Zoran Naskovski, Public Secrets / Courtesy of the artist
Zoran Naskovski: Public Secrets
Oct 19, 2023 – Feb 26, 2024
Museum of Contemporary Art
Belgrade, Serbia

The retrospective exhibition PUBLIC SECRETS, organised by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina in Novi Sad, presents the work of the artist Zoran Naskovski encompassing a few decades. Naskovski is one of the most important representatives of the independent art scene of the 1990s and one of the most prominent Serbian artists, continually active for more than three decades in the field of contemporary art.

Following a succession of influential works such as Death in Dallas, L’Origine du monde, War Frames and others, which attracted attention internationally, and expert analyses of his work, this exhibition is the first retrospective of Naskovski’s artworks and artistic engagement in the context of social issues of current topical interest, institutional critique and activism, specific artistic explorations and methodologies, as well as innovations in the field of video art, installations, performance and media-related art practices. Through his works based on the transformation of media, Naskovski examines controversial social processes that imply political and economic oppression, media manipulation of images and information, as well as negation of the critical potential and ethical functions of public institutions. Proceeding from the importance of radical abstraction in the culture of resistance (White Cloud), from the early 1990s Naskovski’s art practice been marked by his engaged attitude towards current social issues, as well as the actual medium and language of art. It was then that complex spatial and audio-video installations The Voice of the Hand, No Knocking, as well as the first delegated performance on the Serbian art scene, Apollo 9, featuring the folk singer Mašinka Lukić, were realised. The Internet project War Frames, which uses the television programme broadcast during the NATO bombing campaign as a ready-made and shifts it to the realm of the Internet, was presented within the framework of the central exhibition of the 52nd Venice Biennale. His seminal work, the video installation Death in Dallas, exhibited at numerous international exhibitions, constitutes an example of radical editing characterised by complex and discoded relations of linguistic and audio-visual elements, as well as a forceful juxtaposition of image and sound. The long-term project Mandala and Cross represents an open platform for reviewing the policies of images in space between the visible and the invisible through the analysis of newly established relations in the world through the prism of establishing new borderlines between the European and non-European order and context. The installation Crisis / Ornette Coleman in Belgrade, which received the Politika Award, deals with the issue of racism and the new crisis of conservatism, and is based on research into documents, artefacts, projections, video recordings and raw material. The media ontology of his art practice, in historical terms, relates to the experimentality of the avant-garde and conceptual art whose media scope ranges from painting, video, film, installation, performance, photography, sound to digital art practices and artificial intelligence (the project Question).

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