Magazine article Artforum International

Jusuf Hadzifejzovic

Magazine article Artforum International

Jusuf Hadzifejzovic

Article excerpt

Jusuf Hadzifejzovic started to make his "depots" in 1984 in Sarajevo, where he lived before the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina began. The series of installations--each named after the city in which they took place (Sarajevo, Belgrade, Dubrovnik, and many other sites in former Yugoslavia; and Berlin, Cracow, Graz, Milan, and Antwerp where the artist now lives)--is intended to expose the state-run "art system" in former Yugoslavia and to examine the economic and political situation. Hadzifejzovic entered the museum's vault to show what was preserved in this "forbidden zone." By exhibiting works that had virtually never been seen before--kept there often for political reasons, or out of historical neglect, or simply because they were waiting for "better times"--he has been systematically airing the museum's "dirty laundry."

In his first Sarajevo Depot, 1984, Hadzifejzovic exhibited the wooden boxes in which the museum packed works by Yugoslav artists when they represented the country abroad. Besides the artists' names, the labels on the boxes contained the names of ambassadors in nonaligned countries. Taking the art museum as "center of distribution" (not of art but of politics), Hadzifejzovic put the manipulation of artists on display.

Sarajevo Sevdah--Berlin Depot, 1993, was based on the same working principle as the artist's other such works. Hadzifejzovic comes to the city with "empty hands," and in uncovering its strata he acts as an archaeologist from the future, who "couldn't tell any more what is art and what is not. …

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