A project titled “Ideology, Abstraction and Architecture” at the Haus Esters and Haus Lange in Krefeld comprised two parallel exhibitions which offered a new perspective on the legacy of the Bauhaus in the Eastern bloc countries during the post-war era. Developed in cooperation with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, the exhibitions presented two artistic positions from former Yugoslavia: that of the artists‘ group EXAT 51 which had been active in the 1950s, and that of Jasmina Cibic, born in Ljubljana in 1979.
EXAT 51 was an interdisciplinary collective of artists and architects who strived to achieve a synthesis of applied arts and fine arts, and who firmly promoted non-objective art in socialist Yugoslavia. In its manifesto of 1951, the group pledged to continue pursuing the ideals of pre-war modernism – Bauhaus, Constructivism and de Stijl. When Yugoslavia under Tito’s rule distanced itself from the Soviet Union and its preferred style of socialist realism, the members of EXAT began receiving numerous commissions to integrate abstract art into everyday socialist life. In the following years, EXAT’s members produced furniture, tapestries, journals, sculptures, paintings, animated films and even pavilion designs for world expositions and industrial trade fairs, which will be presented in the upcoming exhibition. In her films, installations and performances, Jasmina Cibic examines how national identity is created by and expressed through fine arts and architecture. For the exhibition in Krefeld, she has developed a spatial installation, in which her filmtriology “NADA Act” had been shown for the first time. In the film, she investigates the pavilion designs for the world exhibition EXPO, each of which represent two very different political systems: one by the EXAT member Vjenceslav Richter for the EXPO in Brussels in 1958, and the other by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for the show in Barcelona in 1929.
Both exhibitions have initiated a dialogue between the Haus Esters and Haus Lange, which the project organisers hope to continue in the future. Following the presentation in Krefeld, the exhibition of the artists’ group EXAT 51 has been shown at the Zagreb Museum of Contemporary Art.
Exhibition „Exat 51 / Experimental Studio. Synthesis of the Arts in Post-War Yugoslavia“
Curators: Katia Baudin, Tihomir Milovac (HR)
Artists and architects: Bernardo Bernardi (HR), Zdravko Bregovac (HR), Vladimir Kristl (HR), Ivan Picelj (HR), Zvonimir Radić (HR), Božidar Rašica (SI), Vjenceslav Richter (HR), Aleksandar Srnec (HR), Vladimir Zarahović (HR)
Exhibition „Jasmina Cibic. The Spirit of our Needs“
Curator: Katia Baudin
Artist: Jasmina Cibic (SI)