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August 29, 2015 – November 7, 2015
In Turbo Sculpture, Aleksandra Domanović questions the emergence of a new kind of public art in the ex-Yugoslavia republics, which she defines in reference to Turbofolk, a popular style of music in the region, suggesting that these sculptures remain neutral in the turmoil of political disputes.
Unlike war memorials, these public monuments don’t refer to a common history of a specific site or occurrence; they are instead based on modern popular culture that knows no genius loci. Instead of war heroes (who would have been immortalized by classical monuments), local authorities now decide to eternalize Hollywood stars and heroes of the Western world in bronze. Bruce Lee, Johnny Depp, Rocky Balboa, and other film characters or public personae—here the real and the fictive blur—provide new points of identification for communities in place of celebrating national heroes, following the atrocities of war and the damaged reputations of political leaders.
Aleksandra Domanović (Serbian, born 1981) works across a range of media to investigate how existing images and information circulate, and rearranges them in various ways to produce new meaning and content. A recurring theme in her work is the disintegration of Yugoslavia, a chapter in history that is closely tied to her own biography; Domanović was born in Novi Sad, which belonged to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia before being transformed into the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro in 2003.
Domanović’s work is concerned with the circulation and reception of images and information, particularly as they shift meaning and change register, traversing different contexts and historical circumstances. Her works create strange taxonomies and manic associative chains that poke and prod at copyright laws, unpack the geopolitical implications of web domains, or explore, for instance, the model of exhibitions (the co-creation of the collaborative exhibition platform vvork.com).
Most recently, Domanović has turned her attention to the complex ways in which image culture and information flows have formed the postwar environment of former Yugoslavia. Whether investigating the phenomenon of what she dubs ‘Turbo Sculpture’ — monumental statues of American celebrities and movie characters like Bruce Lee, Johnny Depp, and Rocky Balboa, that have been erected across the former Yugoslavia — or constructing modest steles out of printer paper emblazoned with digital distortions of images from pre- and postwar life, or making semi-autobiographical forays into a rave scene that united the youth of the balkanized Yugoslavian territory, Domanović addresses the ways in which we attempt to heal the wounds of history through conviviality and denial.
Domanović has been awarded the 2014/15 ars viva prize. The ars viva exhibition series will present a selection of works by the three award-winners through 2015 at the Hamburger Kunsthalle, Galerie der Gegenwart; Bonner Kunstverein; and Grazer Kunstverein. Domanović’s recent solo exhibitions include: Glasgow International 2014, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow (2014); ‘Aleksandra Domanović’, firstsite, Colcheste (2014); ‘The Future Was at Her Fingertips’, Tanya Leighton, Berlin (2013); ‘Turbo Sculpture’, SPACE, London (2012); and ‘From yu to me’, Kunsthalle Basel (2012).