Nostos Algos / Return Suffering

Installation
2017

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The Greek word for return is nostos.  Algos means suffering. So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return.
Milan Kundera, Ignorance

 

The work is based on real situation and experiences related to the house I lived in. I rented it from a Bosnian family that left Sarajevo at the beginning of the war – in 1992, and ended up as refugees in Denmark. A mother, a doctor, a father, an engineer and two boys, now, after 25 years, grown up sons, still live in Denmark, They are not refugees anymore, but Danish citizens. Mother and father work in their area of profession, and family has no intentions to come back to Bosnia.  However, they visit every year and stay at their house for a week or two. The house then again, belongs only to them. Some of their private belongings are in the house, and are stored in two big, old wooden closets in the smallest room in the house. There lie, carefully disposed, several paintings, old family photos, few religious books, bed covers, linens, handmade embroideries and similar objects that have intimate value for them, and when they visit, they put objects in use. The work consists of an installation of such objects, and deals with nostalgia and emotions one can have when temporarily returning to a long lost home and homeland. It also gives insight to the history and culture of Yugoslavia in the period between WWI and wars in 90s.

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Installation views, exhibition Sarajevo-Zurich: Unlimited, Kunstraum Walcheturm, Zürich, and National Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, 2017

…(The work of) Adela Jušić and Lost Things by Jim Marshall introduce into the preconfigured historical map a social forensics of blurred individual and collective relationships with their constant shifts and violent displacements caused by war, and their impossible politics of memory. Both these works follow and document the objects lost in the course of wars: the former tells the story of the things abandoned in the war zone, possessions left in a 1990’s Sarajevo apartment after the family had gone into refuge, while the latter traces the objects abandoned and lost along the Balkan route of the present mass migrations. (In)visible objects, bodies, spaces depicted in the photographs and their mutual relations become in themselves witnesses of the events that produced them, creating the space for forum, the locus of discussion following material evidence. What follows in this forum is material rhetoric, forensics in its original meaning: the space in which the truth about an event is built upon the object which simultaneously represents an outcome of the conflict and negotiation of its meaning. On the one hand, Adela Jušić exhibits personal belongings of a Sarajevo family to testify to the nostalgia which appears as a particularist colonisation of politics and history; and on the other, Jim Marshall leaves the photographs of objects as forensic records of our everyday existence. Objects from both artworks emerge as a locus of political articulation of time and space within the global cartography of the permanent war.

Part of the text Breaches of Parallel Realities written by Jelena Petrović for exhibition catalog Sarajevo-Zurich: Unlimited, 2017

More photos on Google +
Link to exhibition text and photos on Website of the National Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, 2017