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The Representative Portrait of the Childhood in the Socialist Yugoslavia

Ana Adamovic
Research Grantee Academy of Fine Arts Vienna | Dissertation Completion Fellowship 2016|17


The project is proposing one possible reading of the Yugoslav socialist state, its dominant models and legacy, focusing on the representative portrait of the institutional childhood, while suggesting that the sphere of the institutional childhood might be the exact place from which binary oppositions concerning the Yugoslav socialist state could be disturbed and opened for the new readings.

The starting point of the research are photo-albums that Yugoslav president Tito has been receiving from and in the name of the Yugoslav children for more than three decades. Those albums could be perceived as a case study of how the Yugoslavs were representing themselves to their leader, but more importantly, they witness of the dominant models in the great project of creating new man, new kind of the society, paradigmatic shifts in the ideology of a Yugoslav socialism and changes in country’s politics.

Going beyond the notions of performativity in the socialist “totalitarian” regimes, the project is questioning the dominant models and values invested in children of the Socialist Yugoslavia as “architects of the future”. It is researching into ideas of possible futures as constructed in the wake of the WWII, and into possibility of thinking the future in today’s, “post-ideological” world.

Yugoslavia appears to be an ideal starting point for this kind of research for the very reason that it doesn’t exist anymore - it could be seen as an experiment that didn’t succeed, but an experiment that still has a potential when rethinking alternatives for the present situation. That potential is seen not in restoring the past, and not even in pointing at the moment when everything went wrong so it could be changed in the future, but rather in asking again the same or similar questions offered in the past, the ones on which adequate answers have never been given.


Ana Adamović is dealing with issues of identity and memory, both personal and collective by working on the long-term photography and video projects. Since 1999 her work was exhibited on numerous solo and group exhibitions in Serbia and abroad, most recently in the Museum of Yugoslav History in Belgrade, Salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Rijeka, Museum of Photography in Thessaloniki, Osage Art Foundation in Hong Kong, China, Museum of Photography in Braunschweig.
She graduated at the department for the World Literature at the Belgrade University and studied photography at the Art Institute of Boston. She is a PhD in Practice candidate at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna.