• Event 0: Identity Restoration
Politics and Contemporary Art!

Politics and Contemporary Art!
01 January 2007- 31 December 2007

“Politics and Contemporary Art!” is focused in establishing stronger art and cultural initiatives and challenging present cultural policies as an additional process to the political negotiations for the future political status of Kosova.

This project will act as an open platform for intellectuals, artists and culture producers for engaging in the ongoing political process, and promoting contemporary cultural production as model for strengthened cooperation in West Balkan countries and Europe; focus on issues that are challenging the art scene in Kosova, support the culture production and promote the language of debate and discursive approach as tools for enhancing the capacity of the arts community in Kosova.

In the ongoing political process that has hijacked the Kosova society, the relevance of the investment in arts and culture has been excluded so far from the political agenda in the initiatives by the European Union and the United Nations. This is despite the fact that cultural processes and interventions can strengthen and stabilize social, economic and political development where complex political tensions may exist. The view of many is that the ongoing political process in Kosova has only used culture (heritage) as a tool for extreme political solutions that can only damage the future relationships in the region.

“Politics and Contemporary Art!” will specifically explore the relationship of the two in the context of new realities / countries and the expanded border of the art production during and after political crisis.


The present context in Kosova is marked by the political process of the negotiations between Kosova Governmental Institutions, the International Community and the Serbian Government concerning the future political status of Kosova.

Leading analysts and political insiders have predicted that this will be long and complicated process and that the stability of the region will be influenced by these negotiations.

The ongoing political process has positioned the local art scene, thinkers and culture workers outside the process and with no relevant position related to it. At the same time, the contemporary arts scene, together with other similar structures has not clearly shown the will to reflect on this process or be part of it in any possible way; the position of the majority of the contemporary art scene is therefore seen by the society as completely irrelevant to this process.

In addition, it is a fact that the contemporary art scene, except the artificial and temporary momentum created during 2003/04 by “Balkan” exhibitions, has been fragile. Since the end of the war, even with some larger and long term projects initiated, there was not even one single solo show, organized for any of the contemporary artists from Kosova, in any of the existing institutions, public or independent art initiatives. Although Kosova contemporary artists have never had a solo show in Kosova since 1998, they at the same time have been present successfully in international shows, Prishtina, the capital of Kosova still does not have a permanent exhibition space with a program dedicated to contemporary art; there is no curatorial practice present in Kosova, no art market exists…

Besides other factors, this condition is also a result of the lack of any substantial involvement or strategy of the existing cultural institutions and the intellectual community. These structures are often described as heavily corrupt, with “closed doors” and paralyzed.

In addition, the culture of open debate within the art scene is almost inexistent. The level of discursive articulation and debate within the art community is very poor. The community of art historians, sociologists and philosophers are also detached from these issues and sometimes even questions like if such structures exist at all in this scene seem more relevant than other subjects of desired debates. The appearance of critical texts on artworks is a rarity and even when they appear in the newspapers they are usually very basic and superficial in their structure.

These are maybe some of the reasons why there is a lack of debate that we see as so important for the enhanced emancipation of the art producers and the society.

Politics and Contemporary Art! is exploited through events, exhibitions program, presentations and other interventions.

Politics and Contemporary Art! was supported by Pro Helvetia - Swiss Culture Program in Kosovo, Kosova Foundation for Open Society, Museum of Kosovo and DZG.