The Venice Questionnaire #21: Mladen Miljanović

By ArtReview

The Sweet Simphony of Absurdity 2013 photo Drago Vejnovic - courtesy by artist The Garden of Delights, installation-engrawed drawing on marble 2013 Photo: Vladimir Klepic

ArtReview sent a questionnaire to a selection of the artists exhibiting in various national pavilions of the Venice Biennale, the responses to which will be published over the coming days. Mladen Miljanović is representing Bosnia. The pavilion is in the Palazzo Malipiero, San Marco.

What can you tell us about your plans for Venice?

So far as the whole project of Bosnia and Herzegovina pavilion named “The Garden of Delights” is developed and produced, the only thing I’m concerned about as an artist is the performance I will do on the opening of the pavilion on May 30th. After that performance, all art is done and gone concerning my contribution.

Are you approaching the show in a different way to how you would with a ‘normal’ exhibition?

You know, if we look from the moon, there is no difference between Venice and some village in Bosnia! I always do exhibitions with the same conscience and responsibility, not making any difference in relation to place.

What does it mean to ‘represent’ your country? Do you find it an honour or problematic?

It's a problem! We need to be aware of the fact that my country could not agree to participate in the Venice Biennale for the last 10 years (2003 was first and the only participation). Representing my country at the Venice Biennale is a “problematic honour”.

What audience are you addressing with the work? The masses of artist peers, gallerists, curators and critics concentrated around the opening or the general public who come through over the following months?

As much as you expect, so much you will be disappointed! I don’t classify the audience, the work is created to communicate with all kinds of public, not to make a selection of them. 

What are your earliest or best memories of the biennale?

Usually there are so many things going on that in the end I can't remember any one particular event, even If I try. But when I come to Venice for Biennale, I’m always fascinated by the fact that immigrants from Africa always find new good places to sell sunglasses, bags and to run and hide from Carabinieri.

You’ll no doubt be very busy, but what else are you looking forward to seeing?

I don’t know, maybe some new super mega yacht belonging to a Russian billionaire just next to the “Giardini”, or at least some encyclopedic place of art, showing that we are all living in a completely crazy and diverse world.