The works by the four finalists of The ZVONO 2018 Award represent four individual artistic positions, which regardless of the variety of mediums and topics—manage to jointly critically reflect on the actual contemporary social reality in BIH, taking into account its history, politics and intimate archives.
In the video work A monument to the fallen war heroes of the future war (2017) Igor Bošnjak plays with the semantics of the past and the future, an idea encoded in the oxymoron “the fallen war heroes and the future war” and a concrete already existing object, to which the artist assigns new meaning. With a critical attitude towards the specific past of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region, Bošnjak tries to reinvent the socio-political future in a dystopian manner and proposes a new kind of monument.
Bošnjak conceptually and visually tackles the concept of public space by using the artistic means of appropriation of the found object, whose value and semantics are completely changed by a simple act of nomination. Nomination and language again represent the basis of the artistic value even in his second video work “Is there death after life?” (2018).
The basic philosophical, ie. ontological issues, which the weight of this work rests on, emerge from a simple inversion of the words death and life in the dogmatic question “Is there life after death?”, creating confusion as the basis for the possibility of new questionings and conclusions. With the dystopian aesthetics in the relation between the character and the landscape, the artist accentuates the idea of isolation, expectation, the impossibility of the ultimate congnition and the limited human perception of time and its attempts to control it.
These two video works tackle the most universal existential issues—in an attempt to overcome human spatial-temporal constraints on one side, while at the same time consciously accepting and criticizing them in their particular socio-political context.
In the art works of Saša Tatić, socio-political context(s) are perceived and archived from a completely intimate perspective through the symbolism of the family house and its construction. The work (Un)Finished house: The monument (2017) consists of 8 photographs and various documents that testify to the beginning of the construction of this yet (not) completed house.
The artist looks at her family house as a monument to the widespread regional practice of the functional use of houses that, due to socio-political and economic conditions, remain in the unfinished form—without a facade. Considering this locally widespread, uniformed phenomenon, she put in motion an application for her family home to be proclaimed a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina, outlining this documentation with the work itself, referring not only to widespread problematic administrative processes, but also the processuality of the art work.
Using personal family history as a starting point in the video performance The Bedrock – The Bedrock II (2017) Tatić again questions the idea of a family home in a broader social context, comparing socio-economic possibilities of three generations within a family.
Encouraged by her father’s example, who had already built her house in her age, the artist is trying to build her own home in accordance with her current possibilities and with the help of friends and family members. Due to the lack of opportunity to continue to invest in the construction, after a certain period of time under the influence of weather conditions, a significant amount of excavated land returns to the position from which it was originally dislocated, leaving behind visible traces of previous intervention.
After that, Tatić organized the excavation of the land once more, which already takes the form of a Sisyphus work, pointing out the tendencies of young generations, who through family succession try to actively process hopes and risks of the unpredictable future.
Hardcore (2017) is a performative installation of Nikola Kekerović, which starts from the process of collecting small rocks, insufficiently strong in order to cause damage when being thrown, but sufficiently important to solidify the foundations and core of his concrete eggs during formation. After this process of collecting, Kekerović adds with his sophisticated sculptural means an outer, concrete frame, by which the shape of the eggs reaches perfection.
Concrete eggs in open cards constantly invite the visitor to take them, that is, create the tension between the moment of taking concrete eggs into their hands and throwing them towards a certain goal. Their existence in this form of ready to be taken to a certain place at a given time, indicates a protest that has yet to take place. Concrete eggs are, in fact, in their ambivalence conceived as ideas dangerous to society. Visitors are left with no explanation for which protests the eggs should be used.
The starting point for the second Kekerović’s work, Dicktator (2014-), accurately represents the basis of his artistic irony, humor and sarcasm. Dicktator is in fact a series of digital drawings that Kekerović regularly publishes on their specially created Instagram profile – @dicktator0.
