Making of the Communist Body by Bojana Pejic

Making of the Communist Body by Bojana Pejic

In Pejic's lectures she shall examine the iconosphere instituted in Socialist Yugoslavia and discuss arange of discursive practices employed in the production of a concept she have named the “Communist Body”. 

BOJANA PEJIĆ: THE MAKING OF THE COMMUNIST BODY - POLITICS OF REPRESENTATION AND SPATIALIZATION OF POWER IN THE SFR YUGOSLAVIA

Together with the Department of Art History of the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana and +MSUM we cordially invite you to attend two public lectures by Bojana Pejić on the Making of the Communist Body: Politics of Representation and Spatialization of Power in the SFR Yugoslavia (1945-1991). Lectures will be held in English and are part of the Art for Collective Use: Monument, Performance, Ritual, Body Seminar.

BOJANA PEJIĆ
First lecture: Body at Work
Monday, 16 November 2015, at 1 pm, Faculty of Arts (room 343), Ljubljana

Second lecture: The Production of the Unknown Heroine
Tuesday, 17 November 2015, at 6 pm, Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Ljubljana

DETAILED INFO

First lecture: Body at Work
Monday, 16 November 2015, at 1 pm, Faculty of Arts (room 343), Ljubljana

In contrast to the endless number of war memorials shaped either according to an iconic (i.e. “realistic”) or non-iconic (“abstract”) regime and built in Yugoslavia after World War II, Yugoslav literature about these visual representations is rather scarce. Modernist Yugoslav art historians of renowned reputation never published a relevant study about Yugoslav public statuary, except when discussing monumental production within the oeuvre of a particular Yugoslav sculptor.
 
In my lectures I shall examine the iconosphere instituted in Socialist Yugoslavia and discuss arange of discursive practices employed in the production of a concept I have named the “Communist Body”. Starting from Thomas Laqueur's concept of the body-as-space-between, I try to observe the Communist Body as a discursive zone, which consists of different and often contradicting sets of discourse, be they scientific, military, medical, political, sexual, and legal regulations, which circulate and intersect in the public arena and which are, albeit to different extents, interwoven in the discourses on how the body is imagined and imaged.

I explore various and sometimes contradictory discourses involved in the making of the “Communist Body” in order to demonstrate how the Communist power in Yugoslavia became spatialized via “public bodies,” i.e., visual representations available to the community at large, such as, e.g., the public statuary, the use of “disciplined bodies” in collective rituals and official state holidays (“telopis”), the photographic representations of president Tito, press photographs, and postage stamps.

Second lecture: The Production of the Unknown Heroine
Tuesday, 17 November 2015, at 6 pm, Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Ljubljana

My field of inquiry is the representation of the male and female body in public space, which necessitated elaborations on the multiple interfacings between art, power, and gender. This lecture is based on my study of public monuments and war memorials, whose purpose was to “fix” thecollective memory of the Partisans’ war victory and People’s Revolution, and to commemorate only those war victims who sided with the Partisans, i.e., the winners. I have dedicated a great part of this study to an opposite process, namely, the collective amnesiaas regards women partisans (who constituted some 35% of the People’s Liberation Army) which had been considered “the dearest children of the Revolution”. I try to show that the spatialization of communist power, despite its officially proclaimed progressive intentions regarding the role of women in Yugoslav heroic history, relied, as it were, on a patriarchal matrix that implied a politics of gender representation based on time-honored hierarchies. Among other ways, this is evident in Yugoslav memorials, where there is hardly a representation of a woman (partisan) with a name. Instead, women are represented as allegories, as “petrified femininity”– as German feminist art historian Silke Wenk termed them – standing for three key concepts central to the Yugoslav socialist narrative: Freedom, Liberty, and Revolution.


Bojana Pejić is an art historian who was born in 1948 in Belgrade. From 1977 to 1991 she was curator at the Student Cultural Center of Belgrade University. Since 1991 she has lived in Berlin. Pejić has been writing about contemporary art since the early 1970s (Marina Abramović, Valie Export, Jochen Gerz, Sanja Iveković). In 2005 she defended her Ph.D., entitled “The Communist Body: Politics of Representation and Spatialization of Power in the SFR Yugoslavia (1945-1991)” at the Carl von Ossietzky University in Oldenburg. She was guest professor at the Humboldt University in Berlin (2003), at the Institute for Cultural Studies at the University in Oldenburg (2006/2007), and at the Central European University (Gender Studies) in Budapest (2013).
Pejić was chief curator of the exhibition After the Wall - Art and Culture in post-Communist Europeorganized by the Moderna Museet, Stockholm (1999), which was also presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art – Foundation Ludwig, Budapest (2000) and at Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2000-2001). In 2008 she curated the international exhibition Artist-Citizen, 49th October Salon in Belgrade. She was chief curator of the exhibition Gender Check, MUMOK, Vienna (2009-2010), on display in the Zacheta Gallery in Warsaw (2011). Recently, she curated an international exhibitionGood Girls_ Memory, Desire, Power in Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC) in Bucharest (2013).

Organized by: Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory; Department of Art History, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana; Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova
Supported by: ERSTE Foundation

Source: http://www.igorzabel.org/en/news-detail/210_Bojana+Peji%C4%87+The+Making+of+the+Communist+Body+-+Politics+of+Representation+and+Spatialization+of+Power+in+the+SFR+Yugoslavia