They were, those people, a kind of solution

The project They were, those people, a kind of solution is funded through European Union’s Creative Europe program.

Margareta Kern, Božena Končić Badurina & Duga Mavrinac, Bosiljka Schedlich’s project The Trip. Women from Yugoslavia in Berlin (1987)

They Were Some Kind of a Solution

Margareta Kern, Božena Končić Badurina & Duga Mavrinac, Bosiljka Schedlich
Gallery Nova, Zagreb
open until

The exhibition They Were Some Kind of a Solution is a continuation of the research project on the subject of the Gastarbeiter (guest-workers), as part of a collaborative project They Were, Those People, Some Kind of a Solution, whose title was taken from a poem of a Greek poet Constantine P. Cavafy, which describes a day in an imaginary city-state whose residents await an invasion by barbarians. Starting with Buden’s thesis that the figure of the Gastarbeiter is a pioneer of neoliberalism and an early symptom of our modernity They Were Some Kind of a Solution exhibition opens the theme of migrations to the contingencies and specificities of female migrant work and the feminization of work in the contemporary context and in relation to the historical heritage of Yugoslav work migrations, and in Croatian version, its title translates the original line of Cavafy’s poem into the female gender.

The panels from the historic exhibition The Trip. Women from Yugoslavia in Berlin, which was first held in 1987 at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien on the 750th anniversary of Berlin, were borrowed from the Museum of Yugoslavia in Belgrade. This exhibition originally consisted of a series of exhibition panels that document everyday life of women Gastarbeiter and many objects lost today, and was produced as an outcome of long term research gathering stories, experiences and documentation. After Berlin, it travelled to different locations, representing a rare example of a female perspective on the Gastarbeiter experience. The exhibition author, activist and translator Bosiljka Schedlich, is also one of the participants in Margareta Kern’s video GUESTures.

Margareta Kern's video was created as part of her long-term project about women who migrated from Yugoslavia to West Berlin in the late 1960s in order to work in factories producing television and video equipment. Women made up a large portion of migrant workers, yet their stories are largely left out of official histories and archives as well as the collective memory.

The exhibition also includes installation We will, we will... yeah, but how?! (2017), the result of a collaboration between the artist Božena Končić Badurina and cultural anthropologist Duga Mavrinac, in which they bring up the issue of paid informal household work, based on joint ethnographic research of Croatian caretakers for the elderly working in Italy. The work looks into the contemporary situation and invisibility of household workers in everyday and public speech, but especially their legal insecurity, with the intention of further developing support in passing and executing better legal and institutional protection.

The program is supported by:

  • City Office for Education, Culture and Sports of the City of Zagreb
  • European Union’s Creative Europe program
  • Foundation for Arts Initiatives
  • Kultura Nova Foundation
  • Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia
  • Office for Cooperation with NGOs of the Republic of Croatia