East Contemporary

The Pavilion of Bosna and Herzegovina at Venice Biennale: Danica Dakic “Zenica Trilogy”

Venice, Palazzo Francesco Molon Ca’ Bernardo, May 11 – November 24, 2019, http://www.labiennalebih.com

Danica Dakic’ exhibition consists of three videos, prints and a golden shovel. The show deals with transformation of a specific place and people in Bosnia and Hercegovina, Zenica, a decaying polluted steelworks town.

I found the people aspect, most prominently contained in the video “The Cleaner” as the most touching. One brother talking about his and his brother’s life, with all the hardships that came with the political and economic changes. Life goes on, and the video expressed a hope.

Another video “upstairs”, juxtaposing images of a socialist-modernist theatre with a voice-over by one technician working there was still slightly engaging, even though already a bit less, too much pride of the past for me.

A third video, a loop of a constantly running and moaning lady was more like a joke, similar to the golden spade. Yet the golden spade had a story (again a story from the socialist past), the running lady not really (just an explanation).

Overall it all felt a bit nostalgic, there was not much critical reflection, just simple people talking about their experience. The honesty and immediacy was something to be appreciated. It showed how “most people” there would actually think. As a theorist and academic, I would wished for more depth, but I also realized, that maybe that is not the point. This is a people’s work: from the people to the people, and it’s good like that. It will be completed in the mind of the spectator.

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