To: Belgrade City Secretariat for Culture
As colleagues and collaborators of the Kontekst gallery, we would like to express our disaffection and disagreement with the way and reasons why the Kontekst gallery was forced to stop to work in the former Cultural Centre “Stari Grad” i.e. the present Institution of culture “Parobrod”.
Gallery Kontekst represents one of the politically most important initiatives in Belgrade in the field of contemporary art. Through critical approach to the social reality and persistence to initiate discussion on topics that are rarely discussed and thus take part in struggles against most conservative social processes, the team of Kontekst Gallery created unique space in the cultural-artistic scene in Belgrade. Some of the issues that Kontekst and people involved in its work dealt with (in collaboration with other artists, theorists, cultural workers and activists) are sex work (“Sex, Work and Society” project), Serbian nationalism and wars in Yugoslavia (especially through censored exhibition “Exception, contemporary art scene of Prishtina”), racism in Serbia (especially in relation to Roma community through actions against demolition and fencing of a Roma slum during the international sport event Universiade), contemporary mechanisms of surveillance (“Control and Resistance on the Street” project), privatization and illegal appropriation of public space (“Fifth Park- Struggle for the Everyday” project), homophobia (collaboration with QueerBelgrade festival), critical approach toward the process of the expansion of the European Union and its mechanisms of exclusion (Without Borders? project), etc.
Furthermore, people engaged in the Kontekst Gallery have been presenting internationally their work and published their texts in the international artistic and political magazines and theoretical platforms and thus offered relevant contribution to the analysis of the cultural and political situation in Serbia and Europe today. All in all, the overall work of the Konetskt gallery is that much important that it can not be diminished that easily!
We demand from the Belgrade City Secretariat for Culture and other responsible political bodies to enable further autonomous work of the Kontekst gallery meaning providing it an autonomous space!
- Oliver Ressler, Vienna, Austria
- Kim Beck, Associate Professor of Art, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA
- Ramiro Camelo, Advisory Curator, Maddox Arts, London, United Kingdom
- Ana Dzokic i Marc Neelen – Stealth.unlimited, Rotterdam/Beograd
- Eduard Freudmann, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Vienna, Austria
- Michelle Y. Hyun, New York, USA
- Anca Gyemant, Rodica Tache, Maria Crista- H.arta group, Timisoara, Romania
- Alexandru Bounegru, VECTOR Association, Iasi, Romania
- Bistra Andreeva, One Magazine, Bulgaria
- Annatina Caprez, p-r-o-x-y, Zurich, Switzerland
- Evelin Stermitz, Artist
- Nina Höchtl, artist, Vienna, Austria
- Sabrina Lindemann, Mobiel project office OpTrek, The Hague, Netherlands
- Artivistic collective (artivistic.org), Montreal, Canada
- Lana Zdravkovic, artist, Slovenia
- Ruth Weismann, Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, Austria
- Eva Egermann, Academy of fine Arts Vienna, Austria
- Margarethe Makovec & Anton Lederer, < rotor > association for contemporary art, Graz, Austria
- Initiative Minderheiten, Vienna, Austria
- Uqbar Project Space, Berlin – Antje Weitzel
Ovako je izgledalo prvo zvanično predstavljanje Ustanove kulture “Parobrod” u sklopu proslave verskog praznika “Cveti” i manifestacije “Jevremova- ulica susreta”, mart 2010. U svojoj osnovi nova institucija kulture opštine Stari Grad predstavlja pokušaj stvaranja pseudoistorije tj. lažne istorije radi legitimisanja ciljeva preotimanja kulturno simboličke vrednosti i fizičkog prostora Centra za kulturu “Stari grad” i programa Kontekst galerije koji su se tu nalazili pre formiranja “nove” ustanove.
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This is how the first official presentation of the Cultural Institution “Parobrod” (Steamboat) looked like. It was organized in the frame of celebration of the religious holiday “Palm Sunday” and event “Jevremova- street of encounters”, in March 2010. In its essence, the new cultural institution of the inner city’s municipality “Stari Grad” is an attempt to create a pseudo-history i.e. fake history in order to legitimize the goals of appropriation of cultural symbolic value, and the physical space of the Cultural Center “Stari Grad” and the Kontekst gallery that were in the place of the “new” institution before it was founded.
Jedna od naših prvih reakcija na procese transformacije i gašenja Centra za kulturu “Stari Grad” se dešavala paralelno sa revizionističkim programom UK Parobrod povodom proslavljanja opštinske slave “Cveti”. Posetiocima manifestacije “Jevremova- ulica susreta” delili smo publikacije i kataloge Kontekst galerije i ukazivali na nužnost kritike ovakvih programa koji za cilj imaju stvaranje pseudoistorije prostora u kome smo radili od 2006. godine.
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One of our first reactions to the processes of transformation and closure of the Culture Center “Stari Grad” happened parallel with the revisionist program in the Cultural Institution “Parobrod” on the occasion of the celebration of the municipal feast “Palm Sunday”. We distributed publications and catalogs of Kontekst gallery to visitors of the the event “Jevremova-street of encounters” as well pointed out the necessity of critique of policies produced with the aim of creating pseudo-history of the space in which we have worked since 2006.
Text on the banner in the image: “Against historical revisionism”