KUN: ARTIST-WORKER-FIGHTER

11 JUNE – 8 SEPTEMBER 2024

Authors: Mišela Blanuša, Vida Knežević and Ana Panić
Curator: Katarina Živanović
Organizers: SASA Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade and the Museum of Yugoslavia

The exhibition ’Kun: Artist-Worker-Fighter’ is organized on the 120th anniversary of the birth of this important artist and revolutionary, a professor of the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade and an academician.

The name of Đorđe Andrejević Kun represents a main hallmark in the history of the Yugoslav art of the 20th century which is directly connected to the term combat realism, a type of art which was closely linked to engaged, emancipatory social-political events during the previous century.

An artist, who dedicated his entire life to the socialist revolution, a worker whose art chisel and brush were engaged in the fight for a better tomorrow, an indefatigable fighter for the oppressed, provides us with an opportunity to see his art practice from a contemporary point of view as a union of (historical) social relations, and as a series of events painting a horizon of the renewal of the impossible.

Through a discursive analysis of ‘case studies’ connected to Kun’s various creative phases – inter-war, war and post-war period – the exhibition offers a new understanding of the artist’s complex opus, which places him in the corpus of Yugoslav avant-garde and critical art practices which allowed intertwining of art and politics.

Using contemporary curatorial exhibition policies, the author’s team revises the concept of a retrospective exhibition through a continuous communication of numerous artefacts from the artist’s rich legacy, from large-format oil on canvas, via inevitable graphic maps, a large number of drawings and illustrations, objects from the applied arts domain, and archival material, which are kept in the most important public institutions and state administration bodies: the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Yugoslavia, the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the Joint Affairs of the Republic’s Bodies Administration, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Military Museum, the National Museum of Šumadija, the Gallery of the Central House of the Army of Serbia, the Defense Media Centre, the National Museum of Serbia, the Museum of Applied Arts, Radio and Television of Serbia, the National Library of Serbia, the National Library of Bor, the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as in the collection of the artist’s family.

Considering how much Kun is embedded into collective memory nowadays, the exhibition also opens the dialogue with contemporary (artistic) practices attempting to respond to the posed questions. From the fragments of work of artist Hristina Ivanoska, who is involved in feminist strategies of resistance in national liberation movement, Kun’s graphics-inspired artistic interventions of Dejan Marković, video work of Doplegenger art duo who works with recorded film material on Kun’s life and work and the radio drama titled ‘Kontekst kolektiva’ on the revitalization of forgotten history of social struggles, the exhibition demonstrates the continuity of involved artistic practices to which Kun dedicated his complete artwork.