The artist Ana Adamović deals with issues in identity and memory, personal and collective alike, through long-term projects in photography and video.

The exhibition Two Choirs consists of three works, which, in the space of a gallery, might also be defined as three distinct units. The first unit comprises archive materials: photographs of school choirs/orchestras from children’s albums sent from the 1960s on to President Tito as birthday or New Year gifts, as well as texts on education and schooling written and published in the socialist Yugoslavia. The author semantically complements and builds upon this archival material by inscribing it into the other two video works, Two Choirs and My Country is Most Beautiful of All.

Starting from archival photographs of two children’s choirs, the Kolibri and the I Educational Institution for deaf children, the artist produced video works by reconstructing forms and events. By inscribing the contents of this historical material into these video works, the exhibition presents a story about former Yugoslavia’s past and ideology, first and foremost through the use and role of youth and the function of young people in it.

A 1962 photograph of the school choir of the I Educational institution for deaf children in Zagreb is the starting and visual reference point of work Two Choirs (2013). Unlike the photograph, the video work shows children performing a song in sign language, universally accepted today but in the 1960s still not used in Yugoslav schools for hearing-impaired children.

The video work My Country is Most Beautiful of All (2011–2013) constitutes a direct reconstruction of an event. 24 years after their concert in Belgrade and 20 years since the outbreak of war in ex-Yugoslavia, some of the former members of the Kolibri came together to sing, once more, “My Country is Most Beautiful of All” — in the same city, but in a completely different country. The Kolibri were the best-known children’s choir in the former Yugoslavia, whose repertoire included not only children’s, but also patriotic songs.

Exploring possible instances of the ideological manipulation on childhood in history, the exhibition Two Choirs also directly examines the concept of the archive itself, its use, and that of photography. By reconstructing the past, the video acts in the present: what is the role of the past in our perception of reality and anticipation of the future.

The artist is grateful to the Museum of Yugoslav History for using their archival materials.

Ana Adamović (1974) holds a degree in comparative literature from the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade, studied photography at the Art Institute of Boston, and is currently enrolled in the doctoral programme at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Since 1999, she has participated at numerous solo and group exhibitions in Serbia and abroad: Brunswick, Germany; Verona, Italy; Regensburg, Germany; Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina; Belgrade, Serbia; Vienna, Austria, and elsewhere. Her video work Kancona (Canzone) was awarded at the 51st October Salon in 2010 and her work on the project Komunikacija(Communication) won the Erste prize for social integration in 2007. She founded the Belgrade-based organisation Kiosk – Platform for Contemporary Art. She lives and works in Belgrade.

Curator: Una Popović