Kunsthalle Basel opens Aleksandra Domanovic – From yu to me

. April 2, 2012 . 0 Comments

Kunsthalle Basel presents Aleksandra Domanovic – From yu to me, an exhibition on view 1 April–27 May 2012.

Monumentality and national identity – within and beyond borders – are important topics in Aleksandra Domanović ’s work, which often takes place on the internet as well as she broaches this issue in a reflexive manner. From yu to me, Domanović ’s title for her exhibition at Kunsthalle Basel, describes the breakup of former Yugoslavia. The deactivation of the international, countryspecific, and top-level domain .yu (the internet country abbreviation for the nation) in 2010 can be understood as the final, symbolic elimination of the state of Yugoslavia. Yet, as the existing national identity is banned from the internet, new identities emerge. The federated states become indepen- dent and receive their own presence within the virtual world. Montenegro is registered under the domain .me and hence has also virtually become a state of its own. To that end, Domanović repeatedly refers to this political dimen- sion of the internet in the context of Yugoslavia’s complicated late history.

Beyond her dealings in the virtual world, Domanović explores the more indirect effects of Yugoslavia’s breakup by working with its cultural artefacts – namely, the public monuments that can be found in all parts of the for- mer Yugoslavia. These historical remains play a prominent role in the col- lective memory of the inhabitants of new post-Yugoslav states. Accordingly, Domanović ’s practice is a consistently subjective one based on her child- hood memories, as opposed to one steadily engaged in her region’s current affairs.

Born in 1981 in Novi Sad, in the former Yugoslavia, Domanović studied in Ljubljana and Vienna, and then moved later to Berlin, where she continues to live and work today. Nevertheless, and most tellingly, a visit to her website aleksandradomanovic.com is much more worthwhile and informative than a visit to her studio in Berlin. Domanović makes use of digital media, which she quotes, transforms, and archives for her artistic work. She runs the mostly visual blog vvork.com with three colleagues, which is just one example of how the artist positions herself as mediator, and how she uses the digital archive of images as her very work material.

For her exhibition at Kunsthalle Basel, Domanović will show a series of new sculptures as well as further developed versions of previous works. Her paper-stacks (2009 and ongoing) are comprised of A4 and A3 sheets of paper piled into steles. By printing the sheets full-bleed on the margins only, an image is formed on the lateral sides of the stack through the accumu- lation of thousands of sheets piled up. In the paper-stacks, the query of monumentality is as important as the visualisation of content sourced from the internet. Single specific files downloaded and printed from the internet form the steles of the respective groups. Their subjects, varying from images of football hooligans to the ruins of the former Hotel Marina Lučica situated on the Croatian coast, belong to the symbolic iconography of the new states that emerged after Yugoslavia was dissolved. A stack that presents an im- age of the Plitvice Lakes National Park, a registered UNESCO World Heritage, functions as a connection to the region in general, as well as part and parcel of the artist’s personal memory. Domanović visited this park one year be- fore the so-called Plitvice Lake Incident, the first confrontation of the Croa- tian War of Independence. Nevertheless, the park is part of a now disbanded collective memory, as it is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the for- mer Yugoslavia. – www.kunsthallebasel.ch

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