The project Death to Fascism takes its title from a slogan familiar to anyone who knows even a little about the history of the Yugoslav National Liberation Struggle. First published in August 1941 in Vjesnik, one of the leading national liberation movement newsletters, the slogan became generally known after the death of the national hero Stjepan Steve Filipović. When lynched in public in 1942, Filipović raised his arms and cried out as the noose was placed around his neck: “Death to fascism—freedom to the people!”, publicly condemning the German occupiers and the collaborationists. Through the prism of this event, Nemanja Cvijanović reflects on the present, a time supposedly free of totalitarian or authoritarian tendencies. A time of democracy that protects all citizens’ human and political rights, a time that does not equate their social and private lives or subordinate them to the goals of governments. Despite all the familiar definitions of democracy, we cannot shake the feeling that we are actually living in a time in which powerful countries are expanding their political and economic dominion over less powerful ones. In the most general sense, this entails modern-day imperialism by the great Western nations that were historically colonial powers. Many among them still have heraldic emblems such as eagles or lions in their coats of arms and flags, symbolizing power, courage, bravery, immortality, etc. The artist “gets even” with the animals represented in the coats of arms of ten historical or still recent imperialist countries, thus drawing attention to the continued presence of certain symbols that deserve to be at least discussed if not censured.
“Cold Front From the Balkans” exhibition can be visited until 7 May at Pera Museum!