INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE | Winners or Losers? Collections and Archives in Post-socialist Spaces
2 and 3 March 2018 | Museum of Modern Art auditorium

Marij Pregelj, Sutjeska, 1962, mosaic, Palace of the Federal Executive Council of the SFRY (today Palace of Serbia), Belgrade. Foto: Dejan Habicht / Moderna galerija, Ljubljana.


Winners or Losers?

Collections and Archives in Post-socialist Spaces

International conference


Moderna galerija, Ljubljana, 2 and 3 March 2018



Keynote lecture: Boris Groys

Speakers: Zdenka Badovinac, Vjera Borozan, Mira Gaćina, Vit Havranek, Andreja Hribernik, Solvita Krese, Asja Mandić, Tihomir Milovac, Dejan Sretenović, Daniel Muzyczuk, Kuba Szreder, Adam Szymczyk, Slaven Tolj, Rok Vevar

Moderators and respondents: Alenka Gregorič, Marko JenkoIda Hiršenfelder, Bojana Piškur, Igor Španjol, Adela Železnik



The “Winners or Losers?” conference is being organized at the occasion of a great retrospective of Marij Pregelj at Moderna galerija. Marij Pregelj was one of the most prominent Slovene modernist painters. In his last will and testament, Pregelj bequeathed his oeuvre of paintings to Moderna galerija in Ljubljana and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade in equal parts; his art was thus divided between the two institutions a few years before the breakup of Yugoslavia. The Belgrade museum has recently reopened, after being closed for renovation for ten years. We see these two events – the long-awaited reopening of the Belgrade museum and Pregelj’s retrospective, which reestablished inter-institutional collaboration at this level by featuring works from both museums’ collections – as a sign of a new, better time for our museums. Alas, we can still witness examples of institutions in our region that are isolated and struggling to operate, particularly in the territory of former Yugoslavia, where museums began facing serious difficulties after the breakup of the federal state, the nationalist wars that followed, and the reintroduction of capitalism.


Boris Groys, the keynote speaker at our conference, once wrote that the numerous exhibitions and museum acquisitions of Eastern European art in the West are a vehicle for the rapid museumization of the East, which, among other things, indicates that the West won the Cold War.

A closer look at the museums in the formerly socialist countries reveals that the ones that fare best are either privately funded or situated in the few economically thriving countries, while most other public institutions in the region work under very unfavorable conditions that do not allow them to add to and upgrade their collections. In some multinational countries, such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, the question of the founding – and with it, also the funding – of the institutions has remained unresolved. A number of eminent artists have left the region, migrating to the West, and some artists who have managed to make a breakthrough in the international art market are now selling their works at prices that place them out of reach of local institutions.


Not everything is bleak, however, as can be seen from the existing museum collections. When considering the art kept by the museums in the region and their history, we can see the enormity of their symbolic capital and realize that serious professional work cannot bypass them. Increasingly aware of their mission, the museums in the region are getting progressively involved in inter-institutional collaborations, which are particularly important on the territories of former larger states, such as former Yugoslavia, where there are growing numbers of initiatives that view the former common heritage not only in terms of sharing the material cultural wealth, but also in terms of promoting the immaterial experience of the commons.


The “Winners or Losers?” conference will bring together representatives of museums from Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Monte Negro, Macedonia, Czech Republic, Poland and Latvia – curators, museum directors, and theorists who are trying to rethink collections and archives in post-socialist spaces from the current sociopolitical vantage point. The collections of Eastern and Central European museums that our speakers will present were mostly nationally-oriented upon their inception, and have as such always constituted building blocks of local contexts. Today they are increasingly used as tools in international dialogue. Formerly, museums in our region used to be looked down upon as (too) provincial, since they could not keep up with the Western museums in building substantial international collections. On the other hand, our museums did amass extremely valuable artistic and archival material that is now becoming more and more interesting for the broader international space. This does not mean that these museums covered all art; in particular the avant-garde traditions were often left out and are only now finding their way into museums. So how should we think our museums today, when local culture is becoming internationally interesting both as a market niche and as a tool for building particular contexts?


