Nonaligned Modernism: Socialist Postcolonial Aesthetic in Yugoslavia, 1945-1985
In less than half a century, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia successfully defeated Fascist occupation, fended off dominating pressures from the Eastern and Western blocs, built a modern society on the ashes of war, created its own form of socialism, and led the formation of the Nonaligned Movement. This country's principles and its continued battles, fought against all odds, provided the basis for dynamic and exceptional forms of art.
Drawing on archival materials, postcolonial theory, and Eastern European socialist studies, Nonaligned Modernism chronicles the emergence of late modernist artistic practices in Yugoslavia from the end of the Second World War to the mid-1980s. Situating Yugoslav modernism within postcolonial artistic movements of the twentieth century, Bojana Videkanic explores how cultural workers collaborated with others from the Global South to create alternative artistic and cultural networks that countered Western hegemony. Videkanic focuses primarily on art exhibitions along with examples of international cultural exchange to demonstrate that nonaligned art wove together politics and aesthetics, and indigenous, Western, and global influences.
An interdisciplinary book, Nonaligned Modernism highlights Yugoslavia's key role in the creation of a global modernist ethos and international postcolonial culture.
Bojana Videkanic is an Associate Professor of contemporary art and visual culture in the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Waterloo. Her research focuses on the 20th-century socialist art in Yugoslavia and its contributions to the rise of global modernisms through Yugoslavia’s participation in the Non-Aligned Movement and various de-colonial cultural practices. Videkanic has also written about contemporary artists from Canada (Lori Blondeau, Kinga Araya, Vessna Perunovich, Camille Turner, Terrance Houle), and about artists coming from the Yugoslav region, most recently about Tanja Ostojic’s seven-year long project Lexicon of Tanjas Ostojic. Her new research project deals with politically engaged Yugoslav art from the 20th century such as partisan art and Naïve art, and its relationships to similar art practices in Mexico, Egypt, Nigeria and other parts of the world.