One Day: Milica Tomic

curated by Eugenio Viola

z2o Sara Zanin Gallery is pleased to present the first solo show of Milica Tomic (born in former Yugoslavia) in Rome. Entitled One Day, the artist realizes a project that began in 2009 in Belgrade, continued in Copenhagen, and now takes place in Rome. The show consists of a performance in relation with the photographs and the video which are present in the gallery space.

Milica Tomic belongs to a generation of artists that in the 90s, was compelled to identify and recognize themselves on a basis of state and nationality. This generation is rooted within a specific geographic and cultural origin that necessarily confronted them with political ideologies and with history, exposing the artists to a series of questions they are incapable of eliminating from their practice. The condition lived like a part of their artistic vocation, hardly possible to be ignored, almost like a part of their destiny.

Do they elaborate politics and history from an aesthetic point of view? Does the artist need to be political or apolitical? Can the artist have an actual, personal view of history? Milica Tomic answers these questions with a caustic re-reading of the past and its stratifications, its symbols and marks, elaborated across a complexity of references in which the same story and events are correlated and introduced into a mental context that is open, vital, and conflicting, if not deliberately provocative. Leaving the trauma of former Yugoslavia’s disintegration, Tomic investigates in an often autobiographical manner, the political and media violence filtered reality across the individual and collective experience.

Symbolic of its modus operandi, the project One Day (2009-12), begun in Belgrade with a public action and without authorization, during which the artist goes for a walk in town flaunting a machine gun under her arm, in an extremely natural way, as if she were carrying a grocery bag or an umbrella, and retraces the places defeated by the supporters of the National Motion of Liberation during WWII against the fascist troops. The artist repeated this unauthorized walk in Copenhagen and finally in Rome, with the same procedure, in different places and different times, all sharing the memory of the antifascist resistance.

In One Day, the cinematic virtue of invalidating time and different spaces are all pushed to the extreme by Tomic, according to a strategy that defines “artificial landscape” or “creative geography,” expressions borrowed from the technical homonym of film production invented from Lev Kuleshov in the 1920s. The present tense meets the past and merges into a single, irrepressible presence, created by the violence and ancient abuses of power that are reflected in the rekindling of old and new intolerances, in the new barbarity of the terrorism but also through hypocrisy, in conformity, indifference or in anger. The artist defines the American realpolitik as a condition of “permanent war,” like trotzkyism. “This new type of war introduced a specific mechanism of criminalization and also redefined particular ethnic groups, status, religious groups and political organizations outside of the law – the artist declares – a permanent era of war that leaves an open question: who is the terrorized and who the terrorist?” (M. Tomic).