Saša Karalić

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  National Pride
28.03. - 10.06.2007
Arti et Amicitiae
The Netherlands

Saša Karalić

Isaac Carlos (ANG)
Juan Pedro Fabra (SWE)
Marianne Flotron (CH)
Manel Esparbe i Gasca (ESP)
Gillion Grantsaan (NL)
CM von Hausswolff (SWE)
Harry Heyink (NL)
Wim Jongedijk (NL)
Saša Karalić (NL/BiH)
Annika Larsson (SWE)
Bas Medik (NL)
Jonas Ohlsson (SWE)
Kuang-Yu Tsui (TW)

Annika Larsson

Saša Karalić
concept - National pride reconsiders the issue of origin in global society and its effect on contemporary artist practice. This project is a subjective survey into a recently revived social tendency that starts rather at home than on a global or universal level. This social tendency is popularly associated with either a regressive nationalism or the anti-globalization movement but is rarely considered in depth within the contemporary art discourse.

What is the role of contemporary art within today's social and political context? Is it only to maintain its classical position as vehicle for stressing universal issues and asking the big questions? Or should artist practice aim at diversifying and re-vitalizing the global discourse by offering specific and close views from a local, personal and micro level?

National pride will emphasize contextually particular and personal artist views and their relation to unison and global art discourse. It will offer participating artists a possibility 'to mark their private territory' in today's world which is constantly shrinking and expanding. Artists may adopt any political or non-political stance while reconsidering the limitation of their 'home boundaries' or re-positioning themselves in relation to the international discourse.  

misconception - National pride is a project that, by its nature, has to begin by standing its ground to any political misconception. With its associative title, this project immediately provokes a discussion over national identity vs. globalization. When the subject of this project is taken literally, that discussion can easily slide into the everlasting struggle between left and right, a struggle that often misses the point by following prescribed ideological patterns. The National pride project will, therefore, avoid any simple political side-taking.

home (myth) - The problem of dealing with national myths is one of the ever-present issues in the reading of artist practice. Yet most artists consider their own nationality as if it were a strange family with a slow blood renewal into which they have been forced. Their work is often their way out of a national straitjacket into a shiny promise of a borderless world.

The world has indeed moved from the concept of singular national identity towards the promise of global and multinational inter-exchangeability but many people, artists included, feel trapped inside of an ambiguous in-between zone. That in-between zone is an undefined place where unresolved echoes of the past are crushing against unfulfilled promises of the future.
'Not getting quite there' becomes a certain state of mind which artists often cherish as a true sign of freedom being content with not belonging to a single national art world but to one globalized, mega art world. This state of mind, however, can be even good for art or even economically lucrative for artists within neo-liberal, profit-based ideology.

Art sponsorship and the financial backing of art is moving more and more away from a national level to a more global level where big corporations and private companies are supporting and pushing forward the art that can speak in all languages without national prefix. This kind of art follows closely the strategy of global entertainment, which proves its success by the ability to communicate over and beyond all sorts of borders and discourses. Even when the spotlight is turned onto specific (and often seasonal) social and political issues, the depth of vision is mostly lost for the sake of clear and general point of view. Some of the specific qualities of artwork are inevitably franchised in this process in order to establish 'universal values' that are supposed to be inseparable from 'the true nature of an artwork'.

In this way artists deprive themselves of their specific view and their 'otherness' in order to fit into the larger picture. The new ideological frame in which they find themselves, levels down all differences while avoiding dialectics connected to a particular and specific social context - it's an indirect negation of artist's primal habitat. Should artists perhaps go back home and reconsider it? Or has the original home perhaps become an outdated category which no longer fits into the contemporary art discourse?

homesick - Contemporary attempts to 'de-'compose national states has proven to be a process with a double bottom which is constantly backfiring when faced with obstacles. National sentiment is mostly associated with regressive forces, which aim at keeping the status quo within national boundaries. At the same time, national sentiment is one of the most illustrative, manipulative and politically useful means of evoking collective unity and solidarity. Contemporary political strategists, therefore, are always keeping it within reach to be used when necessary in the domestic political struggle.

Populists who tackle national sentiments may come and go and liberals who fight against them may win or lose a day, but the fact remains that the 'de-'composition of national states is a recurring failure. This is furthermore directly influenced by another kind of failure - the failure to instantly establish a politically, economically and truly open and inter-exchangeable world while bypassing the long and complicated process. Once again, it is not tolerant multiculturalism but rather, moderate nationalism which seems to be the prevalent discourse to consider.
To reconsider home doesn't necessarily make one homeless.

Saša Karalić




Carl Michael von Housswolff

Juan Pedro Fabra

Wim Jongedijk

Kuang Yu-Tsui

Gillion Grantsaan

Marianne Flotron

Isaac Calos

Isaac Calos

Kuang Yu-Tsui / Harry Heyink

Manel Esparbé i Gasca

Jonas Ohlsson

Bas Medik