Saša Karalić

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Video, 22 minutes, 2006

The video work "Schwabo" is a documentary portrait of Radenko Piljagić nicknamed Schwabo,
a musician, visual artist and poet from Ivanjska, a village near Banjaluka, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Through serial of interviews with Schwabo, Karalić is showing an authentic and specific mixture of cultural, political and religious influences embodied in the main character.

The absurdity of highly contradictory elements and symbols that Schwabo is using in the video is almost incompatible with his honest dedication to his ideas and work as well as to his well thought-through approach to philosophy, art and life. Throughout the video, he is moving with ease from the red Che Guevara T-shirt to the traditional church clothes and, in the end of the video, to the cowboy outfit; his music repertoire ranges from the modern folk music to the socialistic youth song "You can count on us" and "The lonely cowboy". His religious dedication doesn't exclude car smuggling; his nostalgic recalling of the socialistic past seems not to contradict his religious beliefs. Because, as he says: "We are forced to do what we do in times that we live in and to adapt our work to those times". Schwabo is a symptomatic reflection of a complex cultural, political and economical situation through which he is defined - of a certain Zeitgeist , as he says.

By focusing on individuality of the character that on astonishing and sometimes comical way is reflecting the complexity of the contemporary social and political confusion, Saša Karalić is pointing out an increasingly intense and chaotic fusion of the global popular culture with the local tradition that pragmatically and more and more frequently uses symbols of national and religious identity.

(Sanja Horvatincić)

Translated from Croatian