Personal Translations, Lounge
Rael Artel suggested the documentaryfilm The State of Exception Proved to Be the Rule by Eduard Freudmann und Jelena Radić, 84 min, 2009
Stress, horror, panic, depression exhibition-making in the ultra-nationalist jungle
A commentary by Rael Artel
The nationalist sentiments often accompanied by the phenomena of xenophobia and racism are re-emerging everywhere on the eastern borders of Europe, from Helsinki to Istanbul. Heated debates on national issues do not only take place in the media or the streets of suburbia, but might also be held in exhibition halls. Contemporary art and its institutions are integral parts of the public realm and therefore are a space for public discussion. One of these types of discussion, a show called Exception Contemporary Art Scene from Prishtina, was hosted by the Kontekst Gallery, Belgrade, in February 2008. The exhibition opening grew into a violent conflict between the art works produced by artists with the "wrong" ethnic background and the well-built and right-born members of fascist organizations, football fanatics, and Serbian police forces. Of course, art lost this unfair fight and had to take defensive positions.
The State of Exception Proved to Be the Rule, a documentary by Eduard Freudmann and Jelena Radić, examines multiple aspects in the saga of the prohibition of the young Kosovar Albanian artists’ exhibition in the wider socio-political context of contemporary Serbia. Closing down the show should not be seen as an exceptional case, but as the next episode in the series of intolerant and exclusionary nationalist practices consistently executed by our fellow citizens.
Nationalism has been called a disease by some and a religion of modern times by other theoreticians. Some ideological constructions have become so omnipresent in both the public discourse and everyday mentality that it has become complicated to perceive their problematic features and possible dangers. The documentary portrays the brutal outbursts of extreme nationalist-minded forces side-by-side with the development of the theoretical defense armaments for the near future.