“Rendered History” exhibits war and post-war trauma of ex-Yugoslav societies

Award-winning Serbian artist Vladimir Miladinović has made the wartime past the focus of his work. Miladinović was particularly interested in the way the Belgrade media reported on detention camps in the area around Prijedor in Bosnia where dozens of Croats and Bosniaks were killed in 1992. He explains that in order to do so, he spent time in historical archives, looking through media that backed Slobodan Milošević’s regime, and based his drawings on four main daily newspapers: Politika, Borba, Politika ekspres and Večernje novosti. This ultimately resulted in the long-term project, “Rendered History”.

The work with war and post-war trauma of former Yugoslav societies forms the framework of the “Rendered History” project. It is an example of art that deals with the media, forensic, political and moral identification and presentation of war crimes and the current transitional ideologies of their denial and erasure. The author wishes to question how the media and institutions in the post-Yugoslav societies create public space and thus shape the collective memory. The goal is to work with art as a form of counter public sphere that raises questions of war media propaganda, manipulation, historical responsibility and intellectual engagement.

A series of drawings (ink wash on watercolour paper) entitled “Rendered History” was presented in the Contemporary Art Gallery in Subotica in March–April 2015. This presentation was then followed by public discussions and guided tours for students. The reactions of ordinary visitors to the exhibition – mostly older people who actually read those newspapers back in 1990s –when Miladinović showed this work in Subotica and elsewhere in Serbia were very interesting. From a contemporary perspective, they could not believe that at the time, the media actually denied that crimes took place.

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