Born without a reason : The Internal Soliloquy in Personal Encounter with Heroines 2011-2013

 

We select consciously (or unconsciously) what to remember and what to forget both in our personal and in collective memory. In her work the artist Milica Rakić is occupied with renewing memory by striving against the selective memory. The dialogue with the past never stops, history is being altered and re-written; new heroes, new defenders are in fashion… There are no heroines among them, even though in today’s newspeak according to the valid spelling rules professions and titles of female gender regularly receive the suffixes: –kinja/–ica/–ka in order to fit into the projected picture of pro-European society. Almost emblematic national heroines’ photography is not familiar to the new generations of the “fitness” ideology, because a woman becomes again only a beautiful view for male eyes, merchandise which is to be better sold (married). By restoring the society’s tradition after the wars in the nineties, and by returning the deeply patriarchal model, today, after more than six decades of gaining the right to vote, we are fighting again for the society of equal possibilities under the wing of European values and standards. But, are not these the universal values already achieved by our female ancestors? And why are we ashamed of our own anti-fascist tradition rejecting it as the undesirable legacy?

 

The exhibition entitled “Born for No Reason” reexamines the relationship towards the recent past which must not be erased. The socialist society ensured equality as one of the central principles, at least at the theoretical level and declarative proclamation. A new woman was promoted who was supposed to reject everything “old” and transform herself into an independent and self-conscious person. Female body and the way of representing it had always been the established order confirmation, so it did not occur by chance that in the first post-war years the socialist country promoted a woman of new type, who was partisan in war, and activist in peace, a strong and muscled shock-worker without any features of femininity who was condemned as provincial and petit bourgeois. With the advent of the mass culture and consumer society during the fifties and eighties, the shock-workers, war and work heroines leave the public scene almost unnoticed, leaving the space for the new idealized picture of reality and family happiness with new and more accessible cosmetics products and home appliances which consolidate a woman in her traditional gender roles . The iconic picture of a partisan, female combatant frightened even the emancipation ideas creators themselves, who were their former fellow soldiers. Because, as Svetlana Slapšak asserts “a woman armed with a weapon chooses for herself”.

 

Can we expect that “history” bursts into our face already tomorrow by suppressing, erasing and by means of uncritical actions towards the decades of the second half of the twentieth century? Milica Rakić warns us about all that by her art work, and by involving us in the critical dialogue by means of provocative messages – taken over and adapted from different sources – and written in contemporary language. She plays with words, with interwoven public and political issues; she converts the past into the present in her specific manner, with the obligatory dose of humour, critically thinking over the current picture of society. Her art work comprises static and mobile photography, found on the Internet, and philosophical, timeless, often ironic and always ambiguous thoughts which she brings in correlation with history and recollection, and above all the collective memory. By putting together the incompatible, Milica Rakić generates ties between the photography and the accompanying messages, which she writes, and these messages acquire new significance, for the recollection to be renewed requires the necessary narrative.                                                      Ana Panić - Art Historian