Fathers and Forefathers, 2011-2014
Video transferred to DVD, text, color, no sound, 2’13”
Courtesy of the artist
Fathers and the Forefathers is a video intervention based on the visual monitoring of the son of the Serbian politician Nenad Čanak. The video shows the child looking for Roman coins using a metal detector in the fields in Vojvodina (Province of Serbia) around Begeč (once a Roman city called Onagrinum). However, the only coins he finds are from the Yugoslav period.
Nenad Čanak’s son has been largely exploited by the political marketing of the party led by his father and appeared in its promotional videos*. Due to the use of children to promote a political party and its ideas, these videos provoked mixed reactions from the public, while the party, publicly recognized as the autonomist party of Vojvodina, defended itself by claiming that the use of a child was legitimate to show the party’s struggle “for heritage” and “for Vojvodina”.**
According to this context, the video is an intervention combing nationalist politics (fighting for territory) and interests of capital (exploitation of territory by private interests). Showing the successor of a Serbian politician literally trying to pull out money form Vojvodina’s soil, the video emphasizes the interdependence of these two dominant matrixes. The video work does not intend to criticize any particular political party (LSV, for example) or the politics of a particular person (Nenad Čanak’s, for example). The aim of the project, rather, is to show the manipulative mechanisms used for implementing politics in a domestic context. It is a telling representation of political reality that is extremely present today – entire state and social assets and cultures flowing into private capital under the guise of patriotism.
Danilo Prnjat intervenes in this political reality with a variety of (performative) projects addressing specific social problems. This includes controversial, sometimes legally problematic actions, interventions and (media) manipulations, as well as social participatory projects. When his work enters the field of activism, the artist often acts by means of excess, as a guerrilla or hacker who invades the system and attacks from within. His most commonly practiced method is to isolate a socially and politically problematic phenomenon and to make it visible by working with it or pushing it to its extreme. Prnjat’s critical activity is indirect and contains an implicit critique that requires intellectual engagement from the viewer. By trying to cross established boundaries of art, Prjnat’s artistic practice intervenes in social reality.
Danilo Prnjat (1982, Herceg Novi, Montenegro) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, University of Novi Sad and holds a degree in Interdisciplinary master studies – Theory of Arts and Media from University of Arts in Belgrade, Serbia. Currently he is a fourth year student at doctoral studies at EGS (PhD in Communication) in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.
Exhibitions include Center for Cultural Decontamination, Belgrade, 2014; Open Systems, Vienna, 2013; Memorijal Nadežde Petrović, Čačak, 2012; BROTkunsthalle, Vienna; International Cyber Art Festival, St. Petersburg; CAA, New York; Rex B92, Belgrade, 2011; Moscow Bienniale of Youth; Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart; Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn, 2010; Art Today Association – Center for Contemporary Art, Plovdiv, Bulgaria; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Museo Nacional de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Futura – Center for Contemporary Art, Prague, 2009; Center Pompidou, Paris, 2008; <rotor> Association for Contemporary Art, Graz; 49. October Salon, Belgrade; Zendai Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai; 13. Puglia Biennale, Bari, 2008; Museum of Contemporary Art, Novi Sad, 2007; La Corte, Galleria di Arte Contemporanea, Florence, 2006.