Milica Tomić, One day, instead of one night, a burst of machine-gun fire will flash if light cannot come otherwise, 2009
Milica Tomić
One day, instead of one night, a burst of machine-gun fire will flash if light cannot come otherwise

In her photographs, videos, performances and drawings, Milica Tomić (*1960, Serbia) deals with the ideological background, the historical changes and the contemporary politics of her country of birth, Yugoslavia, and its successor state Serbia, where she lives today. "XY the reconstruction of the crime" (1996/1997) decries the loss of individual rights and concurrent violence against minorities. "Portrait of my Mother" (1999) talks about the political defeat of Yugoslav modernism against conservative Nationalism and about gender politics. Genocide is often a theme in the works of Grupa Spomenik (Monument Group), of which Tomić is a member. This group emerged from discussions on how to deal with the violence following the destruction of Yugoslavia in society and art. Tomić’s work often combines the formal elements (photography, drawing, video) with interactive, social and discursive situations, such as lectures ("Matheme", 2010), video discussions and performances ("Politics of Memory", 2007). She has been Chair of the Institute for Contemporary Art (Faculty of Architecture) at the Graz University of Technology since 2014.

Milica Tomić visited locations that were heavy with symbolism and which marked the struggle of the partisans and anti–fascists against the German Wehrmacht in Belgrade. During this performance, as if it were the most natural thing in the world, she openly carried an army gun without being bothered by anyone. In the background, we can hear interviews with partisans which the artist recorded in 2003. Against the backdrop of the current “war on terror”, she tries to establish a connection with the emancipatory fight of the partisans (many of whom were women) by using creative cartography. She poses questions such as who is a terrorist, who is terrorized, what is legitimate resistance and what is a criminal act. In this montage, she roams the city in what seem like endless repetitions and loops, searching in vain for a new political order.

Intervention in public space: 3 September 2009, Belgrade
Camera: Stasha Tomić

Courtesy Milica Tomić & Charim Galerie, Vienna

Document media
Video, colour, sound, English subtitles, 10:20 min

Issue date

conflict, post-communism, public space, resistance, violence