• Against Art - Goran Djordjević, 1979-1985
Against Art - Goran Djordjević, 1979-1985

by Branislav Dimitrijević
AGAINST ART – Goran Djordjević, 1979-1985

AGAINST ART was supposed to be the title of the exhibition by Goran Djordjević held in January 1980 in Students’ Cultural Centre in Belgrade. But, the curator of the gallery decided that the title was too provocative, or undermining for the operation of the gallery, so the artist finally settled to call his project The Exhibition. However, on the back of the invitation card the following statement was printed: Works at this exhibition are not works of art. They are just attitudes to art. Or, to put it more precisely, they are attitudes against art. I think this is the last moment to unequivocally tear down from art its mask of freedom and humanism and to reveal its real face, the face of loyal and humble servant.

This was the time when Goran Djordjević questioned not only any longer the exclusivity of the traditional narrative of art, but also the role played by the “new artistic practice” which encompassed many variants of conceptual art of the 1970s. After the “disappointing” outcome of his initiative for the International Strike of Artists in 1979 and after a reconsideration of the “iconoclastic” nature of conceptual art, Djordjević began employing another strategy of “fighting against art with the means of art itself”: the copy.

Since 1985 there have been a number of events that have been associated with Djordjević (International Exhibition of Modern Art in 1986, Salon de Fleurus in New York in the 1990s, Kunsthistorisches Mausoleum opened in Belgrade, and many others) and in which the dense theoretical substance of the copy is revealed in many stories and contexts. The aim of the talk is to shed some light on the works of Goran Djordjević prior to 1985 in order to show the genealogy of one specific and actively “peripherical” operation in the field of art.

Dr Branislav Dimitrijević is Professor of History and Theory of Art at the School for Art and Design and Nova Academia in Belgrade. He also teaches at the Curatorial Practice course at the Belgrade University of Arts (Erasmus Programme). Main field of his historical research is visual art, popular culture and film in socialist Yugoslavia. As a curator he explores “site-specificity” and “physical narrativity” in contemporary art and politics of display. His curatorial projects include:Murder1 (CZKD, Belgrade, 1997), Konverzacija (MOCAB, 2001), Situated Self: Confused, Compassionate, Conflictual (Helsinki City Museum; MOCAB, 2005),Breaking Step – Displacement, Compassion and Humour in recent art from Britain (MOCAB, 2007), FAQ Serbia (ACF, New York, 2010), No Network (D0 Nuclear bunker, Konjic, Bosnia, 2011), etc.
In the last twenty years he has written and edited numerous books and catalogues including On Normality: Art in Serbia 1989-2001 (MOCA Belgrade, 2005), Good Life: Physical Narratives and Spatial Imagination (Belgrade Cultural Centre, 2012) and most recently GoranDjordjević - Against Art (MOCA Belgrade, 2014). Since 2014 he regularly writes on political and cultural issues for “Peščanik” web portal (http://pescanik.net/author/branislav-dimitrijevic/).
Dimitrijević holds an MA degree in History and Theory of Art from the University of Kent (UK), and has received his PhD in Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies from the University of Arts in Belgrade for the thesis on the emergence of consumer culture in the socialist Yugoslavia.
Selectedtextsavailable at:https://independent.academia.edu/BranislavDimitrijevic

Summer School as School is a project by Stacion – Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina, supported by: Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of the Republic of Kosovo, Culture for all – phase III, Kosova Foundation for Open Society, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Albania, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo, Ministry for European Integration of the Republic of Kosovo, Federal Chancellery of Austria, Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, Technomarket, Sindikata, X-print and DZG.