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REAL PRESENCE
Karlstad University.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7441-1580
2019 (English)In: REAL PRESENCE / [ed] Dobrila Denegri, Biljana Tomic, Belgrade: Publikum Printing Company , 2019, 500, p. 138-139Chapter in book (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.)) [Artistic work]
Abstract [en]

REAL PRESENCE was 10 years, 13 cities, 68 exhibitions in institutions and public locations, 1564 young artists and students from, 105 academies and universities from 37 countries, 150 statements of artists who took part and who are today active and established

“Real Presence” was huge international event dedicated to

young artists, organised for the first time in Belgrade in 2001, with intent to symbolically mark the

beginning of new century and new democratic shift in Serbia, after 10 years of war, cultural

embargo and deep political, economical and social crisis. More than just an artistic event, “Real

Presence” represented a unique form of cultural activism. It stood for openness and

inclusiveness, since it started as an ‘open call’ to young artists and art-students from various

European countries to come to Belgrade, just ‘be present’, and through their presence create

concrete and symbolic space of artistic expression, exchange, solidarity and mutual learning.

First edition of “Real Presence” was inaugurated with Harald Szeemann, one of the most groundbreaking

curators of our times, who commented his encounter with this event in following words:

“What Biljana and Dobrila wanted and achieved wasn’t an addition to the already overloaded art

agenda, it was a piece of given life to the capital of an impoverished nation.”

For us as initiators, and for young generations of Belgrade artists, “Real Presence” became

annual appointment, expected and organised with great enthusiasm, even if always with

restrictions of low-budgets. Seemed vital to maintain and preserve this “free space” in which artist

could just be. They could be together, learn from each other, collaborate and build networks for

their future. In ten years of its existence, “Real Presence” became a unique cultural phenomena.

There is nothing similar in scale, range, duration and spirit of openness. It is so because it was

grounded in Biljana Tomic’s curatorial work which embodied the spirit of the 60s and the 70s, and

it’s huge international manifestations which gathered in Belgrade some of most important artistic

figures of Neo-Avantguardes. Starting with Joseph Beuys and other important protagonists of

Fluxus, land and conceptual art, performance & body art, new media and video art, Biljana Tomic

established contacts with art academies and art centres, laying grounds for upfront, experimental,

and, most of all, open and international artistic environment in which were formed dozens of

generations. With the cultural embargo of the 90s this cultural climate chased to exist. “Real

Presence” was an attempt to re-establish artistic dialogue between Serbia and the world, and to

provide an opportunity for generations raised during the war to overcome devastating effects of

violent, nationalistic and xenophobic 90s. Out of this dynamic, pluralistic, inclusive artmanifestation

emerged generations of artists which are now building (or trying to build) the most

progressive artistic scene in Serbia, continuing to keep open all possible channels of cultural

collaboration and exchange.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Belgrade: Publikum Printing Company , 2019, 500. p. 138-139
Keywords [en]
Fine Arts, activism, political, manifestation, war, public places, Museum of Yugoslavia
National Category
Arts
Research subject
Visual Arts
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-71919ISBN: 978-86-87665-04-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-71919DiVA, id: diva2:1307949
Available from: 2019-04-29 Created: 2019-04-29 Last updated: 2019-05-22Bibliographically approved

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Parsberg, Cecilia

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