Natalija Vujošević is an artist and curator based in Montenegro. The focus of her research and practice is the presentation of archives through exhibition-making, seeking renewed modes of communication, engagement, and understanding through new interpretations and expanded forms. Vujošević has lead and curated this kind of work on a number of research projects and public presentations. She is the founder and director of the non-governmental organization, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Montenegro, active since 2015 and dedicated to contemporary art theory, education, research, and archives.
In what way does They: live project converge with the activities of the Institute for Contemporary Art (ISU) when it comes to working with young artists and audience?
A large part of the ISU programme focuses on young artists; the alternative education programmes and the Milčik Award (YVAA) are designed precisely with a view to creating better conditions for their artistic development. In addition to working with the young population, we are involved in archival practices through the Women ComradesProject (Women’s Movement in Montenegro 1943-1953, women and women’s collectives in post-Yugoslav states), and the Archive of Cetinje Biennales, the first exhibition of which we are currently organising.They Live Project connects well with and builds on ISU activities, and we think that it will be well received by the audiencethe ISU is developing relationship with.
Do you think that the young population is less interested in contemporary art in comparison to other categories of audience and why is that the case?
When we speak about the young population in Montenegro, their interest for visual arts is declining, and the reasons for that can be found in degraded and outdated education in the field of visual art, the neglected role of theory and critique in formation of contemporary art discourse, as well as in general amateurisation of the institutional culture, which has been progressing trend in last decades. Certain efforts and steps ahead can be observed in the independent scene and individual initiatives, although, unfortunately, any form of support to independent scene is virtually non-existent.
Do you think that participatory art projects and art residencies based on contextual, exploratory and participatory practices have sufficientpotential to bring closer contemporary art to young audience and students?
Connecting and exchange are precisely what makes these practices currently relevant and necessary. Including and mixing different actors, positions and disciplines open the space for new ways of reflection and perception of the complex reality and its different layers.
Given that the ICA is based in Cetinje, while the local project activities take place at the student campus in Podgorica, how do you see the specificity of this situation and the distinctiveness of the student campus you cooperate with?
Montenegro is very small, the distance between the cities is generally less than an hour drive, so that this is not a problem. The challenges of working with students in Podgorica are related mainly to the fact that the art faculties are based in Cetinje, the faculties of social sciences mostly in Nikšić, while faculties of natural sciences, as well as the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Economics are located in Podgorica, so that interdisciplinary experience and interaction between students of different study programmes are very poor. I believe that precisely these specific circumstances will give birth to some interesting experiences and outcomes of the cooperation between artists, curators, the collected archive and students who will be involved in the art residence programmes.