitled after a work by Adela Jušić ; it gathers artists who occasionally or permanently explore the manifold issue of individual and collective memory. Memory Lane immerges the viewers into the memory of the Balkans, more precisely of Bosnia, a country that has been built and rebuilt on the ruins and remnants of a common history and on memories that diverge, like many forking paths, to paraphrase Borges. Memory Lane is an exhibition of memories, paths and contradictory lanes, of real places and passages from fiction to documentary, a collective exhibition that sheds light on the singular trajectories of major artists from the art scene in Bosnia – a scene whose very existence is explored and questionned here. This interrogation summons artists whose sense of belonging to a country – Bosnia – is another issue: some of them have had to migrate at some point, physically or mentally; besides, Bosnia as a country remains an unresolved issue. Personal or collective memory is the point of convergence where questions are raised, where certain answers confront each other, where certain words, images and ideas are born, where the meaning of memories surfaces, the the meaning of concrete documentation material comes to life and emerge as the building blocks of metaphorical balance sheet of the current state of affairs. Memory is like a second nation that overlaps with the real nation and offers multiple angles of refraction. The artists featured in Memory Lane were hit by the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina during their childhood or their youth. Here they are going back to it with a double movement of rememberance and of projection: memory is also a thing which informs the present and determines the future – as Paul Garde’s words above remind us.
So here we are in a sense making a “gesture of remembrance”, which is necessarily manifold and fragmentary, made of fragments, and gives birth to works produced during a post-war era when the country’s institutions are barred from studying history, dealing justice, reconciling memories, and building a shared future. Artists are unquestionably part of the avant-garde of a civil society determined to shoulder these tasks, taking the lead ahead of the ruling powers and admininistrations, but they do so with tools that extend far beyond politics, and that revisit it. Their task is to offer new ways of perceiving reality by exploring what shapes it: its memory, its persistance, and the elements it suppresses. In a different post-war context, which each of them experienced from different perspectives, artists with little in common gather and declare: “The new realists have become aware of their collective singularity. New Realism : “new perceptive approaches of the real.”
The gesture of remembrance that the show seeks to exhibit obeys the same principle of collective singularity and fractal realism. The works gathered here are neither judgements, nor monuments to the dead, nor even hackneyed statements on things past. With their sharp focus, and by building a close-knit network of meaningful sensitive elements, they testify to a nationwide work-in-progress. They explore places of memory which also serve as fields of self-projection (public and private spaces, archetypal and mediatised images, body of the artist, random objects, ghosts, and symbols of the recent past).
Pierre Courtin & Alexis Argyroglo
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