September 20 — October 20, 2007

Boja Vasic

The Structure of Survival


A few hundred Syrian refugees live in Rona, a city constructed within another city, an establishment built on a dump site and shadowed by Belgrade’s skyscrapers. They have lived here invisibly for over twenty years.

The artist’s minimalist installation clearly illustrates this situation, which he presents as a world-wide phenomenon. A wooden structure representing a typical Rona dwelling is erected within the gallery’s space. Lacking walls or roofing, it is an architectural skeleton, transparent and empty. A number painted on a piece of wood and hung to indicate an address is the only sign of human habitation. A video projected on the gallery’s walls from within the structure allows us to visit the surroundings and meet the neighbours.

Through the window on the left, the spectator wanders through the streets of Rona, passing in front of a series of dwellings assembled from recycled objects. Their fronts and yards are organized according to the various tastes and needs of their inhabitants: plywood walls covered with fabric or cardboard, improvised fences marking boundaries, a woman proudly sweeping her yard…

Through the window on the right, the spectator observes two youngsters who, in turn, swell their chests, flex their muscles and hold their breath. They are strong, invincible. Their gaze penetrates the spectator… there’s no ignoring them now. They are the masters of the situation.

Boja Vasic

Boja Vasic is a Toronto based media artist and photographer. His work has been shown at the 8th Havana Biennial in Cuba, VI Yugoslav Biennial of Youth Vrsac in Serbia, XIII and XIV International Art Biennial of Vila Nova de Cerveira in Portugal, Third Tirana Biennial in Albania, and at the Liverpool Biennial, Independents. His video installations and photo based works were exhibited across Canada and internationally. His videos were shown at festivals in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Chicago, Denver, Toronto, and he has won several international awards including the Chris Award at the Columbus International Film and Video Festival, a Bronze Medal at New York Festivals, and the Gold Award at Dallas HeSCA Media Festival.

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