Imaginary Balkans

Imaginary Balkans draws together photography, video and installation work of seven Serbian and Croatian artists. Breda Beban fled Zagreb in 1991. She currently lives and works in London and lectures at Sheffield Hallam University. Unable herself to deal with the antagonisms created by the recent unrest and the situation now faced by the two nationalities, the selection of work from Zagreb and Belgrade expresses her own personal reflection on the emotional and turbulent territory of her former homeland. Beban focused her selection on artists who continued to live in their countries during war rather than leave as she did. Each artist’s work defines the term ‘Balkan’ in sometimes melancholic yet often witty and celebratory ways. Mladen Stilinovic explores the routines of everyday Balkan life, the themes of pain, death, money, work and poverty dominating his style. The negative stereotypical perception of Balkan ‘macho men’ is amusingly explored in Dragana Zarevac’s Perfect Marriage, (2001) Vladimir Nikolic’s playful piece Autoportrait (2002), comments on the post-communist situation in which ownership of a (Western) car has become one of the strongest symbols of male identity. Vladimir Martek investigates ambiguous and contradictory meanings of the ‘Balkans’ through geographical maps. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, with texts by Chris Darke and Breda Beban which is available from the Cornerhouse Gallery Bookshop at a special exhibition price of £5.00 and through Cornerhouse Publications (see p3) or tel: 0161 200 1502 A Site Gallery, Sheffield Touring Exhibition Funded by The National Touring Programme through the Arts Council of England and Visiting Arts