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Galjer, Jasna:

Between and out of East and West: Yugoslavia and international exhibitions as a strategy of self promotion

In the period of Cold War Yugoslavia had a specific position between and out of Eastern and Western block. Historical surveys of the material culture, including design and architecture of that period till now left Yugoslavia almost out of interest. Very little is known about the ways its model of the “Socialism with human face” reflected on the above mentioned fields, particularly in the sense of political strategy promoting new social and cultural values, as well as industrial resources.

The topic of the proposed paper deals with the international exhibitions in wide range of trade fairs, travelling exhibitions of art and design, from Chicago to Stockholm, Vienna, Paris and Milan to Moscow and Warsaw, as well as Yugoslav participations at World Exhibitions in the period of Cold War, with the focus on Brussels Expo 1958. The medium of exhibition, from the concept and content of display to the spatial articulation of the pavilions is analysed as a manifestation of the continuity of modernist tradition and its transformations under the influence of state politics, in essentially changed circumstances of social and ideological structure, in the period from late forties, after the break with Stalin in 1948 till the end of the sixties, characterised by the opening of the society towards West and the process of democratisation.

During that time, Yugoslavia as a relatively new, in then divided world non aligned state used various models of self representation at the international exhibitions as a medium of self promotion on the international scene.

The intention is to illustrate the role of the exhibition as medium of mass communication and expression of the awareness of the need to promote one’s own cultural and political identity, economic and industrial production, as well as its codes and specific methods of working in the forming of the modernist cultural paradigm, which has not yet been entirely historicised and evaluated.

The purpose of this paper is to show, using selected examples, the way in which the medium of the exhibition functioned as a very efficient means of propaganda, in a range from ideology to the strategy of cultural policy, constituting a key aspect of modernism. strategy of self promotion

Saturday 31 Oct 12.00-13.30 SESSION 8
Panel: Exhibitions and the Performing Arts