Anna Dasovic: 'grounds for denial'

3 September - 16 October 2022
Location: Stroom, Hogewal 1-9, The Hague
On view: Wednesday - Sunday, 12:00-17:00

Saturday 15 October, 15:00 hrs
Public program on 'reenactment'
A discursive program on ‘reenactment' as artistic strategy.  The program features contributions by filmmaker Didem Pekün, artists Bassem Saad and Sanja Grozdanic, and forensic researcher Maksym Rokmaniko.
Click here for the more information.

Presentation 'grounds for denial'
Stroom presents grounds for denial, a new video work by Anna Dasovic. The work is part of Dasovic's Srebrenica series (2015-ongoing), in which she focuses on rhetorical structures that make genocidal violence visible and invisible. Central to her work is the figure of the bystander and the ways in which the 'unimaginable' and the 'unrepresentable' relate to diminish the responsibility for witnessing violence.
The work grounds for denial is based on fieldwork in several towns in Republika Sprska, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Dasovic visited these places to study how public space is increasingly shaped by representations of Serbian nationalism. One example is Foca, a small community home to many Serbian veterans; in Visegrad, another place, Russian volunteers fought alongside the Serbian Army, and the municipality ordered a monument commemorating the genocide of Bosniaks to be vandalized. In these places, graffiti, murals, and defaced monuments both symbolize the denial of the genocidal violence that occurred in the 1990s. In addition, they mythologize the political project of ‘Greater Serbia'. In this presentation, Dasovic draws a clear relationship between these two tendencies.

‘Grounds for denial' is a juridical term that refers to the underlying reasons to deny a claim. Dasovic uses this term as a metaphor for historical revisionism: that history, as it is usually told, is not accurate and can be subject to alteration. grounds for denial specifically refers to the growing historical revisionism that seeks to deny the systematic genocide of the Bosniak population of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as established by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.
In grounds for denial, Dasovic registered the public spaces that she traversed during her fieldwork in the summer of 2022. The documented images appear ordinary: they are relatively flat and unsophisticated in their visual rhetoric. Yet by drawing attention to these public sites, Dasovic unravels the underlying structures of a continuing genocidal act. This act is often understood as being confined to a historical period in the mid-1990s, yet is actually very much active in the present. For example, the link some of the images filmed produce between Russian nationalism and Serbian nationalism is based on an understanding of a white, Orthodox political entity that justifies the violence against Bosniaks—in the past, but also in the future. These public sites reify the idea that Bosnian Serb society is ethnically heterogeneous and politically unaligned with the EU and NATO.
grounds for denial raises questions about the work that is necessary to animate cultures of denial, but also asks whether and how it is possible to represent something that is structurally erased.

About Anna Dasovic
The artistic practice of Anna Dasovic (b. 1982) spans film/video montages, photography, installations and text-based works created through archival and bibliographic research, fieldwork and interviews. Dasovic studied photography at the HKU Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht and continued her studies at ArtEZ University of Arts, Arnhem. From 2017 to 2018, she participated in Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam. Dasovic's work is shown internationally; including in Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Framer Framed, Van Abbemuseum, Savvy Contemporary, Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, Bergen Assembly, Kunstverein Braunschweig. She is a member of Collection Collective, Template for a Future Model of Representation.

Hartwig Art Collection | Production Fund
The presentation grounds for denial is part of the inaugural project of the Hartwig Art Foundation. The work is to be donated to the Dutch National Collection. Anna Dasovic's presentation is the last in a series presented by Stroom in collaboration with the Hartwig Art Foundation. In this context in 2021 Stroom presented work by  Neo Matloga and Kevin Osepa.

This presentation was made possible through the generous support of Hartwig Art Production | Collection Fund and the Municipality of The Hague.

Anna Dasovic, 'grounds for denial' (2022), video still
photo: courtesy the artist
Anna Dasovic, 'grounds for denial' (2022), video still
photo: courtesy the artist
Anna Dasovic, 'grounds for denial' (2022), video still
photo: courtesy the artist
Anna Dasovic, 'grounds for denial' (2022), video still
photo: courtesy the artist