The conference is organized in the European Year of Culture Heritage 2018.




Friday, 2 March 2018

9:30–10:00 registration & coffee

10:00–10:15 welcome by Zdenka Badovinac (MG+MSUM)



10:15–11:40 Boris Groys

11:40–12:00 break



12:00–12: 20 Introduction by Dejan Sretenović, Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, Serbia


12:20–12:35 Tihomir Milovac, Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, Croatia


12:35–12:50 Mira Gaćina, Museum of Contemporary Art in Skopje, FYR Macedonia


12:50–13:05 Vjera Borozan, National Museum of Montenegro, Cetinje, Montenegro

13:05–14:05 break


14:05–14:20 Asja Mandić, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina


14:20–14:35 Andreja Hribernik, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Koroška in Slovenj Gradec, Slovenia


14:35–14:50 Slaven Tolj, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rijeka, Croatia

14:50–15:10 break


15:10–16:10 discussion

Respondents: Alenka Gregorič, City Art Gallery Ljubljana / MGML; ; Marko Jenko, Moderna galerija, Ljubljana


16:30–17:30 guided tour of the Marij Pregelj retrospective by Martina Vovk



Saturday, 3 March 2018




10:00–10:20 Introduction by Zdenka Badovinac, Moderna galerija, Ljubljana, Slovenia


10:20–10:35 Adam Szymczyk, Kontakt, Art Collection of Erste Foundation, Vienna, Austria


10:35–10:50 Daniel Muzyczuk, Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, Poland

10:50–11:10 break


11:10–12:10 discussion

Responders: Bojana Piškur, Igor Španjol; Moderna galerija, Ljubljana

12:10–13:10 break




13:10–13:30 Introduction by Kuba Szreder, Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Poland


13:30–13:45 Vit Havranek,, Prague, Czech Republic


13:45–14:00 Rok Vevar, The Slovene Temporary Dance Archives, Ljubljana, Slovenia

14:00–14:20 break


14:20–14:35 Solvita Krese, Latvian Centre for Contemporary Arts, Riga, Latvia


14:35–15:35 discussion

Responders: Ida Hiršenfelder, Adela Železnik; Moderna galerija, Ljubljana

15:35–15:55 break


15:55–15:55 wrap up by the respondents and conclusion of the conference





Boris Groys is an art critic, media theorist, curator, and philosopher. He is currently a Global Distinguished Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies at New York University and Senior Research Fellow at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design in Karlsruhe, Germany. Since 2013 he has also been a Professor at the European Graduate School in Switzerland. Groys’s work first focused on the Russian avant-garde, as well as the various artistic movements that came after it in the 20th century. Groys eventually broadened his reflections to encompass contemporary art, analyzing the legitimacy of works in public spaces and examining new media. His curatorial projects include the Russian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2011), his work as co-curator of the Shanghai Biennale (2012), he also curated the 8th Triennial of Contemporary Art U3: Beyond the Globe, at the Moderna galerija, Ljubljana (2016). His recent books include: History Becomes Form: Moscow Conceptualism (2010), An Introduction to Antiphilosophy (2012), Under Suspicion: A Phenomenology of Media (2012), and On the New (2014), In the Flow (2016), Russian Cosmism (2018).



Zdenka Badovinac is a curator and writer, who has served as Director of the Moderna galerija since 1993 and of the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova in Ljubljana since 2011. She has curated numerous exhibitions presenting both Slovenian and international artists. She initiated the first collection of Eastern European art, Moderna galerija’s Arteast 2000+ Collection. She has been systematically dealing with the processes of redefining history and with the questions of different avant-garde traditions of contemporary art, first with the exhibition Body and the East – From the 1960s to the Present, staged in 1998 at Moderna galerija, Ljubljana. She was the Slovenian Commissioner at the Venice Biennale (1993–1997, 2005, 2017) and Austrian Commissioner at the São Paulo Biennial (2002). From 2011 to 2013 she served as president of CIMAM.


