comm(o)nism (mixed media, 2018) was exhibited as part of Place exhibition curated by ALL: Art, Language Location at the Ruskin Gallery in Cambridge, UK. Partly, it was conceived as a play on two words communism and communism – flickering between word ‘commons’, widely accepted as desirable, and ‘communism’ which tends to be tarnished, associated with gulags and Stalin’s mass killings. My broad intention was to question the current political system connecting it to the personal experience and a physical site in ex-Yugoslavia. The inherent contradiction persists – whilst socialism tends to be more accepted communism is to be feared.
This ‘commonism’, a place of contradictions and extremes, sometimes as close as difference in one letter, is seen here itself as a place.
This place is closely linked to the notion of home to those of us who have directly experienced the change from socialism to capitalism. To many, for whom, unfortunately, home was destroyed violently. Whilst most may have made different places into a new home, and have material possessions that previously could only dream of, the elusive ‘home’ still tends to be absent. We find it in parts, in fragments, even in the images of a bunker which was a closely kept military secret and completely unknown to anyone, but a few of closest Tito’s generals. Even those working on this underground gigantic structure were blind-folded and sworn to secrecy. With hundreds of rooms containing state-of-the-art furnishing and technical equipment such as fax machines, rendered obsolete before ever being used. It may seem odd, but also logical, that we can find home in places which may have been physically close for a long time, but were also concealed and hidden. Home is a place that was very near, but hidden from us. We were never aware our home existed until it was long gone and rendered useless.