Danica Dakić will present a major solo exhibition of new work in the Pavilion of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the 58th edition of the 58th Venice Biennale running from May 11, 2019 until November 24, 2019. The artist was invited by a curatorial team consisting of Anja Bogojević, Amila Puzić, and Claudia Zini appointed by the commissioning institution Ars Aevi Museum of Contemporary Art Sarajevo.
The Bosnian participation at the Venice Biennale is supported by the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, whose expert commission appointed Ars Aevi Museum of Contemporary Art Sarajevo to manage the Pavilion of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Venice. The project is also supported by the Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the City of Sarajevo, Sarajevo Center for Contemporary Arts / pro.ba and the Foundation for Cinematography Sarajevo.
The artist will present her new film installation Zenica Trilogy, which was realised with protagonists from the cities of Zenica and Sarajevo. The project is the result of collaboration with photographer Egbert Trogemann, producer Amra Bakšić Čamo, and composer Bojan Vuletić.
“In her approach to the Bosnia and Herzegovina Pavilion project Danica Dakić investigates the heritage of modernity, from Bauhaus to the utopian paradigms of international and Socialist modernism. It exemplifies her search to reactivate utopian potentials by establishing a poetic relationship to the Bosnian post-war reality. Taking a cue from Walter Gropius’ Total Theatre (1926/27) and extending it to a space for social activation, the dividing lines between stage and audience, the real and the imagined city, are dissolved. In dialogue with the grand architecture of the listed Palazzo Bernardo exhibition venue Zenica Trilogy will generate complex new meanings,” the members of the curatorial team explain.
In her artistic practice, the Sarajevo-born artist Danica Dakić reflects on the poetics of human existence while collaborating with protagonists who often come from the invisible sections of societies. Using the media of photography, video, and installation, her work is based on performative and collaborative processes that explore concepts of cultural memory, language, and identity as well as their ongoing changes and utopian potentials. Taking architecture, a historical place, or images from (art)history as a starting point, together with the participants she creates stages on which individual images and narratives emerge that are far removed from political, social, and economic prerogatives.
“Zenica Trilogy addresses social and individual responsibility in the context of contemporary Bosnia and Herzegovina. Once the site of one of the largest steel factories in Europe and the symbol of Yugoslav modernist progress, the period after the Bosnian war has left the city of Zenica facing high rates of unemployment, extreme air pollution as well as a general feeling of resignation among the population. In my mother tongue the word 'Zenica' evokes the image of the pupil of the eye—a metaphor for something precious as well as a focal point. Together with the protagonists, I set out to investigate the possibilities and impossibilities of a transition between utopia and dystopia, between the past and the future,” says artist Danica Dakić about the new work.
Over the past twenty years Danica Dakić’s work has been exhibited at numerous international exhibitions. She first presented one of her most well-known works, El Dorado, at Documenta 12 in Kassel (2007). She has exhibited at the Istanbul Biennial (2003 and 2009), the Biennale of Sydney (2010), the Liverpool Biennial (2010), the Kyiv Biennale (2012), the Bienal de São Paulo (2014), and the Bienal de Cuenca (2016). Her solo exhibitions have been presented by major art institutions including Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (2009), Generali Foundation, Vienna (2010), the Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb (2010), Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2011), MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main (2013), Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg (2017). Her works are held in the collections of the Centre Pompidou (Paris), the Generali Foundation (Salzburg), the Museum of Contemporary Art MACBA (Barcelona), the New National Museum of Monaco NMNM and the Klassik Stiftung Weimar amongst others. Danica Dakić is a professor at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. She lives in Düsseldorf, Weimar, and Sarajevo.
The exhibition Zenica Trilogy by artist Danica Dakić will be on view from May 11 until November 24, 2019. The Pavilion of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the 58th Venice Biennale will be hosted at Palazzo Ca’ Bernardo in Sestriere San Polo, Venice.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue with contributions by Ulrike Bestgen, Dunja Blažević, Anja Bogojević, Ana Janevski, Amila Puzić, and Claudia Zini.
About the curatorial team
Anja Bogojević is an art historian and a curator living and working in Sarajevo. She teaches at the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo. Her focus is on topics of socially engaged practice, public space and contemporary artistic and curatorial practices. Together with Amila Puzić, she runs the Association for Contemporary Curatorial and Art Practices "Mart".
Amila Puzić is an art historian and a curator living and working in Mostar and Gothenburg. She is currently writing a PhD thesis titled “Art Practices and Strategies in Bosnian-Herzegovinian Art from 1992 to 1999” at the University of Zagreb. Together with Anja Bogojević, she runs the Association for Contemporary Curatorial and Art Practices "Mart".
Claudia Zini is an art historian and a curator from Italy. She is currently a PhD candidate at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London with a thesis titled “Post-war Negotiations: Art from Bosnia and Herzegovina in Global Fields”. She is also the founder and director of “Kuma International - Center for Visual Arts from Post-Conflict Societies”. She lives and works in Sarajevo.
About the commissioning institution
Ars Aevi Museum for Contemporary Art Sarajevo
Director: Senka Ibrišimbegović
During the first year of the Siege of Sarajevo, in 1992, the idea was born to create an international museum of contemporary art in Sarajevo as an expression of cultural resistance and as a protest against the aggression inflicted upon the city: Ars Aevi (partial anagram of the word “Sarajevo,” meaning “art of the epoch” in Latin). This idea is linked to the tradition of the city of Sarajevo as a meeting place of the different cultures of the East and the West, which have for centuries created a network of coexistence and collectiveness. The first step in establishing this “museum of the world’s artists” was the creation of the Ars Aevi Collection. The concept entails that the collection is formed by applying a unique model of collaboration with museums, centres, and foundations of contemporary art in the Mediterranean region and beyond. More than 200 artists, including Maja Bajević, Bizhan Bassiri, Daniel Buren, Danica Dakić, Dean Toumin Jokanović, Joseph Kosuth, Jannis Kounellis, Panamarenko and Michelangelo Pistoletto, decided to donate artworks to the museum. Renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano has designed the projected Ars Aevi Museum building.