What Happened to the Museum of Contemporary Art?
a non-exhibition of documentation, art interventions and the building interior
Concept: Dejan Sretenovic
Curators: Andrej Dolinka, Una Popovic and Dejan Sretenovic
Artists: Rados Antonijevic / Fabian Bechtle / Lazar Bodroza / Dusica Drazic / Ministarstvo prostora (Marko Aksentijevic • Ivan Branisavljevic • Iva Cukic • Radomir Lazovic • Dobrica Veselinovic) /Sinisa Ilic / Irena Kelecevic / Karsten Konrad / Monika Lang / Jovan Mikonjic / Milorad Mladenovic / Ivan Petrovic / Darinka Pop-Mitic /Vahida Ramujkic & Noa Treister / Mirjana Boba Stojadinovic / Sasa Tkacenko / Nenad Trifunovic / Stefan Unkovic
In July 2013, it will be six years since the building of the Museum of Contemporary Art has been closed to public due to reconstruction, adaptation and expansion works that have not been finished until the present day. The envisaged one-year deadline was missed a long time ago, only the first stage is completed (the roof, the cellar facilities, the energy block), and for a long time now there have been no indications as to when the resources for the continuation of works in the second phase (façade, interior) will be obtained and the object brought to its purpose. The MCA building – one of the most representative specifically built museum objects in Serbia, which has also been proclaimed a cultural treasure – is in a non-functional state of deserted construction site and is exposed to decay. The cessation of restoration of the edifice at the Usce led to discontinuation of the Museum’s functioning as a location-specified home of art and its disappearance from the cultural map of Belgrade and Serbia, and the question “What happened to the Museum of Contemporary Art?”, which is being periodically posed in public, remains floating in the air without a concrete answer.
The project “What Happened to the Museum of Contemporary Art?” declares itself as a non-exhibition because exhibitions cannot be organized in a non-museum or a defunctionalized building in which there are no elementary museological and technical conditions for exhibiting artworks. The non-exhibition has no form, structure and architecture, it follows the found condition of the building and represents a conglomerate of statements and signs randomly dispersed throughout the exhibition space, which reflect, in different ways, the situation in which the institution is. The non-exhibition is an adequate model of conceptualization in situ of this situation and is conceived as an induced incident of awakening the Museum building from its hibernation, the primary goal of which is to arouse attention and demand support of the artistic, cultural and broadest public for it to be overcome. Although it can be understood as a form of protest, an alarm and appeal, the non-exhibition is foremost a discussion forum that opens up a series of questions that concern the relationship of the state and society towards the Museum in the actual political, economic, social and cultural contexts. By postulating “the case of the Museum of Contemporary Art” as symptomatic, the counter-spectacle of the non-exhibition likewise serves as a platform for critical deliberation on the general condition of the museum infrastructure, the cultural institutions and artistic production in Serbia.