Trained as an art historian for more than 20 years Franceschi has initiated and curated numerous exhibitions of contemporary art in Croatia and beyond. This year again curator of the Croatian pavilion at the Venice Biennial.
The program focuses on film productions created in Yugoslavia from mid 60s to mid 70s. It demonstrates how imports from the West had a profound effect on the local society, arts and— especially— the public visibility of this psychedelic lifestyle and popular culture.
Tune in Screening: Psychedelic Moving Images from Socialist Yugoslavia 1966—1976
Curated by Branko Franceschi
The Tune in Screening program focuses on film productions created in Yugoslavia from mid 60s to mid 70s. It presents a variety of materials, predominantly a 75—minute loop of experimental film that exemplifies the openness and permissiveness of Yugoslavia’s brand of socialism when incorporating culture from the capitalist West. The Tune in Screening program demonstrates how imports from the West had a profound effect on the local society, arts and— especially— the public visibility of this psychedelic lifestyle and popular culture.
The first half of the decade was marked by the highest GDP in Yugoslavia’s history and an opening of the country’s borders to all citizens for travel or work abroad. But towards the decade’s end, an economic decline and cracks in the monolithic state began to appear and would continue throughout the 70s. While on one hand, the state apparatus was supportive of some of the most radical and internationally recognized artistic manifestations of the era, such as New Tendencies Movement (1961—73), GEFF — Genre Experimental Film Festival (1963—70) and Music Biennale (1961—ongoing) in Zagreb (Croatia), or BITEF, International Theatre Festival (1967—ongoing) in Belgrade (Serbia), it was at the same time harshly repressive with crackdowns on demonstrators, the imprisonment of political opponents and cultural workers, bans on movies and periodicals promoting cultural and political ideas, and attempts to introduce Western—style democracy to the country. Nevertheless, the combination of these opposing policies served to create one of the most vibrant and culturally exciting societies of the era, featuring distinctive inventions such as the Self—management mode of Socialism and the Non—aligned Countries Movement, which together positioned Yugoslavia as something of a global phenomenon and leader.
The changes in Yugoslavia’s socialist society from 1966 to 1976 coincided and were closely intertwined with the complex political and social changes that were occurring globally. Yugoslavian socialism was greatly influenced by the transformative movements throughout the world. Notions of counterculture and social (r)evolution — when introduced in the local context — were used to promote its specific goals of softening the socialist rule, gaining more civil liberties, introducing higher life standards and more color into both everyday life and the accompanying pop culture.
In the process, great art was created. These artworks, unlike the official state—sanctioned modernism on one side of the era’s aesthetic divide or its underground conceptual and neo—avant—garde counterpart, were boldly present in the everyday life of all citizens.
Films: 1. Vladimir Petek, Aquarelle, 8 mm, b/w film, hand colored, 4’25”, 1966.
2. Naško Krinar (OHO), 19th Nervous Breakdown, 8 mm, b/w film, 4’03”, 1966 (featuring Marko and Marika Pogačnik).
3. Ante Verzotti, Fluorescences, super 8mm, 4’2”, 1967.
4. Ivan Martinac, Focus, 35 mm, b/w, 7’12”, 1967.
5. Marjan Ciglič (OHO), Fullya Qwanso, 8 mm, color, 5’39”, 1967.
6. Marjan Ciglič (OHO), OU, 8 mm, color, 3’25”, 1969/70.
7. Miroslav Mikuljan, Seisana, 8 mm, 16mm, b/w, 4’53”, 1970.
8. Slobodan Šijan, Kosta Bunuševac in a Film About Himself, 8 mm, color, 15’, 1970.
9. Petar Trinajstić, Oh Fish, My Little Fish, 8mm, color, 3’33”, 1973.
10. Ljubomir Šimunić, Gerdy, The Wicked Witch, 8 mm, color, 14’, 1973—1976.
Branko Franceschi (b. 1959 in Zadar) is director of the Virtual Museum of Avant—garde Art (www.avantgarde-museum.com), based in Varadin, Croatia.
Trained as an Art Historian at the University of Zagreb, for more than 20 years Franceschi has initiated and curated numerous exhibitions of contemporary art for exhibition venues in Croatia and beyond. He was curator of the Croatian pavilion at the16th Sao Paulo Biennial (2004), 2nd International Biennial in Prague (2005), 52nd Venice Biennial (2007), 11th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice Biennial (2008) and member of the curatorial team of 2nd Biennial of Young Artists, Bucharest (2006). In 2005, he initiated the Biennial of Quadrilateral in Rijeka, Croatia. His diverse background includes the production of online works, articles for daily papers, art reviews and cultural periodicals, TV and radio broadcasting. He initiated, managed and coordinated a residency for Croatian artists at MoMA PS1 in New York from 2001-2007, Croatian participation in Art in General’s EERE program since 2004 and other cultural exchanges between both Croatia and the United States, and Croatia and the EU. Membership: AICA (AICA Croatia President), ICOM, CIMAM, DPUH, Advisory Committee of ArtsLink, Advisory Committee of Art in General, New Media Commission for the Ministry of Culture Republic of Croatia (President), Gallery and Museum Program Commission for the Municipality of Rijeka (President).