Vjera Borozan is director of the National Museum of Montenegro (since 2017) and director of the online platform for contemporary art Artyčok TV (since 2011). She graduated in art history and theory from the Philosophical Faculty of Charles University in Prague, and received her Ph.D. in 2011. She has lectured in contemporary art at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Brno, and lectures in contemporary art at the Academy of Arts, Design and Architecture in Prague (since 2009). She collaborated with the organization (2005-2011), where she curated and organized the screening programme.


Mira Gaćina is an art historian, art critic and senior curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Skopje. She graduated from the Institute of History of Art and Archaeology at the Faculty of Philosophy in Skopje (2006), and completed her postgraduate studies in the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Zagreb (2010). She received her PhD in Art Management on the subject “Management of the cultural institutions – case study MoCA Skopje” (2017). She has curated a number of exhibitions in Macedonia and abroad. Since 2013 she has served as President of AICA Macedonia. And since 2017 as an acting Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Skopje.


Vít Havránek is a curator and art organizer based in Prague. Since 2002 he has been working as a director of the contemporary art organization (, that is constituted as a discursively oriented exhibition space with an international publishing program. He lectures on the history of exhibitions at NC State Prague. Havránek has also been invited to give guest talks on topics ranging from the history of 20th century East European art to issues related to curating at various institutions, such as MIT Boston, Amsterdam University, and Documenta 12, among others. He has curated and co-curated exhibitions at the constellations, such as the Jakarta Biennale 2017, Muzeum Sztuki Łodz, VOX Montréal, New Museum HUB New York, Steirischer Herbst, Graz, Manifesta 8 Murcia, Centro Monthermoso, Espace Electra Paris. Together with the artists, editors and JRP Ringier, Havránek has edited and co-edited several books and catalogues.


Andreja Hribernik is the Director of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Koroška in  Slovenj Gradec. In 2006, she was awarded a work grant at the Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig, where she went on to work as a curator after completing the grant program. She worked with digital archives and researched experimental forms of databases. From 2013 on she has focused on exploring the social role and potential of museums of contemporary art, and obtained her doctorate in 2016 with the thesis Museum as a Space of Utopias. In 2017 she was selected as the curator of the Slovenian Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale.


Solvita Krese has been a curator and director of Latvian Centre for Contemporary Arts (LCCA) since 2000. She has curated a number of large-scale international exhibitions, the most recent ones being Akademia. Performing life, Villa Vassilieff, Paris (2018); Identity. Behind the curtain of uncertainty, National Gallery of Ukraine, Kiev (2016); re:visited, Riga Art Space (2014); Telling Tales, National Gallery of Art , Vilnius, Lithuania; Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn; Centre for Contemporary Art, CentrePasquArt , Biel (2014);  Alternativa, WYSPA, Gdansk (2013); among others. She was commissioner of the Latvian Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015). In 2009 she initiated the annual Contemporary Art Festival Survival Kit, which she has been curating since then.


Asja Mandić is Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art and Museum Studies at the Faculty of Philosophy, the University of Sarajevo. She completed her undergraduate and graduate education in art history and museum studies in the United States of America, and received her PhD from the University of Sarajevo (with Andrew McClellan serving as her advisor). Until 2007 she worked as a curator of Ars Aevi Museum/Centre of Contemporary Art, Sarajevo. She curated more than twenty exhibitions, including the first pavilion of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Venice Biennale. She is the author of the book Challenges of Museum Education (Izazovi muzejske edukacije).She co-edited a thematic issue of Journal of Museum Education (with Patrick Roberts) and the catalogue Treasures of Socialism (with Michael Fehr).


Tihomir Milovac graduated in Art history from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science, the University of Zagreb, in 1982. In 1984 he was appointed curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb. Currently he is chief curator and head of the Experimental and Research Department at the Museum. He has prepared a great number of exhibitions, most often examining experimental phenomena in visual arts and new media, as well as the historical avant-garde or post-war neo-avant-garde. Recent selected exhibitions include the following: the MSU Zagreb permanent collection display Collection in Motion (2009); retrospective Ivan Ladislav Galeta: Point Zero Landscape (2011), retrospective Mladen Stilinović: Zero for Conducting (2012); and Exat 51– Synthesis of the Arts in Post-War Yugoslavia (2017).


