CologneOFF 2011 – videoart in a global context
April2011 – solo feature
Serbian media artist
My father was born in Svilajinac, as a child of a postwar “rebuilding the country” project. My granny was born on the island of Hvar, and my grandfather was her second husband, she married him after the communists had killed her first one. My grandfather was from Slovenia. His father was Jewish, he came from Germany, and his father had come from France. I believe he was the descendant of Jesus… My grandfather’s mother was from the Uskok people. She lived in a forest away from people and her hair was down to her feet long. My mother was born in Tekeris. When she was a baby, she was bitten by a werewolf… Her father was killed and her mother was often strangled by the witches. I am Boris Sribar, born in 1979, in Sabac, Serbia. I graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, Sculpture Dept. in Belgrade.
I love you so much, I could kill for you
Video presents the artist reading the Bible aggressively, screaming and shouting, unlike the usual calm way. It is a comment on individuals and groups who abuse love towards something (in this case towards god) as an excuse for violence against their opponents.
Repeating Jesus or The Life of Boris
“Why would anyone repeat the sacrifice of Jesus nowadays? It seems to me that this is quite unnecessary. On one hand, isn’t this a superstition from the Middle Ages, ticked of by centuries of European anti-Semitism and religious proscription? On the other hand, if you accept the Bible as a collection of facts, and not just an entertaining story, then there is definitely no need for repetition. Once is quite enough. Hasn’t Jesus already lived, suffered and died for our sins, thus freeing us from this obligation?
Nevertheless, this is exactly what Boris Sribar is doing in his video The Cycle. Producing everyday situations that resemble accepted conceptions about the life of Jesus. He records his usual daily activities – such as a diner incidentally with 12 of his friends, taking a bath or going for a walk. However, the closer we get to the moment in which these actions start looking like biblical scenes, the image drops to slow-motion and ends in a freeze-frame.
This work questions the new Orthodox-Christian paradigm among intellectuals and artist of the younger generation as the mild right-wing ideology that is latently forming the political scene in Serbia today. There is also some ironic self-mythologisation, which characterises the artist’s previous work. His “normal” everyday look (hair and beard) looks like a crossover between Jesus and a samurai.
So, he’s not the Messiah. He’s just a very naughty boy!”
Men Don’t Cry
In the video work “Men don’t cry”, man (author) is sitting at the table and cutting onions. Soon tears start to show as a physiological reaction to the onion. But at one point a man really begins to cry, it becomes quite obvious, he weeps and wipes tears, after a while he calms down and continues to cut. The video was filmed in real time and takes 11 minutes.
This work is the author’s comment on the legacy of patriarchal and gender issues. Title of the work is contradictory to the synopsis of video, onion is an alibi, but the sarcasm becomes obvious when a man really begins to cry.
People eventually become emotionally rigid, refrain from showing emotions, especially for men. By performing this work the author realized that he has not cried for a long time and making this performance he experienced a catharsis.
What is my Citizenship
The work is about prejudices and stereotypes based on one’s citizenship. I photographed more than 200 people, all of them my acquaintances and all citizens of Serbia. Each person gave a statement, something they wanted written below the portrait: personal, but without revealing where they were coming from. The people where more prepared to disclose information from their private sphere than to talk about world events. As a result, we learn about their wishes, dreams, feelings or what is currently on their minds…