Monuments Should Not Be Trusted

15 Jan 2016 – 4 Mar 2016

Cost of entry


Nottingham Contemporary

Nottingham, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Any bus to Nottingham City Centre
  • Lace Market Tram Stop
  • Nottingham Station

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Monuments Should Not Be Trusted sheds light on an extraordinary period in European history, focusing on the “golden years” of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.


Artists and groups include: Marina Abramovic, Zemira Alajbegovic (Gledališce FV), Lutz Becker, August Cernigoj, Goran Djordjevic, Vera Fischer, Karpo Godina, Tomislav Gotovac, Sanja Ivekovic, Katalin Ladik, Lojze Logar, Dušan Makavejev, Goranka Matic, Slavko Matkovic, NSK/New Collectivism, OHO, Dušan Otasevic, Zoran Popovic, Bogdanka Poznanovic, Mladen Stilinovic, Sven Stilinovic, Lazar Stojanovic, Raša Todosijevic, Milica Tomic, Goran Trbuljak, Želimir Žilnik.

Curated by Lina Džuverovic

Monuments Should Not Be Trusted sheds light on an extraordinary period in European history, focusing on the “golden years” of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Encompassing the period from the early 1960s to the mid 1980s, the exhibition features over 100 artworks and artefacts which illuminate the key contradictions of this single party state, built after WWII on socialist principles, yet also immersed in “utopian consumerism”.

As the first UK exhibition to showcase art from the former Yugoslavia in its wider social, economic and political context, it begins with the rise of consumerism midway through Josip Broz Tito’s 37 year presidency, and ends a few years after his death in 1980. As well as film, collage, photography, sculpture and painting, the exhibition includes music videos, state commissioned TV art programmes, and gifts made by workers for the President. Yugoslavia pursued a system developed after a dispute with the Soviet Union in 1948 – “self management” within a previously state-run economy. Yugoslavia had few restrictions on travel, meaning that its citizens – and artists – were more open to outside influences than their Communist neighbours. During the 1960s artists who gathered in the newly created Student Cultural Centres in Ljubljana, Zagreb and Belgrade turned to conceptual art. They were retrospectively named the new art practice generation.

Four key themes are explored across Nottingham Contemporary’s four galleries. Public Space and the Presence of Tito reflects upon the Yugoslav people's complex emotional relationship to their President, and the resulting "self-censorship" of artists. Many of the artefacts are from the Museum of Yugoslav History in Belgrade, where Tito’s mausoleum and many thousands of objects from his personal collection are now housed. Socialism and Class Difference looks at inequality during Yugoslavia’s “golden period”. By the 1970s unemployment was a threat to its socialist ideals. Student protests and underlying ethnic tensions are also explored. Comradess Superwoman addresses the issues faced by women in Yugoslavia, where equal rights legislation coexisted with patriarchy in the private sphere. The growth of magazines, film and advertising also introduced a new role for women – the sex symbol. Utopian Consumerism and Subcultures showcases the explosion of punk and psychedelia expressed in music, video, screen-printing and collage that appropriated pop culture, often humorously. The emergence of Yugoslavia’s new wave, the country’s most definitive form of pop music, is also documented in 80s music videos and TV programmes. The title of the exhibition is taken from a work by the Yugoslav film-maker Dušan Makavejev.



Lina Džuverovic

Exhibiting artists

Marina Abramović

Marina Abramović

Sven Stilinovic

Dušan Otasevic

Lutz Becker

Sanja Ivekovic

Lojze Logar

Tomislav Gotovac

Milica Tomic

Raša Todosijevic

Mladen Stilinovic

Zemira Alajbegovic (Gledališce FV)

Vera Fischer

Karpo Godina

NSK/New Collectivism


Zoran Popovic

Lazar Stojanovic

Katalin Ladik

Želimir Žilnik

Slavko Matkovic

August Cernigoj

Goran Djordjevic

Goran Trbuljak

Goranka Matic

Dušan Makavejev

Bogdanka Poznanovic


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