Public announcement regarding the closure of the Kontekst Gallery project

The Kontekst Gallery’s last program took place on November 13th 2010, by which our work on this project ended.

Kontekst Gallery officially opened on February 11th 2006. This project was initiated within the Youth Forum of  the Cultural Centre “Stari grad”, as an attempt to transform a part of this Centre into a place of autonomous education and research in the area of contemporary visual arts and culture. From August 2007, Kontekst Gallery was being developed within the framework of a non-profit platform for contemporary art and culture – Kontekst, but still as a programme of the Cultural Center. After March 2010 and the establishment of Cultural Institution “Parobrod” – which took over the function and the public space of the Municipal Cultural Center “Stari grad”; and due to various pressures in the form of an official demand to vacate the working facilities, as well as the refusal of communication by the new management – we made a  decision to end our work in this space. However, our decision to closeKontekst gallery is to a grater extent caused by our disagreement with the policy of the new cultural institution.

This policy is only a symptom of the new cultural policy in Serbia in which culture is conceived as an instrument in the process of European integration, nominal implementation of human rights and tolerance, as well as the process of culturalization of society in order to create apolitical subjects for the dominant ideology – while structurally and systematically retrograde social values such as: nationalism, clero-fascism, hegemony of patriarchal matrix, intolerance towards all kinds of otherness etc., are still being reproduced. All of these processes lead to the commodification and pacification of cultural production that resulted in neutralization of its antagonistic political potential. Governing structures that are represented by political parties and private capital are working on creating a monopoly over cultural production and control of the symbolic content.

Our work on producing a concept of the Gallery’s programme and its realisation has been for us also a process of self-education, reflection, self-criticism and contemplation. Through  our work, constant learning process and interaction with local and international art and activist scenes, we developed an understanding of our work as a space for critical and political action through contemporary art and culture. Over time and in accordance with local and global political, economic and social transformations, our positions and programms became radicalized as an overall attempt of repoliticization of local cultural production and reproduction of those ideas that could produce a potential to create alternatives to dominant ideology.

We will go on working in that direction through our further engagement within Kontekst platform.

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