Modernity in YU is Marko Lulic’s first solo exhibition in New York City. 

Modernity in YU includes video works and sculpture, and revisits the modern movement as it played out in communist Yugoslavia during the Titoist era. Modernism, as an artistic expression, was embodied in an ambitious series of monuments littered throughout the country. Lulic worked from the 1978 catalog Spomenici Revolucije 1898-1937-1977, which documents over 250 of these monuments that are dispersed over the whole of former Yugoslavia. The commission and execution of these partisan monuments were testament to utopian ideals and the particular strain of socialism practiced in Yugoslavia. Many of the original monuments are heroic, idealized forms, somewhere between sculptures and buildings, all erected in the public realm. 

Over the course of the last few years, Lulic has remade these monuments in the series Improved Partisan Monuments. The works in this series are models made after the fact, not instructive maquettes or true replicas. Instead, Lulic improves these heroic monuments by building new monuments, imprecise, out of scale and in an array of cheap materials. Perversely, the monuments are stripped of their original meaning and context, left to take on a new set of values and interpretations. 

In conjunction with the exhibition, Lulic has selected three films that in different ways address the failings of modernism and modernization. The program was shown at Anthology Film Archives. 

10.18.05 RANI RANDOVI (Early Works) directed by Zelimir Zilnik 87 minutes / Black and White / 1969 

11.20.05 THEMROC directed by Clusde Faraldo 100 minutes/color/1972 

12.20.05 DIRTY WEEKEND directed by Dino Risi 105 minutes/color/1973 

Marko Lulic paints New-York-School-replicants, sculpts Titoist Yugoslavian Modernism, circulates posters and invitation cards from the Kippenbergian tradition of proactive embarrassment, shoots Reichian-internationalist propaganda videos, photographs series of trash design facades and researches the life of Nikola Tesla (Serbian rival of Edison in the battle between AC and AC/DC). His system knows no boundaries. But it’s not about nostalgia. Lulic appropriated Yugoslavian partisan monuments for the project Modernity in YU (2001/02), which ran over the course of several exhibitions and Mies van der Rohe’s memorial for Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg (which the Nazis destroyed in 1935) for the different versions of Entertainment Center Mies (2003/2004), but he did so with a full awareness of the fact that there is something profoundly “inappropriate” in transferring a public memorial as a “private” sculpture into the gallery space. The inappropriate however is precisely the leverage that allows Lulic to shake fragments of Modernism out of their historic and heroic paralysis in order to examine their potential for being reactivated for the questions of the present. 

Biography taken from Joerg Heiser, Funky Lessons, Revolver Books, Frankfurt, 2005.