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Tito’s Bunker: the 4th Project Biennial D-0 ARK Underground

Tito's Bunker

4th Project Biennial D-0 ARK Underground
April 21 to October 21, 2017

A project by
Association Biennial of Contemporary Art, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

In collaboration with
Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart

Curators: Hans D. Christ, Iris Dressler

Artists: Annalisa Cannito, Jan Peter Hammer, Dan Perjovschi, Lia Perjovschi, Jorge Ribalta, Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag, among others


Iris Dressler and Hans D. Christ, directors of the Württembergischer Kunstverein in Stuttgart, were appointed to curate the 4th Project Biennial D-0 ARK Underground taking place from April 21 to October 21, 2017. The unique site of the Project Biennale is the atomic fallout shelter in Konjic, which was built from 1953 to 1975 by initiative of Josip Broz Tito. Thanks to the Project Biennial, this once top-secret place is internationally known today.

Curatorial Statement

In 2011, the two artists Edo und Sandra Hozic succeeded in launching the Project Biennial D-0 ARK Underground, which combines the format of a biennale with the idea of establishing a public collection and museum for contemporary art in Sarajevo by using a quite extraordinary place: “Tito’s Bunker” in Konjic. This museum shall be established after the Project Biennial’s 5th edition in 2019 as a place where contemporary art and military history will meet, though likely not without friction.

The collection itself is and will be based on the works which had been and will be produced over the course of the five Project Biennials. By now, after the third edition, the bunker hosts already more than 120 works of art chosen by seven curators—so the museum to come, with its polyphonic collection, has already taken shape. In this specific situation—posited at the threshold between the gradual finishing of the biennale format and the process of “becoming a museum”—our proposition is to reflect this very moment.

Instead of inviting a great number of artists, we decided to concentrate on six new works. They will basically deal with—directly or at a meta-level—aspects of the building’s transition from a long-term working place during its construction to an obsolete bunker to a museum of contemporary art and military history.

Lia Perjovschi has been invited to develop a subjective map of the existing collection and its quite specific order, which is related to the various Project Biennials and their respective narratives.

Besides general news (and the absurdities of daily life), Dan Perjovschi will reflect in his drawings on the current situation in the bunker as well as on the paradoxes and possibilities of the museum to come.

In his photographs, Jorge Ribalta observes the infrastructures and functions of the shelter and its transformations from an obsolete bunker into a monument and a place for contemporary art.

With the example of archaeological looting in Bulgaria, Jan Peter Hammer contemplates the paradoxical temporalities of certain “undone histories”—paradoxical temporalities that are quite present in Tito’s Bunker.

Annalisa Cannito and Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag directly trace the histories of this place and its initiator.

The points of departure of Cannito’s contribution are the workers who had built the atomic shelter over many years under conditions of absolute secrecy, as well as the ammunition factory, which is situated next to the bunker.

Sonntag refers to Tito’s role as one of the founders of the Movement of the Non-Aligned Countries and this organization’s 7th meeting which was planed to take place in Baghdad but never did.

The six new works of the 4th Project Biennial will be placed at different sites inside the bunker. Since visitors can experience it only through a guided tour, we will propose—as part of our curatorial contribution—a number of tours that each connect the new to a selection of already existing artworks under different thematic aspects. Thus, the 4th Project Biennial will provide at once multiple potential exhibitions, each with a different artist list. In so doing, we also understand this Project Biennial as a first reflection and recontextualization of the collection.

In parallel with this project for and in Konjic, we have also developed an exhibition for the Württembergischer Kunstverein in Stuttgart, which will take place from May 27 to August 6, 2017, under the same title, Tito’s Bunker. The idea is to deal with the bunker both in the very heart of the place itself and from a certain distance—a remote place, where the exhibition will be shaped by the absence of the bunker, itself becoming a sort of phantom.