Dejan Sretenović is an art historian and curator based in Belgrade, currently working as a curator at the Centre for Visual Culture at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade. His field of research covers the Yugoslav and international avant-garde and neo-avant-garde, conceptual art, experimental film, contemporary art and visual culture. He has curated numerous exhibitions in the country and abroad, including Sequences. Art of Yugoslavia and Serbia from the Collection of MoCA (2017), Fluxus in Belgrade (2014), Cinema by Other Means (2013), and Goran Djordjević: Copies 1979–1986 (2011), among others. His publications include the books The Red Horizon. Avant-Garde and Revolution (forthcoming), The Uproarious Marble. Art and Politics of Belgrade Surrealism (2016), The Art of Appropriation (2013), Raša Todosijević. Was ist Kunst? (2002) and Art in Yugoslavia 1992-1995 (1997).


Daniel Muzyczuk is Head of the Modern Art Department at Museum Sztuki in Łódź. Curator of the exhibitions Gone to Croatan (with Robert Rumas), MORE IS MORE (with Agnieszka Pindera and Joanna Zielinska), The Melancholy of Resistance (with Agnieszka Pindera), Views 2011, Sounding the Body Electric: Experiments in Art and Music in Eastern Europe 1957 – 1984 (with David Crowley), Notes from the Undeground: Art and Alternative Music in Eastern Europe 1968-1994 (with David Crowley), The Museum of Rhythm (with Natasha Ginwala), among others. Co-curator of the Polish Pavilion of the 55th Venice Biennale (with Agnieszka Pindera). He is the winner (together with Agnieszka Pindera) of the Igor Zabel Competition in 2011. Vice-president of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA), Poland.


Kuba Szreder is a lecturer at the Department of Art Theory at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. A graduate in sociology at the Jagiellonian University (Krakow), he received his PhD from the Loughborough University School of the Arts in the UK. He combines his research with independent curatorial practice. In his interdisciplinary projects he carries out artistic and organizational experiments, hybridizing art with other domains of life. In 2009 he initiated the Free / Slow University of Warsaw, with which he completed several inquiries into the political economy of contemporary artistic production. In his most recent book, ABC of Projectariat (Polish edition, 2016), he scrutinizes the economic and governmental aspects of project-related modes of artistic production.


Adam Szymczyk is artistic director of documenta 14. He was a co-founder of the Foksal Gallery Foundation in Warsaw, at which he worked as curator from 1997 till 2003, when he assumed his new post as director at Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland. Among the recent exhibitions he organised in Basel are: Moyra Davey: Speaker Receiver (2010); Sung Hwan Kim: Line Wall (2011); Paul Sietsema and Adriana Lara: S.S.O.R. (both 2012), as well as group shows including Strange Comfort (Afforded by the Profession) (with Salvatore Lacagnina, 2010), How to Work/How to Work (More for) Less (both in 2011); Michel Auder: Stories, Myths, Ironies, and Other Songs: Conceived, Directed, Edited, and Produced by M. Auder (2013) and Naeem Mohaiemen: Prisoners of Shothik Itihash (2014).


Slaven Tolj is a multimedia artist and a curator. He lives and works in Rijeka, where he is currently the director of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and artistic director of the Rijeka 2020 European Capital of Culture. Slaven Tolj’s is dedicated to the promotion of contemporary art as an artist as well as a curator, author and organiser of numerous cultural and artistic projects. His membership in a number of art councils and boards for visual arts and new media has significantly influenced the development and position of contemporary art in Croatia, as well as the development and recognition of an independent and new media art scene. He is active in the independent cultural scene, in both the development of cultural policies and by being engaged in civil initiatives.


