Dora Longo Bahia

During my residency at the Hestia Art Residency & Exhibitions Bureau in Belgrade, Serbia, I developed the research Concrete Communism, centred on the relationship between the image of communism as a political utopia – which can be seen in the work of Brazilian artists, writers and, above all, architects – and images of ruins of “real” communism, such as the Spomeniks from Tito’s era in the former Yugoslavia.

The investigation aimed to establish relations between art and politics through the convergences and divergences between the Brazilian utopian communism and the “real” Yugoslavian communism, from the urban imaginary materialised from 1961, when Yugoslavia founded the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), after the collapse of the colonial system and at the height of the Cold War and the struggles for independence of the peoples of Africa, Asia, Latin America.

During the first month of the residency at Hestia, I carried out a mapping of the Spomenik’s, a series of memorials built between the 1950s and 1980s during the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It was then President Tito’s intention to honour Yugoslav resistance against Axis occupation and oppression during World War II. In addition, I visited museums in the cities of Zagreb, Ljubljana, Sarajevo and Belgrade where I also mapped the brutalist buildings carried out in the period.

In the second month of residency, I produced a series of paintings and photographs and also a video.

Some of the paintings were portraits of Spomeniks on pages of the newspaper “Politika” andd some of them were abstract paintings also on pieces of pages of the same newspaper. I also produced a series of paintings showing the abstract shapes of the Spomeniks on top of children’s paintings. All the paintings were made with acrylic paint on paper.

The photographs were made with pinhole cameras and they will be scanned and printed on cotton paper with dimensions around 100 x 100 cm.

The vides is called “Time of Revolution” and is a compilation of images and texts produced or appropriated during my stay in Hestia.