Visual artist Gabriela Vasić in September 2011, in one street in Belgrade’s Dorćol neighborhood, found in a trash container a family’s complete equipment for skiing. The equipment still had potential for use, but the last owner had thrown it away as unneeded or outdated. Fashion trends in the sports industry have changed and the former models of ski equipment are no longer modern. The artist appropriated the thrown-away objects from the street, and these remnants of popular culture become a means for evoking memories of former experiences and social status.
This collection began with an inspiration to run an entire project throughout February of performance of skiing and simulations of winter activities in a small park in the center of Belgrade. The actions were documented and a part of that photo session is the subject of the exhibition. After that, the author posted a public call on social networks for participation in a competition for inspirational “Winter Story” through which she collected the art works of 19 people. The chosen stories, poems, and photographs will be mixed with family, touristic, or artists’ photographs and text from the artist. These photographs will be exhibited on the wall or in a photo album like a scrapbook, and some photos will illustrate the texts which participants in the project submitted. In her projects, Gabriela Vasić does not give up on cooperation and finds various methods of relational aesthetics and collection participation which are woven into the genre of the artist’s gallery exhibit. As curator and author of the project, Vasić seeks to bring democratization to the artist scene and include a variety of creative people, both artists and amateurs, giving them too the status of participant-exhibitor.
The project has the goal to launch a space for dialogue with a wide social community; confrontations with personal experiences and symbolic or actual actions of project participants will map the collective cultural codes of the epoch in which we are contemporaries. In her efforts to explore and show subcultural specificities of the different generations of citizens, the artist believes that such a collective artistic act makes it possible to initiate numerous social, economic, and political questions and awareness to a wider community on issues of the position of modern art – and the artist is a kind of catalyst and generator for social dialogue.
Text for the Catalogue
Going on a “zimovanje” (winter holiday) during Tito’s Yugoslavia was one of the norms of middle-class families and was a measure of a good standard of living. This continued well into the Milosevic era. “Classless” socialist societies made it possible for many citizens to take part in this type of tourism (in the mountains of the former Yugoslavia and Europe!) which today for many Serbian citizens became an exclusive luxury. With the change of social order and entry into a period of transition to the capitalistic system and market economy, a large number of Serbian citizens have seen a change in their social status, have been left permanently unemployed, became impoverished, and many of the cultural habits of the people experienced a decline. One of those habits is taking a winter holiday.