Rok Vevar is a writer, historian and archivist of contemporary dance and theatre, living and working in Ljubljana. He has published articles on dance and theatre in various daily and weekly newspapers, as well as magazines and academic periodicals. Founder of The Slovene Temporary Dance Archives, and since 2009 has been a member of the Nomad Dance Academy. He has been co-curator of CoFestival, the international festival of contemporary dance (NDA SLO, Kino Šiška Ljubljana) since 2012. A co-editor of and extensive contributor to Movements in Contemporary Dance II (Maska, XXIX/1963-64 (2014) and Autonomy to Dance – Case Studies of Contemporary Dance Practices in Former Yugoslavia (Maska, XXXII/ 183-84 (2017). His has written the books Deadline – Selected Articles and Essays (2011), and 500 dramskih zgodb (Mladinska knjiga, 1997).



Alenka Gregorič is an art historian, curator and writer. From July 2003 till 2009 she worked as artistic director of Škuc Gallery, Ljubljana. Since 2010 she has been the artistic director and curator at City Art Gallery Ljubljana and CC Tobacco 001 (both part of Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana). In 2009 she was curator of Slovenian pavilion at the Venice Biennale and co-curator of the 28th Graphic Biennial Ljubljana, while in 2011 she was co-curator (with Galit Eilat) of the 52nd October Salon in Belgrade. She has written numerous essays, reviews and articles for various artist books, catalogues and other publications, as well as editing edited many catalogues and artists’ books.


Ida Hiršenfelder works at the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, +MSUM, on projects related to digital archives. She is an editor of Network Museum, an archival repository for contemporary audio-visual art, and also the museum’s on-line editor. From 2007 to 2013 she was a digital archivist at the Center for Contemporary Arts SCCA–Ljubljana, co-developing DIVA Station (Digital Video Archive). Media archaeology, archives and their disappearance – the digital life and the digital afterlife – are among of her key interests. She is also an advocate and user of free and open source software.


Marko Jenko holds a PhD in art history and a degree in French language and literature. Until 2010 he worked as a PhD researcher at the Department of Art History at the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana. Since December 2010 he has worked as a curator for Slovenian 20th century art at Moderna galerija (Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana). In his theoretical work he focuses primarily on questions concerning the knot between art, art history, theoretical psychoanalysis and philosophy. He has translated works by Gérard Wajcman, Daniel Arasse, Jacques Lacan, Jacques Rancière, Gilles Deleuze, Jean Starobinski, David Freedberg, Monique David-Ménard and others into Slovenian.


Bojana Piškur graduated in art history from the University of Ljubljana and received her Ph.D. at the Institute for Art History at the Charles University in Prague, the Czech Republic. She is a senior curator at the Moderna galerija in Ljubljana. Her research focuses on political issues and the way in which they relate to, or are manifested in, the field of art looking specifically at the regions of former Yugoslavia and Latin America. She has contributed to numerous publications and lectured at:  NTU CCA Singapur; Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid; University of Arts London (Central Saint Martins); University of California Los Angeles (UCLA); Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Museum of Yugoslavia in Belgrade) on topics such as post avant-gardes in former Yugoslavia, radical education, cultural politics in self-management, and the Non-Aligned Movement.


Igor Španjol studied sociology of culture and art history at the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana. Since 1999 he has worked as a curator for the Moderna galerija, Ljubljana. His major projects include: the exhibition trilogy Slovene Art 1975–2005 (with Igor Zabel, 2003–2005), a series of exhibitions in Moderna galerija’s project space Mala galerija (2007–2010); the collection display at the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova (with Zdenka Badovinac and Bojana Piškur, 2011), Art in Slovenia 2005–15 (with Bojana Piškur and Vladimir Vidmar, 2015), and retrospectives of contemporary Slovene artists Tomaž Lavrič (2010), Marko Peljhan (2011), Marko Pogačnik (2012), Tadej Pogačar (2014), Vadim Fishkin (2015) and Srečo Dragan (2016).


Adela Železnik graduated in art history and English and received her MA in Art History from the University of Ljubljana. She was a visiting student at the University of London, Goldsmiths College, London, in 1992/93. Since 1993 she has been working at the Moderna galerija, Ljubljana, as a senior curator for education and public programmes. She has participated in many international conferences about education and mediation, she writes about art education and participation within the museum context.