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Lessons from ’91 in Berlin



»Lessons from 1991: about nationalism, war and lessons learned«

Opening: Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 19h
Exhibition: April 5 – 22, 2017

Discussion: Thursday, April 6, 2017, 19h
on the topic „The rise of nationalism in Yugoslavia – consequences and lessons learned“

Opening hours: Wed-Sat 14-18h
Admission free

“Lessons from 1991” will look at the year 1991 and its aftermath through the eyes and lenses of photographers, who have documented the war in Yugoslavia over years. They say, that in war truth dies first and this is also true for photography. In war, the seemingly impartial medium becomes a means of manipulation and deception, a tool for reaching political goals. The exhibition will look at this phenomenon and present works of photographers from all former Yugoslav countries, that will visually present the role of nationalism in the Yugoslav war. The exhibitions and discussions with photo reporters, journalists, historians and politicians already took place in Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia.

From 04.04. – 22.04.2017 Berliners will have the opportunity to see the unique exhibition at BOX Freiraum in Berlin.
The exhibition has gathered for the first time in this quantity at one single location photographers from the entire region in order to depict war years in the area of the former Yugoslavia. Without pretending to be a universal historical depiction of the war or to offer answers to unanswerable questions, the exhibition represents war photographers’ perspectives on the reality they witnessed during their visits to the political and real battlegrounds from Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, to Serbia, Kosovo and FYR Macedonia.
These photographs played an important role during the war itself, shaping not only the public opinion in all war struck countries, but also the opinion of the international public. Today they are even more important to us as foundations of the collective memory, as sometimes undesirable traces of a bygone, but still very painful history. The photographer’s gaze is never neutral, although documentary photography tends to be presented as an objective and realistic image of the world, the single possible representation of the given reality. Photographs never possess one single meaning; it is necessary to decode their multiple layers in the light of the circumstances in which they were created, the impression they might have made at the moment of their publication, the photographer’s motivation, worldview and ethics, and finally, considering the present view of depicted events.
This exhibition presents over 180 works created on all conflicted sides, originally captioned by their authors, without the intention of using them as a means for any particular purpose. The exhibition always aims to be a means of remembrance but it will also help us analyse and critically question the current situation. What happens, if a community doesn’t have common goals any more, but is driven by partial interests? What happens, when borders are closed down (again)? How can people, who have until recently lived together peacefully and tolerant become enemies? These are all burning questions in the EU today and people who have with a watchful eye documented the events before and during the war in Yugoslavia can offer us new and important answers and food for thought that will help Europeans understand not only the war in Yugoslavia but also learn lessons for the future of Europe.
More information: www.lessonsfrom1991.eu

The exhibition is part of a larger project of the association Društvo za evropsko zavest from Maribor, whose partners are Foto Klub Maribor, the International Photography Festival Organ Vida, and the Photo Association of Serbia. The project is supported by the EU fund Europe for Citizens.

Exhibiting authors

Darko Bandić, Nina Berman, Matko Biljak, Renato Branđolica, Miloš Cvetković, Tom Dubravec, Željko Gašparović, Zijah Gafić, Velija Hasanbegović, Toni Hnojčik, Filip Horvat, Romeo Ibrišević, Srđan Ilić, Zoran Jovanović Mačak, Milomir Kovačević, Borut Krajnc, Saša Kralj, Paul Lowe, Anthony Loyd, Partik Macek, Antun Maračić, Simon Norfolk, Nebojša Radosavljević Raus, Željko Sinobad, Tone Stojko, Srđan Sulejmanović, Imre Szabo, Pavo Urban, Davor Višnjić, Božidar Vukičević, Dragoljub Zamurović

Curator: Sandra Vitaljić
Designer: Nina Bačun i Roberta Bratović, OAZA
Production: Organ Vida 2016.