Marina Grzinic on Mon, 11 Feb 2008 20:14:55 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> DETAILS contemporary art exhibit from Prishtina closed in Belgrade

Dear all, 

Here is a precise EYEWITNESS recount about the exhibition opening EXCEPTION:
Contemporary art scene from Prishtina, scheduled to be open on the 7.02.2008

"The situation was that there were massive protests going on outside the
gallery space, the protesters were violent nationalist, the Serbian police
was closing the streets in order to prevent the hooligan mob from reaching
the gallery (in the same time they also prevented the visitors to attend the
exhibition opening so it was mainly media and police in the space). 

The violation of the opening was tolerated by the police (the whole gallery
was full of policemen but they didn't react for around 10min although they
were asked to do so several times). The police was even a protagonist in the
action of closing down the exhibition. They were in the gallery all day long
when the exhibition was constructed and in informal talks, it turned out
that most of them were in Kosovo themselves (Kosovo war was mainly fought by
Serbian police, not by army) and they made remarks like "I'll not defend
this exhibition". After the violation of the opening, some of them went into
ideological discussions with the curators. Immediately after the violation,
they asked the director of the space to sign an agreement not to use the
space in the next days and not to open the exhibition again.

So the police's plan was to prevent the mob from reaching the gallery which
would have meant uncontrolled riots (happened at gay pride in 2001

They wanted the opening to be stopped and the exhibition not to take place.
This was a political decision, taken by high political representatives,
supported by almost all political parties and almost all media and
accomplished by ultra-radical forces (obraz
with the help of the Serbian police.

before the exhibition was supposed to be opened in Belgrade a big scandal
was produced because of the work you can see on page 40 of the catalogue
(, it shows adem
jashari (, an UCK-leader who is
considered as freedom fighter by Albanians and stylized to a national icon
in Kosovo whereas Serbs consider him as a war criminal and terrorist. the
work was destroyed at the opening. But of course all what is going on is not
about the work itself - the work is replaceable. It is about the fact that
nationalistic forces in Serbia cant stand that the exhibition shows
contemporary art from Kosovo in which the Kosovarian young generation is
perfectly capable to powerfully formulate their position."

Best, Marina Grzinic

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