Djordje Ozbolt

Interview with the curator Nicoletta Lambertucci

Serbian Pavilion

May 10 – November 24, 2019

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Where do we need to go to visit the Serbian Pavilion? 

Nicoletta Lambertucci   The Serbian Pavilion is situated along the North edge of the Biennale grounds, between Egypt and Austria, and faces both the Giardini and the city. In the process of inheritance of Yugoslav property abroad, the Yugoslav Pavilion came under the ownership of the Republic of Serbia; a small inscription “Serbia” indicates it on the right of the portal. As one enters the pavilion and passes under the title Yugoslavia, we are faced with the paradox of time: the past is a changeable element, memories are unpredictable, and they become truth for just a moment, before being forgotten again.

What are we going to encounter? 

NL   The project by Djordje Ozbolt, who was born in Belgrade and since 1991 has been living and working in London, is titled Regaining Memory Loss. It includes new paintings and sculptures that address memory, both personal and collective. Drawn from imagery of Ozbolt's early life in post-Second World War Serbia, the new works are interpretations, a subjective view of the past from the perspective of the present moment. Ozbolt’s paintings can appear mysterious, but the images produced are always genuine and crisp. Memory is a slippery thing, and the past becomes an unstable, dangerous zone to access. The images that Ozbolt depicts are his own understanding of memory: a personal, anew, non-linear impression of the mind.

How did the collaboration with the artist Djordje Ozbolt develop?


NL   I visited his studio about two years ago. We had a great conversation and when he asked me to curate his pavilion I was humbled. It all happened quickly and we got the confirmation from the Serbian ministry of culture when I just gave birth to my baby Diana so the whole dialogue during the production of the works for the Biennale was a truly magical time. Djordje works very fast and I was amazed to see how quickly his mind produces iconic images that are so precise yet enigmatic. Also, working for the first time with an artist for such an institutional project could have turned out a disaster, while instead it was exciting all along. We had fun!

What is your relationship with the history of this country?

NL   Before this project I had no relationship with Serbia. Now that I had time to research and get to know the country, I have a huge admiration for its diverse culture and complex history.

What are the things you believe are not to be missed at this year's Biennial?

NL   This is a Biennale full of projects by close friends and wonderful collaborators. I can't wait to see what Leonor Antunes has done for her Portuguese Pavilion, Laure Prouvost in the French Pavilion, Renate Bertlmann at the Austran Pavilion, Augustas Serapinas in the main exhibition and of course, Milovan Farronato in his labyrinth at the Italian Pavilion. The list could go on and on, I think it will be an exceptionally good edition!


Courtesy the artist; Herald St, London; Taro Nasu, Tokyo; and Gallery Baton, Seoul

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Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys