The creations of Rena Rädle and Vladan Jeremić, partners in art and life, are rooted in a strong critique of social relations within the power system of Serbia's post-Socialist "transition" society, with all of its features and discontinuities. This was aptly demonstrated at an exhibition called "Psychogeographical Studies", staged in the Vojvodina Museum of Contemporary Visual Arts in Novi Sad in October 2009.
The exhibition consisted of an arrangement of computers with an internet-like interface allowing visitors to access archives with audio and visual reports and other documents, photographs, printed written and visual content, films and videos, created by the couple over the past seven years.
Curator Gordana Nikolić tells that the works originated in the period after the change of government in Serbia in October 2000. According to her, this transition has given rise to numerous contradictions reflected in the society's institutions, and most notably, in the area of civic rights and freedoms.
The "psychogeographical" method, which is the focus of the exhibition, is actually a study of these cracks in society - the relationship between individuals and their environment within a system, and the specific strategies evolved by members of the Situationist International during their studies of urban society.
The couple says that their method has enabled them to rethink the idea behind the method and its allocation in the political domain. "We believe that the main problem in interpreting the history of art from the standpoint of the situationists is the problem of depoliticising the movement's original ideas, i.e. the subsequent aesthetisation of its practices, while entirely neglecting the aspect of political activism," the couple explains.
"A creation of art is not only a thing of beauty to decorate the home of a collector or the wealthy, but has the important role of disassembling the position of power and portraying reality, which is of tremendous importance in the age and society that we inhabit," they say.
"A large number of artists in Serbia desire commercial success, without any critical stance or responsibility, and consequently, their works frequently end up as decoration, devoid of any didactic or emancipatory content," the couple stresses.
Rädle and Jeremić are particularly fond of a film called "Partisan Songspiel", which was screened for the first time at the Istanbul Biennale in the summer of 2009 and created in association with the Russian Chto Delat group: "Using modern methods, the Chto Delat collective analyses the concept of the Russian avant-garde and charts key social issues in modern day Russia. The film "Partisan Songspiel" deals with the present, the time after the wars in Yugoslavia, the polarisation and discrimination against a large portion of the population, which has been deprived of state protection. The Roma population is one of the most endangered groups."
The couple is both socially and politically active and organises rostrums and public discussions. Most of them focus on the issue of social groups, which, although politically articulate, have often been excluded from society - most notably Roma as the most endangered ethnic community, antique sellers in open air markets, and the gay and lesbian subculture.
Rädle and Jeremić are demanding a revision of dominant attitudes, reflected for example in stern demands for political correctness and superficial change. What motivates the couple is a desire to see marginalised groups no longer treated as victims, but their problems discussed in a way that will lead to solutions, and also to their greater political and social visibility.
Rädle and Jeremić have published many articles on modern art and political activism in a number of expert and on-line publications. They have also participated in numerous conferences on art and activism in Europe. The couple has recently held a number of independent exhibitions in Novi Sad, Belgrade, Paris and Hamburg.