Nikola Radić Lucati

The fever (numismatic value)
2013
Installation
Recherche: Milovan Pisarri,
Fotografie: Archive of Yugoslavia

›Commemorative plaques have a special function in history, they should ensure that famous people and events are permanently remembered in an aesthetically pleasant way. In Yugoslavian socialism, remembrance was closely tied to the hierarchy of state and party, medals were awarded for active resistance. Civilian victims were only remembered in exceptional cases. Nowadays, in the times of historical revisionism and fascist movements regaining strength, victims are intentionally left to oblivion in order to avoid remembrance leading to uneasy revelations and insights.

The commemorative plaque for providing a false testimony should transcend the obliteration of memory by connecting the living testimony with the atrocity at the location where the crime was committed. The commemorative plaque should simultaneously overcome the possibility of censorship by being mobile and installable in interior spaces in which the testimony can be guarded and preserved. Commemorative plaques are not artworks. The discovery of a historical site of an event of the Holocaust in present-day Serbia has a different meaning today and other consequences than if such an event had occurred twenty years ago.

In the age of revisionism and the new social norm of appeasement through mutual recognition, it is a call to review the established framework of the political order that still determined hierarchies of victims, in which the testimony, based on forensic findings, is brought to the fore of a new political discourse again. This demand will not necessarily lead to a return to the ethic category of responsibility in contemporary consciousness as long as the other concept, which has the same roots, namely respect, cannot be called upon either.

The permanent marking of the event at the site where it occurred would only serve to make the event a part of the media landscape of a post-war and post-genocide state with its socio-economic and ethnic majorities that still advocate ideologies that are perfectly suitable to stabilise the injustice of the past wars.

At the same time, it is not possible not to enter into the discourse and not offer the crime and the testimony of it to the sacrificial altar as long as there is the slightest chance to make the gold in the eye of the ›innocent present‹ sparkle, if not to speak their language, only for a moment, so that the ›higher meaning-carriers‹1 which is in no way influenced by the silence of the past, can hear the words of the witness.‹

(Text: Nicola Radić Lucati)

1 Giorgio Agamben, Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive, trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen, Zone Books: New York, 1999.

Nikola Radić Lucati (*1971 in Belgrade) lives and works in Tel Aviv and Belgrade.

 

 

In collaboration with Rafał Jakubowicz:

Das Seine – Forschungsprojekt
2011
Nikola Radić Lucati, As They Stand, 14 photographs
Rafał Jakubowicz , FIASKO, lettering made of corroded steel

The artistic research project Das Seine connects places whose historical meanings today appear diametrically opposed to us: Staro Sajmište, the old fair ground in the centre of Belgrade which was turned into a concentration camp by the SS and Gestapo, and architecture views from the south of Tel Aviv and Jaffa. The architectural similarities between the photographed building complexes are therefore all the more striking to the viewer. Together, the fourteen photographs by Nikola Radić Lucati and a sculptural work by Rafał Jakubowicz, the lettering FIASKO, form the artistic research complex Das Seine, in which individual branches of the Bauhaus tradition are examined in different historical constellations. All fourteen photographs by Nikola Radić Lucati depict architectures built under the influence of the Bauhaus that were meant to give a positive signal for a social departure to modernism. While the buildings in Israel were to offer modern dwellings for a young nation, Staro Sajmište was erected in 1937 as an international fair complex and as a representative part of a ‘New Belgrade’, four years before the invasion of the National Socialists. Between 1942 and 1944, around 32,000 people were interned on the area between representative pavilions before being driven on to other camps. The camp counted as one of the most brutal Gestapo camps in occupied Serbia and was the site of incredible atrocities; the 7,000 Jewish women and children and elderly of Belgrade as well as members of the Roma people were murdered here. After the war, the grounds were offered to artists as studios. Today, the artists and descendants Roma families are living in the dilapidated buildings; all attempts of various initiatives to establish a memorial center for the victims have failed until now, despite a resolution by the city council.

The German lettering FIASKO made of corroded steel by Rafał Jakubowicz is the second part of the joint work Das Seine. By using a historical typography, Jakubowicz refers to the historical synthesis of two developments conceived of as contrary in German history, the artistic avant-garde and National Socialism. As an inmate of the Buchenwald concentration camp, the former Bauhaus student and colleague Franz Ehrlich designed the gate inscription Jedem das Seine in the style of the Bauhaus, which was partly adopted by the Nazis despite the official despise of international modern style. After being released in 1939, Ehrlich went on to design further structures including the commander’s villa in Buchenwald and the camp’s zoo. Afterwards, he was a soldier of the punishment unit 999 in Greece. In 1946 Franz Ehrlich allegedly returned from war imprisonment in Yugoslavia to Germany, where he became the head of the department for reconstruction in Dresden. As a master student of the Bauhaus, but also as a celebrated architect in the GDR, Ehrlich’s biography invites one to call into question what is seemingly clear by considering the ambiguity of the missing parts of his biography.

Nikola Radić Lucati (*1971 in Belgrade) lives and works in Tel Aviv and Belgrade.

Rafał Jakubowicz (*1974 in Poznań) lives and works in Poznań.

    Nikola Radic Lucati: ›The Fever (numismatic value)‹, Installation, 2013 Cured UV auf Stahl. Photo: Małgorzata Kujda
    Nikola Radic Lucati: ›The Fever (numismatic value)‹, Installation, 2013 Cured UV auf Stahl. Photo: Małgorzata Kujda
    Nikola Radic Lucati: ›The Fever (numismatic value)‹, Installation, 2013 Cured UV auf Stahl. Photo: Małgorzata Kujda
    Nikola Radic Lucati: ›The Fever (numismatic value)‹, Installation, 2013 Cured UV auf Stahl. Photo: Małgorzata Kujda
    ›Das Seine. Forschungsprojekt‹ 2011. Nikola Radić Lucati: ›As They Stand‹, 14 photographs Rafał Jakubowicz: ›Fiasco‹, lettering made of corroded steel. Photo: Małgorzata Kujda
    ›Das Seine. Forschungsprojekt‹ 2011. Nikola Radić Lucati: ›As They Stand‹, 14 photographs Rafał Jakubowicz: ›Fiasco‹, lettering made of corroded steel. Photo: Małgorzata Kujda
    ›Das Seine. Forschungsprojekt‹ 2011. Nikola Radić Lucati: ›As They Stand‹, 14 photographs Rafał Jakubowicz: ›Fiasco‹, lettering made of corroded steel. Photo: Małgorzata Kujda
    ›Das Seine. Forschungsprojekt‹ 2011. Nikola Radić Lucati: ›As They Stand‹, 14 photographs Rafał Jakubowicz: ›Fiasco‹, lettering made of corroded steel. Photo: Małgorzata Kujda
    ›Das Seine. Forschungsprojekt‹ 2011. Nikola Radić Lucati: ›As They Stand‹, 14 photographs Rafał Jakubowicz: ›Fiasco‹, lettering made of corroded steel. Photo: Małgorzata Kujda
    ›Das Seine. Forschungsprojekt‹ 2011. Nikola Radić Lucati: ›As They Stand‹, 14 photographs Rafał Jakubowicz: ›Fiasco‹, lettering made of corroded steel. Photo: Małgorzata Kujda
    Nikola Radić Lucati: ›The fever (numismatic value)‹, 2013, Installation view, Photo: David Brandt
    ›Das Seine. Forschungsprojekt‹ 2011. Nikola Radić Lucati: ›As They Stand‹, 14 photographs Rafał Jakubowicz: ›Fiasco‹, lettering made of corroded steel. Photo: Małgorzata Kujda