Nika Autor: The News Is Ours!

Slava Klavora in the summer of 1938 in the Kamnik Alps. Courtesy: Museum of National Liberation Maribor

27 January 2014 - 26 April 2015
Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Ljubljana

The title of the exhibition is a paraphrase of the titles of two notable films - the 1971 American newsreel Finally Got the News and the 1936 French newsreel La vie est a nous. The first film is a collective work by the film activist group Newsreel and the League of Revolutionary Black Workers about the position of workers in the Detroit automobile industry. La vie est a nous is a political propaganda film by Jean Renoir, which was commissioned by the French Communist Party and explores the position of the working class in France. The guiding principles of both works are the exploration of the intertwinement of images and the political and social situation at the time, and the dialectics of montage, thought and social engagement. A similar principle guides the artworks presented by The News Is Ours!, that is, the exploration of the intertwinement of images and an attempt at social engagement.

The News Is Ours! is a continuation of the artistic research work and the eponymous exhibition presented at the Jeu de Paume in Paris between February and May 2014 at the invitation of curator Nataša Petrešin - Bachelez in the framework of her one-year curatorial project entitled Histoires d'empathie. In addition to the films, the exhibition in Ljubljana also presents documentary material based on the visual research material gathered in cooperation with the Newsreel Front.

At the invitation of the curator of the exhibition Bojana Piškur, two new works, For Slava (2014) and Falsches Bild (2014), and other documentary material will be shown in addition to Newsreel 55 (2013), Solidarity (2011) and In the Land of Bears (2012), plus Jurij Meden?s Karl Marx Among Us (2013) from the collection of the Newsreel Front.

The first part of the exhibition presents fragments, notes, photos and videos that use images to try to explore the history and the economic dynamics of former Yugoslavia, emphasising the paradigmatic example of the decline of the industrial centre of Podravje, the Yugoslav Manchester as they once named Maribor. The examined content opens questions related to the social and political shifts that determined the economic, political and social dynamics of the city. Maribor as a city of occupation, a city of industrialisation and deindustrialisation, a city marked by the disintegration of Yugoslavia, the war and the economic crisis.

The second part of the exhibition attempts to think about the same questions more broadly, experimentally and more daringly (Karl Marx Among Us, In the Land of Bears ...), foregrounding the historical aspect of the experimental newsreel form presented by a selection of three Yugoslav films. Documentary essayistic film practices in former Yugoslavia were a rare, but most precious form of political cinema. In the 1960s, engaged cineastes used them to probe various neuralgic areas and to try to capture on film what mostly remained invisible. The Record (Zapisnik, 1964) by Aleksandar Petrović, A Tear on Your Face (Suza na licu, 1965) by Stjepan Zaninović and June Turmoil (Lipanjska gibanja,1969) by Želimir Žilnik, three works that were made in different times and spaces and behind different editing tables, are rarely seen and noted. The three films were selected by Andrej Šprah and will be shown during the entire run of the exhibition.

The exhibition is accompanied by a booklet which includes three texts. The first discusses the genealogy of the newsreel as a subversive and political form of resistance (Ciril Oberstar); the second is a review of The News Is Ours! as it was presented in Paris in 2014 (Darran Andersson), and the last is a reflection on the experimental film Newsreel 55 (Andrej Šprah). Enclosed in the exhibition catalogue is a reprint of a brochure in which Andrej Šprah reflects on Karl Marx Among Us. [Nika Autor]

Thanks to: Yugoslavian Cinematheque in Belgrade, Dunav film, Zastava film, Museum of National Liberation Maribor, Želimir Žilnik.

The project has been supported by

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