Inv. št. I 24
Inv. št. I 24
Nika Autor created the first version of Newsreel 62 in 2015, when she was invited to participate in the exhibition Performing the Museum in the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Koroška (KGLU); later, a new and upgraded version was filmed in 2019. Elements of documentary, experimental and essay film intertwine within the movie, while the video itself is embedded in a larger spatial configuration comprised of sporadic visual interventions and works from the KGLU collection by artists Mahmoud Hammad and Jan Forsberg, as well as the booklet on newsreel shreds by Nika Autor, Andreja Hribernik, Nace Zavrl and Andrej Šprah.
In 1966, with the help of the country’s youth brigades, the lottery, the support of the broader community and the now defunct construction giant Vegrad, 2000 square meters of new exhibition spaces for the Art Pavilion in Slovenj Gradec, today the KGLU, materialised in a mere 50 days. This was followed by the opening ceremony of the international exhibition Peace, Humanity and Friendship among Nations, the context of which was much informed by the 20th anniversary of the end of World War II and the writing of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, while the entire event took place under the honorary patronage of the UN. Newsreel 62 builds on archival images from the past, which declared hope, a world without war, and a reference to this past juxtaposed with images depicting the hopeless situation of refugees on the borders of Slovenia in 2015.
The newsreel story focuses on the missing artwork by Syrian artist Mahmoud Hammad entitled Family, which was exhibited in Slovenj Gradec alongside a small print entitled Worker in 1966. In the gallery’s archive we discover that both works arrived in Slovenj Gradec via the Yugoslavian embassy in Damascus, priced at just 25 and 15 dollars; however, after the exhibition, all traces of both works disappeared. Also missing from the collection was a print by the artist Jan Forsberg with the symbolic title War, which was awarded first prize by the international exhibition jury. The only thing left of the work Family was a small reproduction in the exhibition catalogue from 1966, five centimetres in size, a black-and-white contour of four silhouettes. This absence of images dictated the questions that Newsreel 62 – Family and Worker reflect on: What were these images like, the images of the Worker and the Family, and what kind of image can we envisage today, when nearly half a century after the exhibition Yugoslavia has disappeared from the world map, which Syria may be about to, as well? Was the image a foreboding of the future, does it reflect the here and now – that is, the there and then? Was it thinking about a better tomorrow or point to yesterday? Did it depict horror or capture our gaze with its surprising imagination?
When she presented Newsreel 62 at the KGLU in 2015, the author found the work War on the internet, bought it on an online auction in the USA for $77.94, and returned it to the collection of the KGLU. But there was still no information on the works Family and Worker.
In 2019, the print Family by Mahmoud Hammad was found online. The physical work turned out to be located in Jordan. The title of the work was changed to Exiled Family, the print was acquired for $5,000, and the print Worker was returned to the KGLU collection.
Nika Autor, Andreja Hribernik