I’ll open the door straight, dead straight into the fire

December 09 – January 25
Curators: What, How and for Whom/WHW
Gallery Nova, Zagreb, Croatia

Marwa Arsanios, Barbara Blasin & Ana Lovreković, Lela Čermak, Alinta Dimitriou, Dora Economou, Vlatka Horvat, Yota Ioannidou, Sanja Iveković, Adela Jušić, Rajkamal Kahlon, Gülsün Karamustafa, Davor Konjikušić, MAZ DISTRO, Mujeres Públicas, Marta Popivoda & Ana Vujanović, Theo Prodromidis, Želimir Žilnik

Titled after a verse from the poem May 25th (1978) by poet, actress and anarchist Katerina Gogou (1940–1993), the exhibition I’ll open the door straight, dead straight into the fire starts from the role women partisans played throughout the intertwined histories of Yugoslav and Greek antifascist struggles, as well as the post-war constellation of the Cold War. The exhibition looks at common histories and experiences of victories and defeats, reencountering various temporalities of revolutionary female engagement and relating them to wider liberation and anticolonial struggles and contemporary feminist demands for a total social alternative.

The exhibition was created in a dialogue with iLiana Fokianaki and in collaboration with the State of Concept Athens where it was originally presented in spring 2019. In order to reflect further on the legacies of anti-fascist and other forms of emancipatory resistance, the Zagreb version of the exhibition has been expanded to include several local artistic and activist positions who have been engaged in researching those topics.

The exhibition inserts itself into the complex social landscape of Yugoslav-Greek relations, which are situated in similar, yet historically differentiated political positions at the European semi-periphery, and whose histories of antifascist resistance—led and inspired by communist ideas—went in abrupt directions.

In both countries, the recent repatriarchization of society is one of the many side-effects of political crises relating to their vassal position within the European Union, resulting in abolishing workers’ rights, pauperization, rising racism and fascism. The exhibition does not see the figure of the woman partisan as a heroic trope of salvation or a footnote of histories written once upon a time, but as a principle of praxis guiding the present.

As part of the opening program, following presentations were held:
Davor Konjikušić – lecture and book presentation Red Light: Yugoslav Partisan Photography and the Social Movement
Marwa Arsanios – lecture and screening Who is afraid of ideology? Part 2 (2019)
Adela Jušić – project presentation Unknown Partisan Woman (2016-17)
Marta Popivoda and Ana Vujanović – lecture performance Landscapes of Revolution in Three Brush Strokes

Working hours of Gallery Nova:
Tuesday–Friday: 4PM–8PM
Saturday: 11AM–2PM

Program is supported by:
Foundation for Arts Initiatives
Zagreb City Office for Culture
Croatian Audiovisual Center / HAVC
Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia
Foundation Kultura nova

Featured image: project presentation Unknown Partisan Woman by Adela Jušić at Galery Nova