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Lutz Becker

Throughout the Cold War what we in the West knew of serious contemporary art from the East was very limited. […] The only gallery in Great Britain that exhibited art from Eastern and Central Europe was that of Richard Demarco in Edinburgh. […] Here I personally made the acquaintance of artists who I later came to know more closely. Their exhibition was comprised of concept notes, photographs and documents of performances, which they had given during their short stay in Scotland. The artists were Marina Abramović, who presented the first version of her performance Rhythm 10; Raša Todosijević, who, together with his partner Marinela Koželj, performed his piece Decision as Art; Zoran Popović presented film and slide works Action, while Gergelj Urkom’s performance entailed the upholstery of a chair in slow motion Mental and Physical Works; and Neša Paripović exhibited his first photographic work Portraits.1 These young artists were closely affiliated with the Student Cultural Centre (SKC) of the University in Belgrade. We met again in London and spent a week in conversation, undertaking urban adventures together. […] After their return the group and the SKC invited me to show my film Art in Revolution in Belgrade.

         The film was based on the exhibition Art in Revolution, which had been organized in 1971 for London’s Hayward Gallery by the pioneering art historian Camilla Gray; I had collaborated with her on both the exhibition and the film. The film was partly a record of the exhibition, partly an attempt to re-construct the creative enthusiasm of the early years of the October Revolution, full of new images and sequences of original archival footage. In 1974, I was asked to introduce the film to the participants of the Third April Meeting, an international Expanded Media Festival, which was held annually at the SKC from 1972 onwards. […]

            During the April Meeting of 1975 the idea of making a film about the SKC was being discussed. Dunja Blažević succeded in raising a modest budget from the University. I returned to Belgrade in November with the idea to make an art newsreel. Taking the theme from Dziga Vertov’s revolutionary newsreel Kino Pravda (Film Truth), this production was named Kino Beleške (Film Notes). The title described its informality and ephemeral nature. Filming started with the first days of winter. During shooting and editing I was ably assisted by the artist and filmmaker, Zoran Popović. The form of the film was determined by financial constraints but even more so by the demands of individual participants. For most of them it seemed more important to verbalize ideas and ideological positions than to present their projects visually.

 

Notes:

1. J. Tijardović (ed.), Eight Yugoslav Artists, Richard Demarco Gallery, Edinburgh 1973

 

Excerpts taken from: Lutz Becker, “Art for an Avant-Garde Society. Belgrade in the 1970s”. in: East Art Map. Contemporary Art in Easter Europe. IRWIN (Eds). London: Afterall, 2006. p. 390 ff.

 

1941, Berlin / DE
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