Lessons on Defense, series of digital prints

Prints, Identity is uncertainty #2, Photo: Daniel Jarosch / Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen

Lessons on Defense, series of four digital prints, 2020
Book Lessons on Defense published by KURS and Büchs’n’Books – Art and Knowledge Production in Context, 2020

This series of graphics is final part of long term research about culture within People’s Liberation Movement in Yugoslavia during the WWII. Photographs, archival materials and research insights are translated into visual language. Our focus in conducted research was on production processes and organization of cultural activity. The prints follow different aspects of partisan culture that we described as: peoples, revolutionary and state building. Our aim was to actualize significance of this historical period and to see what can we learn today from the cultural practice of the anti fascist movement. The visitor can read about these processes in the book, after seeing the references.

Set up view Identity is uncertainty #2, Photo: Daniel Jarosch / Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen
Identity is uncertainty #2, Photo: Daniel Jarosch / Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen
Book Lessons on Defense and list of archive used in prints, Identity is uncertainty #2, Photo: Daniel Jarosch / Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen

For more information about the book Lessons on Defense visit this page.

From the curator’s text

From right-wing history to left-wing partisan struggle: In the left wing of the Kunstpavillon KURS (Mirjana Radovanović and Miloš Miletić) presents a series of graphic works titled Lessons on Defence, which were created in the context of the eponymous study on the cultural practices and the significance of culture within the Yugoslav Partisan Movement during the Second World War. This study was already conducted in 2016 and 2017, its results, however, were until now only published in Serbian. As part of the Büchsenhausen Fellowship, Radovanović and Miletić revised their text and edited it for an international readership – at last, this version has been translated into English and published in the book serie Büchs’n’Books – Art and Knowledge Production in Context with the additional support from the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.

Now, why should one deal with a subject in 2020 that at first glance appears to be merely historical, and therefore relevant at best to subject-experts? Radovanović and Miletić argue with the potential topicality of knowledge that can be derived from the cultural practices in times of danger and uncertainty, yet characterized by a strong desire for social change, for today’s art and cultural production. Even though the partisan culture was the result of specific historical circumstances, KURS argues that then-practices could be productively applied today, not least because of the revisionist tendencies in the countries of former Yugoslavia – and surely elsewhere in Europe and the world – that instrumentalize culture under the pretext of lacking alternatives to capitalism as a means of depoliticizing anti-fascist movements. The imperative capability of such a confrontation with a past that, while not wholly erased from social consciousness, has undoubtedly been severely marginalized, also holds the possibility of a sharper perception of the commodification efforts to which art practices are currently subjected, and consequently the development of counter measurements.

With this in mind, the graphics presented in the exhibition are not only to be understood as aesthetic artefacts but rather as visualizations of content dealt with in the book. Visitors are invited to sit down at the white table and, while reading the book, to immerse into another time, when the struggle for survival for a new, egalitarian and prosperous social order was still at stake.

Andrei Siclodi

Identity is uncertainty #2, Photo: Daniel Jarosch / Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen
Identity is uncertainty #2, Photo: Daniel Jarosch / Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen, installation on the right Lena Ditte Nissen

The exhibition Identity is Uncertainty #2. ‹Trauma›‹Art›‹Activism›‹Revolution› is final exhibition by participants in the Fellowship Program for Art and Theory at Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen 2019-20. Anna Dasović, KURS (Mirjana Radovanović and Miloš Miletić), Lena Ditte Nissen and Airi Triisberg.
December 2010 – April 2021, Kunstpavillon, Innsbruck, Austria