DAS IST KUNST, 2005 – 2006

Das ist Kunst project is conceived as a process that examines the nature of understanding art in Serbia today. During that process, the authors talked to eighty-one people, each of whom gave their answer to the question “What does art mean to you?”. The choice of participants was conditioned by the need to approach this question from various and different perspectives.

The participants were divided into three basic groups: artists, other actors in the art system (gallerists, representatives of cultural organizations and institutions, professors, curators, critics, cultural workers, cultural policy makers), and citizens of eight Serbian cities of different ages and professions.

All project participants were asked to give an answer to the same question, and they were photographed with the object they own, and consider it a work of art. This request was interpreted in different ways, depending on the individual attitude of the interlocutor towards the relationship between art and the art object.

The result of the research is a publication with answers and photos of all project participants. The promotion of the publication was accompanied by an exhibition in the O3ONE gallery in Belgrade in December 2006. The following year the project was presented Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Participants: Marija Apostolović, Nebojša Babić, Bojana Bandić, Marijana Cvetković, Maja Čirić, Vesna Danilović, Jerko Denegri, Aleksandar Denić, Gordana Dimitrić, Branislav Dimitrijević, Srboljub Dimitrijević, Biljana Đurđević, Uroš Đurić, Izolda Hudović, Zoran Erić, Siniša Ilić, Zorica Isakov, Katarina Janković, Saša Janjić, Dejan Kaluđerović, Aleksandar Karić, Mirjana Karić, Miroslav Karić, Snežana Kecović, Jelena Krivokapić, Dragan Kojadinović, Aleksandra Kolar, Ariana Luburić, Zoran Naskovski, Dušan Nešković, Dorijan Kolundžija, Slobodan Mac, Aleksandar Maćašev, Zoltan Madi, Katarina Dunjić Mandić, Igor Marsenić, Dejan Matović, Darijan Mihajlović, Dragica Miletić, Jelena Miletić, Mihael Milunović, Svebor Midžić, Aleksandra Estela Bjelica Mladenović, Aleksandar Mladenović, Ivana Radović, Darka Radosavljević, Vladmiri Perić, Katarina Perišić, Konstantin Perišić, Radiša Petković, Mileta Prodanović, Žana Poliakov, Vladimir Profilović, Danijela Purešević, Đorđe Radomirović, Aleksandra Sečanski, Jugoslav Sivić, Marko Stamenković, Branislav Stanković, Igor Stepančić, Zorica Stojanović, Milisav Stojičić, Milena Dragićević Šešić, Seada Škrijelj, Dragana Šolajić, Goran Šumanac, Ljiljana Tadić, Biljana Tomić, Milica Tomić, Miloš Trajković, Anica Tucakov, Vladimir Tupanjac,  Lana Vasiljević, Robert Vaštag, Lea Vidović, Borut Vild, Ljubomir Vračar, Stevan Vuković, Biljana Vukosavljević, Ilinka Vukosavljević, Dragana Zeljković

The project was realized with the help and support from Biljana and Branko Vukosavljević (Čačak), Jelena Miletić (Bor), Csongor Farkas, Robert Vaštag (Subotica), Jelena Kovačević Jureša (Novi Sad), Aida Ćorović, Sead Biberović (Novi Pazar), Katarina Janković, Dušan Nešković (Šabac), Miroslav Karić (Obrenovac), Gordana Ristić (Vranje), Borivoje Baltezarević (Niš).

Milica Pekić, from the publication DAS IST KUNST

(…) A starting point for the research is an attempt to uncover value parameters and criteria in order to define perception on art in today’s Serbia. Das ist Kunst  is an individual attempt to unveil the private and the universal in the definition of art as other people see it. (…)

(…) Raša Todosijević is one of the pioneers of Serbian conceptual art and the protagonist of Belgrade’s informal group which in the late sixties of the 20th century has set the foundations for artistic practice in Serbia. It was his (now anthological) serial of performances held from 1976 to 1981 under the title “Was ist Kunst?”, that presents one of the basic starting points for the research that is a subject of this book itself, as well as for the  title of the project as well. Namely, the artist through each performance in a commanding, an investigator’s like tone asks a question: “Was ist Kunst?” (What is Art?) to a female person who remains speechless throughout the  performance. Taking over the structure of Raša Todosijević’s work, we have formed our research around the same question, while, at the same time, we note all answers considering them as legitimate possibilities. (…)

(…) Bringing an object face to face with the question has also been inspired by the artistic project “The Favorite Painting” of two Russian artists, Vitaly Komar and Alex Melamid. On the basis of the American market and public opinion research on contemporary aesthetic needs and taste in the field of painting, the two artists made the most liked as well as the most disliked painting in America. Those two paintings were exhibited in New York in 1994 at the exhibition “People’s Choice”.  The result of the research showed that the most liked painting in America, as well as in the majority of countries in which the research was carried out at a later stage, was exactly a pastoral landscape – in full contradiction with the artistic production and system that ranks that production very high on contemporary art scale.

A concrete object, on the one hand, i.e. the painting, was exhibited as a parameter for the establishing of artistic sensibility of the population of a certain country, whereas, on the other hand the public opinion or a general taste usually prefer the taste of the elite. Similarly, in this book are presented the answers of a part of the Serbian population as well as the answers of the infrastructure that we call the Serbian artistic scene. On both occasions we have placed the idea of a material object, something that can be shown – at which a finger can be pointed, as a trigger for contemplation about the contemporary art. (…)

(…) Accepting the elusive nature of art, as a basis for the search  of possible answers to the question we asked, we placed object as a momentum of contradiction. Our research, thus, once again was focused on the question of a material evidence, i.e. perseverance of art production and its role in the contemporary society. (…)

Authors of the project: Ana Adamović and Milica Pekić

Photographs: Ana Adamović
Text: Milica Pekić
Translation: Mira Orlović
Design: Aleksandar Maćašev

Project was supported by: Belgrade City Council; Republic of Serbia – Ministry of Culture; Stari Grad Municipality; Pro Helvetia, Serbia; O3ONE gallery, Belgrade; Cicero Printing House.