Mileta Prodanović

1/707 343*, 2014
Installation with a two-channel projection, sound, two frottage imprints and a model constructed of Lego-cubes.
Courtesy of the artist

 

The point of departure for 1/707 343 is the experience of so-called remote viewing (RV) recorded in a diary by my grandfather (and namesake) Mileta Prodanović (1883-1945) on August the 4th, 1914, during the CER offensive in the WWI battle between Serbia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire:

 

(text No. 1) I sat behind the cannons on the roots of the old cherry tree eroded by the rain. The battery was in operation. I was so tired that I thought that my heart would fall asleep. Leaning on my elbows I fell asleep for a moment. Suddenly I saw the image of a bloody battle that was taking place in the large, straight streets of a village; the beautiful church was being destroyed by the artillery and on the top of the ruined bell tower I saw a brick on the very edge. More than half of its length was leaning above the abyss. I wondered how it was possible that despite gravity it did not fall. In that moment the firing squad advanced and I saw my brother Zdravko with unsheathed sword in front of the soldiers. In that instant he was shot and fell down. I suddenly woke up. All that happened in a moment shorter than a second. I jumped up from the spot and rubbed my forehead. I realized that it was a dream.

 

A couple of days later, after the battle, my grandfather was informed that his brother was killed in combat. He went to see the place where it happened. On August the 11th, 1914, he wrote in his diary:

(text No. 2) We arrive at 10 o’clock. Prnjavor village is in ruins: the destroyed houses are everywhere. When I arrive at the church I see the bell tower damaged by the artillery shells. A brick is on the top, more than half of its length hanging over the abyss. It doesn’t fall down. I stopped, looked around at the large, straight streets of the village and realized that it is very well known to me from my dream behind the cannons… I crossed myself in astonishment: “My God, how is that possible?”… We came to the main crossroad, the very spot my late brother Zale perished. Right there, one meter from the corner, in the direction of Topuzovića Inn, the traces of his blood are still visible.

 

The notion that our lives are largely determined by past occurrences is commonplace. The diverse visual arts and literature-based work of Mileta Prodanović frequently looks at the various modalities in which the past is evident in the modern environment.

 

 

Mileta Prodanović (1959, Belgrade, former Yugoslavia) studied architecture and painting. He graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade in 1983, and got his masters degree in the same faculty two years later. He specialised at the Royal College of Arts in London, in 1989 and 1990. He gained his PhD in the Faculty of Fine Arts in 2009. Since 1990, he has been working at the faculty as assistant, assistant professor and associate professor. He has exhibited (since 1980) in numerous solo and joint exhibitions in Yugoslavia and various cities in Europe (Rome, Tubingen, Toulouse, Venice, Vienna, Graz, Prague, Regensburg, Kiev, and other). He also took part in the Venice Biennale in 1986 in the Yugoslavian pavilion. Since 1983, he has been publishing prose, essays on visual arts and socio-political texts. He has won awards for his works in literature and fine arts.
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* The title of the work (1/707 343) equals the number of persons perished in Serbia in WWI. The estimates vary from 400. 000 to 1. 300.000. The number 707.343 is based on the study: Ernest L. Bogart: Direct and indirect costs of the great world war, New York: Oxford University Press, 1919. Page 27

 

 

 

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