In recent times, on an international level, the conflict of commemoration between contemporary art and an older, nationalist memorial culture has gotten a lot of attention in conjunction with the movement of Black Lives Matter. Such a kind of conflict is ongoing with regards to the wars in Yugoslavia (1991-2001). In the process of moving from the present to the realm of the past, a re-evaluation of what will be remembered from the war and how is unavoidable. In former Yugoslavia, this process has come to involve a wide array of agents, materials and forms of expression. This project researches how contemporary art that is rooted in the region — artists, artists groups, collectives and organizations — has been tying in with this movement of memorialization since the end of the war, offering a critical perspective on an official history often embodied by monuments of heroism, nationalism and unity. Our research questions are: in what way does contemporary art represent the conflict in former Yugoslavia? Why is it a matter of contention in contemporary art today? Does art produce a new kind of memory culture?
Gathering three researchers, with an expertise in aesthetics, political theory, memory culture and the cultural history of former Yugoslavia, the project will study the critical role of post-Yugoslav visual art with regards to transitional justice, the production of new monuments of genocide and the problematic link between memory culture and revisionist history.