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Claudia Zini

Courtauld Institute of Art

Project title: Post-War Negotiations: Art from Bosnia-Herzegovina in the Global Field

Supervised by Klara Kemp-Welch.

While 1960s and 1970s experimental Yugoslav art has become increasingly prominent in international exhibitions and in art historical publications, academic recognition of Bosnian contemporary art is missing within the field of South Eastern European art history. Bosnia-Herzegovina was one of the poorest republics of the Former Yugoslavia, and throughout the 1960s and 1970s ambitious Bosnian artists tended to gravitate towards other centers in the Yugoslav Federation. Thanks to the ferment produced by the Olympics Games hosted in Sarajevo in 1984, artists from the region begun to forge a thriving new art scene. Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, the war of 1992-1995 witnessed the devastation of Bosnia Herzegovina. Countless intellectuals from around the world flocked to Sarajevo to watch the events unfold. The war forced artists to alternative spaces, where they began to explore new topics, questioning the consequences of the war in relation to identity, trauma and memory.

Recapitulating regional art historical events since the early 1990s and tracing their legacy for Bosnia-Herzegovina today, my thesis works outwards from this case study to examine more widely the cultural processes affecting contemporary artists from previously war-torn nations today.