The Art Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina, founded in 1946, boasts an impressive, extensive collection of Bosnian-Herzegovinian and Yugoslavian art from the late 19th century to the present.
The particular artistic traditions of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 20th century are, however, practically unknown in Central Europe. This prompted Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, as national gallery of the principality of Liechtenstein, to invite its sister institution in Sarajevo to develop a presentation on the history of abstract art in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The exhibition at Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein
brings together nine artists with their works from the 1970s, giving the first insight into the work of the artist group «Prostor Oblik» (Space Form). Their bold approach of an art totally free of objects not only changed the tradition of Socialist Realist painting, but also added new forms of artistic expression to the culture of former Yugoslavia.
From a Central European perspective, it becomes clear that Western cultural debates and discourses were received with great interest in socialist Yugoslavia, and that this led in Bosnia as it did in Slovenia, Croatia or Serbia to a critical examination from which highly independent, individual artistic positions emerged. Moreover, this exhibition can thus help to add another element to the multifaceted art history of Europe after 1945, and expand its transatlantic orientation.
The exhibition presents only works held by the Art Gallery in Sarajevo, thus giving an impression of the wealth of the institutions collections. Because the Art Gallery was forced to close to the public more than a year ago for lack of funds, this exhibition is a rare opportunity to find out more about the work of this highly committed museum.
The exhibition is a production of Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, curated by Ivana Udovičić, Art Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina.