„The Personal is Political“ at ARL in Dubrovnik

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On Tuesday, April 2, 2024, at 7 p.m., at the Dubrovnik Gallery Otok, Lazareti Art Workshop, the exhibition „The Personal is Political“ by the multimedia artist from Novi Sad, Dragan Vojvodić, was opened. The curator of the exhibition is Croatian artist Slaven Tolj, and at the opening, Vojvodić premiered the performance „The History of Hardcore.“

Dragan Vojvodić, The Personal is Political, ARL Dubrovnik, 2024_photo_LJMV

The title of the exhibition, „The Personal is Political,“ refers to the second wave of feminism in the late 1960s, which was significant in the civil rights movement, student movement, and so on. That’s precisely why Vojvodić adopts this slogan to examine personal experiences based on the limitations of the individual in the current socio-political context, problematizing themes of identity, freedom, choice, coercion, manipulation, belonging, the role of the artist in society, and questioning the relationships between private-public, individual-collective, and personal-political.

Dragan Vojvodić, The Personal is Political, ARL Dubrovnik, 2024_photo_LJMV

Central to Vojvodić’s work is the exploration of identity and exile, engaging with global issues of migration, freedom, and belonging through the lens of personal experience and (post)conceptual art practice.

His performances, actions, and installations often incorporate autobiographical discourse (the dissolution of the SFRY, leaving Sarajevo, etc.), posing individual questions within a broader socio-political context. Therefore, the exhibition „The Personal is Political“ encompasses performances, artistic actions, photographs, prints, objects, installations, and video works that problematize his personal biography (such as „All I Ever Wanted,“ „Curriculum Vitae,“ „Portrait Study,“ „Black Flag / Dead Land,“ etc.), his relationship to society and political power structures (including „The Personal is Political,“ „Statement,“ „The End,“ „Work Liberates Work Kills,“ „Hyperobject_Fukushima 2019,“ „The History of Hardcore,“ etc.), as well as works that more or less explicitly correspond with the history of conceptual art (such as „Soundless,“ „Fuck the System,“ „Speechless,“ etc.), as Vojvodić embraces Duchamp’s concept of readymades, Malevich’s abstraction, and John Cage’s sound experiments, filtering them through his personal history and socio-political commentary.

Dragan Vojvodić, The Personal is Political, ARL Dubrovnik, 2024_photo_LJMV
Dragan Vojvodić, The Personal is Political, ARL Dubrovnik, 2024_photo_LJMV

A special cycle at the exhibition „The Personal is Political“ comprises Vojvodić’s works in which a narrative discourse predominates as a statement or text incorporated into photographs, graphics, sculptures, and installations. The author relies on his own autobiographical records or adopts non-fictional statements from various prose/poetic texts, essays, or artistic expressions. These works, executed in different materials, together with the space in which they are placed, acquire the significance of artistic expression, and the quotes extracted from their primary context become statements of the author who appropriated them, infusing them with new semantics. Thus, as already mentioned, the narrative of the light installation „The Personal is Political“ (2021) is derived from the historically significant slogan that Vojvodić has reactivated in a statement placed in a contemporary cultural-political context.

On the other hand, in the series of works titled „Portrait Studies,“ as noted by art historian and curator from the USA, Shannon Egan, „Dragan Vojvodić employs procedures of repetition and variation in photographs where he is depicted in the same pose in different locations, including Estonia (Tartu), the USA (New York), or Japan (Hiroshima).“

Dragan Vojvodić, Studija portreta_The Personal is Political, ARL Dubrovnik, 2024_photo_LJMV

„The changing landscapes and urban scenes emphasize his nomadic presence. The position of his figure in the photographs alludes to the romantic motif known as Die Rückenfigur, which depicts a figure seen from behind, in landscape painting and photography, in the works of artists such as Caspar David Friedrich. Vojvodić’s Portrait Studies can also be understood as a statement about his sense of displacement. Dressed in a black hoodie and black pants, the artist conceals his identity while observing places of historical significance or with symbolic undertones. While the Rückenfigur in composition often prompts the observer to identify and be captivated by the landscape, Vojvodić’s enigmatic, silhouetted posture prevents this analogy; his figure disrupts the conventions of landscape or urban photography, and Vojvodić, by concealing his identity, ironically labels this series of photographs as a portrait study,“ emphasizes Shannon Egan.

Dragan Vojvodić, Studija portreta_The Personal is Political, ARL Dubrovnik, 2024_photo_LJMV

These are just some of the series of works that will be exhibited at the Art Workshop Lazareti, created during international residency and research projects by Dragan Vojvodić, in collaboration with writer Ljiljana Maletin, who has documented his actions and performances photographically.

Dragan Vojvodić, The Personal is Political, ARL Dubrovnik, 2024_photo_LJMV

At the exhibition opening, a performance titled „The History of Hardcore“ was premiered, conceived as a multi-hour listening session of music records from various genres combined with highly ideological and nationally colored audio recordings, also performed on LP records. The author and performer of the action assumed the role of a DJ who, in a Dadaist manner, created a cacophony, personally opposing propaganda and manipulation.

Dragan Vojvodić, The History of Hardcor, performans, ARL Dubrovnik, 2024_photo_LJMV

Multimedia artist Dragan Vojvodić (1965) began his artistic studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo and graduated in Novi Sad (1995). He expresses himself through various mediums (performances, art actions, installations, in situ, video, photography, sculpture, painting).

He has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Serbia (Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina in Novi Sad; Cultural Center of Belgrade, Graphic Collective, Ozon Gallery, Goethe-Institut, Salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, etc.) and abroad (USA, France, Austria, Germany, Japan, Hungary, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia). A significant part of his artistic practice has been realized in artistic residency projects in Scandinavian countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland), as well as in the region (Rijeka, Zagreb, Varaždin, Pula, Labin, Podgorica, Skopje, Sarajevo, Ljubljana).

He has participated in international artistic projects and biennials (Art Encounters Biennial, Timișoara; October Salon, Belgrade; Risk Change, Novi Sad; 700IS Video Art Festival, Iceland, etc.), in international performance festivals in Croatia, Hungary, and Italy, as well as in residency or research projects in Greenland, Japan, the USA, Russia, Estonia, Spain, Portugal, France, etc.

His works are included in collections both domestically and internationally (Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina, Novi Sad; Pierre Courtin Collection, Sarajevo; Nelimarkka Museum, Finland; 700IS Video Art Festival, Iceland; Gallery of Matica Srpska, Novi Sad; Center for Contemporary Art of Montenegro, Podgorica, etc.).

The exhibition „The Personal is Political“ will be on display at ARL until April 26, 2024.

The program and activities of ARL in 2024 are supported and made possible by Kultura Nova Foundation, the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia, and the City of Dubrovnik.







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