This artwork is actually a long-term project, a drawing performance that is constantly in the process of creation. Kekerović takes words and phrases from everyday political speech and puts them into a dictatorship drawing paradigm, through which they become embodied in their phallic form.
The Dicktator was created as a project in which the publishes drawings made on his mobile phone on social networks, which enabled him to receive feedback and audience comments very soon after the announcement. In this way, an increasingly frequent dialogue between the audience and the “Dicktator” began to develop.
In her artistic practice, Vesna Majstorović, among other things, constantly deals with questioning the universality of the notions of beauty and physical attraction, as well as media and social manipulation over the construction of such terms. It is precisely from these questions that the work Are you born to be pretty (2017), through which she refers to her internal and conflicting relationship between the identity of the girl and the artist, arose.
While the first part of this work in the form of video emphasizes the gap between the viewer and the content, the other part of the work through intervention in the public space also makes such a move—indicating the possibility of confronting the passers-by directly with the suggestive and imperative question: Are you born to be pretty?
The continuation of her activities in the public space is realized through the artistic intervention Safikada’s Monument (2017), which brings forward the neglected Banja Luka legend of eternal love from the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, reminding of the brave act of the love hero Safikada. The mutual but forbidden love between Safikada and the Austro-Hungarian soldier, who at the time bears the sign of the occupiers, ends with Safikada’s suicide.
The ignorance, disregard and total lack of any maintaining activities by the city authorities and the situation in which it was prior to Majstorović’s artistic intervention of cleaning and reparation, as well speaks of the current policy of the systematic push into oblivion of certain parts of the history of Banja Luka.
The works of Igor Bošnjak, as well as the finalist Nikola Kekerović, Saša Tatić and Vesna Majstorović are available to the public at the exhibition at the premises of the Association SKLOP until 14.12.2018.
Finalists of The ZVONO Award 2018:
Igor BOŠNJAK (*1981, Sarajevo)
Nikola KEKEROVIĆ (*1991, Banja Luka)
Vesna MAJSTOROVIĆ (*1994, Gradiška)
Saša TATIĆ (*1991, Banja Luka)
The finalists were selected by an international jury consisting of:
Jean-Claude FREYMOND-GUTH, independent curator and artist advisor (Basel/CH & Brussels/BE); Nina KOMEL, artist and the Zvono award winner 2016 (Brod/BA), Karina KOTTOVA, curator & director of the Jindřich Chalupecký Society (Prague/CZE); James Merle TMOMAS, Professor of Global Contemporary Art, Tyler School of Art, Temple University (Philadelphia/US), Christopher YGGDRE, director L’ Agence à Paris/FR & co-curator Pavilion of Bosnia-Herzegovina at the 57th Biennale di Venezia, 2017 (Paris/FR).
The winner of this year’s ZVONO Award for Young Visual Artists in Bosnia and Herzegovina is Igor Bošnjak (* 1981, Sarajevo). He will attend a two-month art residency in New York at Residency Unlimited, starting from February 2019. Further, a solo exhibition of his work will be realised upon his return from the USA.
Bošnjak graduated from painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Trebinje, and received his master’s degree at the University of Art in Belgrade, in the program Interdisciplinary Studies: Art and Media Theory. He is currently teaching at the Academy of Fine Arts in Trebinje. He was already selected as the finalist of the ZVONO award in 2010.
The ZVONO Award for Young Visual Artists in BiH was founded in 2006 by the Association SCCA Sarajevo Center for Contemporary Art. From 2017, the new official partner for the organization of the ZVONO Award in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the Association for Research, Documentation and Presentation of Art SKLOP.
The ZVONO Award is realized by SKLOP with two partners from New York: The Trust for Mutual Understanding and Residency Unlimited.
The ZVONO Award is part of the YVAA Young Visual Artists Award, whose members comprise a total of 12 countries of Southeast Europe (www.yvaawards.org).
The project is supported by the Government of Switzerland.