Contemporary Balkan art on view in London

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Contemporary Balkan art on view in London
Emir Sehanovic, Mlada, 2013. 3D multilayer collage, old photographs, 15.7 x 12 x 0.4.

LONDON.- Contemporary Balkan Art presents Interruption at LIBRARY on St Martin’s Lane, showcasing 40 individual works from 16 Balkan artists including paintings, sculptures, photographs, prints and graphics. Interruption’s aim is to bring the Balkan's rich artistic philosophy to Great Britain and will feature new works by artists from Romania, Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Bosnia. These artists are the brightest stars of the contemporary Balkan art scene and are currently breaking into the American art market.

The contemporary Balkan art scene is characterized by a common self-reflection, springing from the social conditions which these artists inhabit, with many of the works exploring social commentary and lived experience. From the collapse of Yugoslav socialism in the early 1990s to the present day, contemporary art from the Balkans is characterized by social fragmentation, cultural interruption and economic uncertainty leading to rapid cultural and demographic changes. Collectively, their work explores abstract humor to counterbalance existential difficulties arising from a multi-faceted national identity. Included in the exhibition there are also artists whose works reflects the humoristic appropriation of codes of popular culture.

Interruption explores artists’ responses to the identity of the Balkans over the last 26 years. The disintegration of Yugoslavia is reflected in the work by the Serbian artist Mirza Dedac, who depicts himself dressed in military clothes from his military service in Serbia and Montenegro, and in the second picture he is wearing an Albanian national costume, to reflect his heritage. The two identities merge into one, to exemplify that they are the same.

Mirza Dedac said: “Such competing identities are characteristic of post-Yugoslav states, and I am not aware of that degree of separation between identities anywhere else.”

Serbian fashion photographer Jovana Mladenovic's work 'Monumental Fear' explores the many WWII monuments spread across the whole former Yugoslavia and presents them to audience outside the specific region through art and not just history.

Tadija Janicic’s (1980, Montenegro) whose playful collage like paintings explore surreal scenarios such as a naked man killed by a disco ball (Death at the Discotheque), and naked couple riding away on a horse (She left with Another Man and took the Cat) that has the comic likeness of Beryl Cook’s work.

Street artist Emir Sehanovic (1981, Bosnia and Herzegovina) plays with digital images and 3D materials such as wax and fabric to contrast vintage portraits that have been obscured by a drape over the head, or dripping wax over the eyes.

In contrast to the bright and colorful humoristic pieces in the show, Petar Mirkovic’s (1978, Serbia) photorealistic black and white charcoal drawings on paper captures imagined stills in Hollywood cinema, depicting the shady gangster underworld and urban landscapes.

Featured Artists: Dragos Burlacu · Mirza Decac · Lidija Delic · Aleksandar Dimitrijevic · Roman Djuranovic · Stanimir Genov . Nemanja Golijanin · Nina Ivanovic · Tadija Janicic · Zolt Kovac Iva Kuzmanovic · Jovana Mladenovic · Petar Mirkovic · Nemanja Nikolic · Emir Sehanovic . Marija Sevic.

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