Jasmina Cibic's video work Building Desire: The Pavilion has been acquired for the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina (MSUV), Novi Sad. The exhibition Acquisitions MoCAV: Purchase and gifts (2012-2015) represents a selection of works of art that have become part of the MSUV collection during a period of four years, curated by Sanja Kojić Mladenov.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina was established in 1966, for the purpose of studying, presentation and preservation of contemporary art. Unlike most other institutions of protection, MSUV was not given its own workspace. After a number of unrealised projects regarding the construction of a new building, the museum was constantly being moved from one place to another, and coexisting with other institutions was imposed unto it, MSUV today is an institution that continuously contributes to the research, development, promotion and increasing the visibility of contemporary art practice, and, with its extended collection it becomes an important guardian of museum values.
During its relatively long history the Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina has developed a number of different strategies to collect works of art. Forming the art fund was started immediately after the Museum was founded, with the procurement of works mainly from the post-war period, suggesting the future focus of the institution - critical study of the contemporary art practice from the second half of the 20th century, and previous artistic tendencies were bought and followed only on rare occasions. The early collection consisted of works of prominent founders of art colonies in Vojvodina, such as: Jožef Ač, Bogomil Karlavaris, Pal Petrik and Milan Konjović. Stylistically, for the most part the works belonged to post-war modernism, associative abstraction and Art Informel. The largest number of exhibits were collected towards the end of the 1970s and 1980s, mainly paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings. The status of a regional museum made buying works of the Vojvodinian artists a priority, just as it was a priority to exhibit works from the art scene in Vojvodina. A very small part of the collection consisted of works from other parts of former Yugoslavia and abroad.
After a period of significant number of purchases of works of art, in the 1990s there were no funds for further purchasing, and the procurement of works of art was almost put to a halt. During the turbulent years marked by war, poverty and the decline of all social values, culture lost its social significance; it was marginalized by the state and left to either negligence or enthusiasm of individuals. During those years, the Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina remained without its premises. The collection of works in the period in the 1990s and early 21st century relied mainly on artists' donations to the museum after organised exhibitions, which was the result of successful cooperation and the sense of community during an age of general financial insolvency in culture.
After a long pause, during the last few years, the activity of purchasing works of art was restored, and now the collection has got new exhibits from the current art scene. Collecting the works is made possible via the regular financial support of the Provincial Secretariat for Culture and Public Information, and the project financing of the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia (competition for financing works of art in the field of visual art created in the last five years, in 2014).
(Excerpt with Courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina, Novi Sad.)
The single channel video The Pavilion (2015), by Jasmina Cibic, presents the reconstruction of the lost pavilion of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia built in Barcelona for the 1929 World Exposition - a time when finding a new visual expression for the future was central to the European political debate as well as the beginning of soft power as we know it today.This temporary structure was designed by the Serbian architect Dragiša Brašovan and, according to legend, received the first prize at the Exposition. Due to political intrigue it subsequently lost its first place to the German Pavilion and its architect Mies Van der Rohe. Within her research, Cibic attempted to retrace the building’s design through institutional and private archives, reconstructing a model of the original in a scale 1:7.
In the video, a female voice-over, in a documentary style, presents a description of the artist’s retracing of the lost pavilion as well as of her making up for the gaps in the archival evidence by drawing upon other subjects that were also designed to represent various authoritarian visions of desire in the same period, namely the Adolf Loos house for Josephine Baker, designed in the same year as the Brašovan Pavilion and the invention of the British national navy fleet camouflage by the artist Norman Wilkinson. Serving different means but utilizing strikingly similar formal and visual tactics of control of the spectator, these structures also happened to share the emblematic skin of the Brašovan Pavilion: the visually striking black and white striped façade.
Apart from their aesthetic regime these examples also shared their function of the displacement of desire: they were all to present specific objects of geopolitical exotic to the pleasure of the spectator. They all served as seminal mythmaking devices whose purpose was that of affirming the otherness of the objects and artifacts whose display they were housing on the inside, simultaneously making sure the desire for them was prolonged. In the case of the Yugoslav Pavilion these were the emblems representing a nation state at a world exposition, in case of the Josephine Baker house - an exotic female body and in case of the naval fleet – a firmly established national control mechanism.By colliding a building that was to represent a nation state, one that was supposed to house exotic desire and a vehicle of national military control, Building Desire points to the optics of authoritarian construction of towers of control and their soft power mechanisms.
Read more: http://www.msuv.org/
Managing the Collection:
Sanja Kojić Mladenov
© Studio Jasmina Cibic
Production stills from The Pavilion, single channel HD video, stereo sound, 6 min 43 sec, in loop