The Serbian pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale, its 56th edition, will feature work by Ivan Grubanov, the Museum of Contemporry Art Belgrade, the commissioning institution, announced today.
The Belgrade-born artist will work with curator Lidija Merenik for United Dead Nations, an installation that continues Grubanov’s interest in collective memory and what he calls “dead countries,” or republics like Yugoslavia and the German Democratic Republic. These nations were split up or dissolved during the second half of the 20th century, when Eastern European nations’ borders were constantly shifting.
Grubanov’s previous work includes such series as “Dead Flags” (2011), paintings in which he explored similar themes to those he will revisit in United Dead Nations. For these paintings, Grubanov soaked Yugoslavian flags in chemicals and left them to transfer their ink onto canvases. (Grubanov, a collector of dead flags, was born in Belgrade when Yugoslavia still existed.) The results are abstract paintings in which the flags’ images are unrecognizable. Left behind are magenta, lime-green, and blue splotches broken up by the wrinkles of the flags.
Grubanov’s work has been shown at Berlin’s Loock Galerie and Greece’s National Museum of Contemporary Art. His installation at the Serbian pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale will be his most major exhibition to date.