Berlin room exhibition

Observing Balkan from a distance

Berlin is the place where artists come from all over the world to work and to communicate their experiences. The artists from Southeastern Europe, concerned through the difficulties in their own countries, came to Berlin and communicated their ideas in a new context, influenced from this new situation but also contributing their experiences from their own countries


By IVANA SPASOJEVIĆ
from Beograd, SERBIA



The exhibition of artists who come from South-East of Europe but live in Berlin - Berlin room - was opened on 16th February in Art Pavilion Cvijeta Zuzorić in Belgrade. Those are sculptures, photographs and video works of eleven artists who tried to present their feelings of Balkan as their old homeland, after living in Berlin, the European center of avant-garde art. Berlin room is a permanent state of transition between two worlds - old and new homelands, past and present.

Silva Agostini (Albania), Maja Bajević (Bosnia i Herzegovina), Šejla Kamerić (Bosnia i Herzegovina), Kristina Leko (Croatia), Dan Mihaltianu (Romania), Tanja Ostojić (Serbia) & David Rych (Austria), Milovan Destil Marković (Serbia), Yorgos Sapountzis (Greece), Evanthia Tsantila (Greece), Nasan Tur (Turkey) i Mariana Vassileva (Bulgaria) - are artists gathered for the exhibition by the curator Birgit Hoffmeister. They are travelling through Europe and presenting the exhibition that was firstly shown at Thessaloniki, and then in Bucharest and Sarajevo. For Belgrade visitors it will remain open till 11th March, and then moved to Plovdiv and Zagreb.

How the history of Berlin influenced their inspiration, about tension between present and past, institutions that took the initiative and reactions of Balkan people - for WAVE magazine speaks Birgit Hoffmeister.

- The initiative for the exhibition Berliner Zimmer came originally from the Goethe-Institut, Thessaloniki and the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art inspired by Action Field Kodra 2004 in Thessaloniki. The Goethe-Institut asked me to organize and curate this exhibition from Southeastern European artists living in Berlin.

These artists - whose works are exhibited - live in Berlin that was completely ruined and rebuilt. How did that contribute to the artists' inspiration, since they tried to question the connection between their old and new homeland?

- Berlin is the place where artists come from all over the world to work and to communicate their experiences. The artists from Southeastern Europe, concerned through the difficulties in their own countries, came to Berlin and communicated their ideas in a new context, influenced from this new situation but also contributing their experiences from their own countries.

What were they mainly focused on during their work? Berlin room is a metaphor - for what?

- Berliner Zimmer is certainly as a title a metaphor referring to a central room of the houses in the beginning of the last century. In this case insinuates a virtual gathering of the artists involved.

Media frequently write about the problems Balkan people have been facing during these years of transition. The tension between present and past still lives in Balkan lands.

- In discussions with the artists I got the feeling that this tension between present and past is very important and that is strongly visible in their artistic language.

This exhibition was also presented in Thessaloniki, Bucharest and Sarajevo. What were the reactions of the visitors?

- Thessaloniki is the door to door to the Balkan so it was very important that the exhibition started there. By all the obvious differences in all these countries, for me it was impressive to see the curiosity and the profound interest, how the local audience reacted on this exhibition.



(Published: 25.02.2012.)