United Colors of Mono-National at the Venice Biennial
As it was carved in stone at the time it was built in 1938, the pavilion JUGOSLAVIA was envisioned to present the cultural achievements of three then officially acknowledged nations – Serbs, Croats, and Slovenians. Its multi-national inception was challenged twice by mono-national presentations – briefly during the fascist occupation when it represented Independent State of Croatia (a vassal Nazi state) in 1942, and then ultimately after the violent demise of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, when along with other former Yugoslav institutions the pavilion was appropriated by the Serbian state.
Within Socialist Yugoslavia (1945-1991) the pavilion became known for its modernist approach that aimed to represent all nations and minorities in Yugoslavia. The subsequent democratic governments of Serbia, today represented by a right wing coalition in power, continued with mono-national politics of display within the field of contemporary art. In the same manner, the current exhibition “There Is Nothing Between Us,” organized by the “trans-national and post-global curator Maja Ciric” does not question the nature of the brutal appropriation of the pavilion. It presents the works by two artists – Milos Tomic and Vladimir Peric-Talent – and examines “the relations between play and game, between art and life.”Milica Tomić and Jelena Vesić