Happiness for You and Your Family
Newsreel 62- Family and Worker
video, photographic collage, archival material
Project talks about a small city in Yugoslavia, which in 1966, with a help of wider local community in less than fifty days build 2000 square meters of exhibition spaces that were festively opened under the auspices of the United Nations. The twentieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the publication of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights inspired the title of the exhibition – Peace, Humanity and Friendship among Nations. For eight months, it united artists from the West, Yugoslavia and the “Third World”.
The projects thinks about the artworks and the idea of the exhibition in 1966 which conveyed a hopeful vision of the world without wars and confronts them with the hopeless situation of refugees on Slovenian borders in 2016.
Occupying the center stage of the project is the lost work by a Syrian artist Mahmoud Hammad, titled Family and Worker, which was presented in 1966 at the exhibition. 50 years later, both Hammad’s works became untraceable and likewise has the graphic by the Swedish artist Jan Forsberg – War, a depiction of a silent menace of the past, which won the first prize at the exhibition. In 2016, War was recovered, bought for 77.94 US dollars and returned to the collection of the gallery in Slovenj Gradec. However, there was still no trace of Family and Worker. The absence of the image raised two questions: What did the worker and the family look like, what could they look like today, when Yugoslavia has disappeared from the map and when Syria is about to meet the same fate? Did the image forewarn of the future or point to the past?
In 2019, four years after the initiation of the project Mahmoud Hammad’s graphic Family was finally recovered under the name Exiled Family, in Jordan. It was bought and returned to the collection of the gallery in Slovenj Gradec. The exhibition Happiness for You and Your Family draws parallels between the time fragments of the past and the present in order to create a new experience in the world that is increasingly dissolving into worldlessness and to find it a more “appropriate” image.
Newreel 62: the Family and Worker
2015 / 2019, 29’
Editing: Nika Autor
Text: Nika Autor, Andreja Hribernik
Music: Matevž Kolenc
Voice: Pia Nikolič
Translation: Maja Lovrenov
Proofreading: Mojca Hudolin, Jeff Bickert
Production: OF/ Koroška galerija likovnih umetnosti.
Tobacco 001 Cultural Centre, MGLM, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2019
Museum of Contemporary art, KGLU, Slovenj Gradec, Slovenia, 2016
Photo of the installation by Katja Goljat
Newsreel Shreds in PDF available here.
(Text by: Andrej Šprah, Andrej Hribernik, Nace Zavrl, Nika Autor)