Kristina Benjocki (b.1984 Zrenjanin, Yugoslavia) is an artist living and working in Amsterdam and Zrenjanin. Her practice focuses on the investigation of post-socialist historical and cultural revisionism and examines political mechanisms of forgetting and remembering in the context of the former east and west Europe. By using mediums such as sound, textile, still and moving image she is addressing a range of issues related to how the past is constructed and how that construction implicates our experience of the present and the way we imagine the future.
Kristina's work inhabits different shapes and forms: exhibitions, screenings, publications, talks, workshops and lectures. Most notably her work has been presented within the context of: the Masseuses Institute of Technology, Ambika P3 London, Kunsthal Rotterdam, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rijeka, Regionaal Historisch Centrum Limburg in Maastricht, Izolyatsia in Kyiv, American University in Beirut, Stedelijk Museum Bureau in Amsterdam, STROOM in the Hague, Sursok museum in Beirut, amongst others. Between 2015 and 2017 she was a researcher at the Jan Van Eyck Academy . Currently, she is preparing a solo exhibition at the National Museum in Zrenjanin, Serbia.
Recent portfolio, cv, press and biography on request:
"Kristina Benjocki is interested in the remnants of history. As one's perception is always disturbed by a distance – both in matter and in time – Benjocki delves into the possibility of numerous, often opposing positions within the politics and culture of remembrance. On the one hand she tries to repair memory, while on the other she also aims to leave space for forgetting. In all cases the violent past and precarious present of the former Yugoslavia inform her practice. Sometimes this takes center stage, other times it only fulfills a supporting role in the performances, video pieces, drawings, installations and photographs Benjocki creates.
Benjocki employs elements from her research in different combinations to unveil and unravel bigger histories and personal accounts. By doing so, she addresses the ideological framing of events and reveals the positions of individuals. In direct and metaphorical ways, she presents the outcomes of her in-depth research. The fragility of the findings, both in a material and factual sense, drove her to further examine the very nature of archives and the part they play in the construction of collective historical narratives."
Vincent van Velsen,
excerpt from a nomination letter for Prix de Rome, March 2017
“Kristina Benjocki wordt gedreven door een dubbelzinnig verlangen: zij duikt in de artefacten van de geschiedenis om enerzijds herinneringen te repareren, anderzijds om te vergeten. Het gewelddadige verleden en het fragiele heden van voormalige Yoegoslavië vormt een belangrijk onderwerp in haar performances, videos en fotowerken. Hoe afstand en nabijheid onze waarneming bepalen, laat zij zien in haar installatie 45KG BULLET SHELLS, die van een afstand lijkt op blinkend goud van dichtbij een hoopje kogelhuizen blijkt te zijn. De geluidsinstallatie SOUNDTRACK (STATEMENTS OF GUILT) is gebaseerd op de zogenaamde ‘Statements of Guilt’ uit het archief van het Yoegoslaviëtribunaal. Benjocki abstraheerde de schokkende getuigenissen tot een soundtrack van ritmes en zoemende tonen aan wiens trillingen je je als bezoeker fysiek niet kan onttrekken. Voor har recente werk reisde zij langs verwaarloosde (Tweede Wereld) oorlogsmonumenten in Servië; ten tijde van de wederbouw ging de voorkeur uit naar abstracte in plaats van figuratieve beelden. Niet de terugblik op herkenbare oorlogsellende
of heroïek, maar de ‘moderne’ toekomst werd benadrukt. In Benjocki’s foto verrijst het monument op de Kosmajberg in de dageraad als een vervreemdende representatie van de macht; tegelijkertijd biedt het de ruimte voor een verscheidenheid aan interpretaties. “
Prospects and Concepts, February 2014
“I believe that the fall of the Iron Curtain and the reappearance of Eastern Europe into the global art scene resulted in a particular interest in history-as-material in art. A lot of verges on a kind of nostalgia and the historical footage that is already interesting in itself. But I don’t think I have ever seen such elaborate de and re constructing practices like those of Kristina. The work on show was really a surprise, especially in its setting: in the resounding of space and the distribution of the sculptural, the sound and the text parts. The tree parts make it all more than their sum and the abstractionist result still evokes the drama of the Bosnian war in which the Netherlands and the Hague, as political capital and the center of international justice, also played a role.”
Excerpt from the text focusing on the ‘Soundtrack (statements of guilt)’
Royal Academy of Art, July 2011
“Taking guilt confessions of convicted people at International Tribunal for former Yugoslavia as a point of departure, Kristina managed to turn them into an impressive work of art by transposing the text into a composition that could be either played on a piano, or that could be part of the installation. In doing this she managed to steer away from simply representing traumatic experiences to establishing a work of art that succeeds in making the audience connect to the guilt and trauma.”
Dr. F.W.A. Korsten Except from the text focusing on the ‘Soundtrack (statements of guilt)’ Royal Academy of Art, July 2011
WG studios, Amsterdam
September 28th and 29th
The Wilhemina Gasthuis (WG) exists since 1891. After the hospital closed down, it was squatted 35 years ago. Since then, it hosts artists, writers, performers and artisans of various ages and backgrounds. On 28th and 29th of September, many studios will be open, from 12 until 17 o'clock. Join the celebration! Find out more about the program and activities by visiting the website.
Mondriaan Fonds, Amsterdam
Eighteen visual artists who have worked professionally for at least four years have received a Werkbijdrage Bewezen Talent in April and May. The contribution enables artists to create new work and to experiment and can be used for everything related to the development of new work, such as research, material, equipment or projects. The amount can also be spent to accept an assignment or to participate in exhibitions and events at home and abroad.
The aim is to stimulate the oeuvre, cultural entrepreneurship and visibility so that the selected artist make a meaningful contribution to contemporary visual art in the Netherlands.
curated by Vincent van Velsen
July 11th until September 22nd
With: Kader Attia, Kristina Benjocki, Marcel van den Berg, Alexis Blake, Aslan Gaisumov, Quinsy Gario & Glenda Martinus, Yoeri Guépin, Gert Jan Kocken, Dana Lixenberg, Taus Makhacheva, Uriel Orlow, Pieter Paul Pothoven, Bert Scholten en Aimée Zito Lema
No you won’t be naming no buildings after me
To go down dilapidated
No you won’t be naming no buildings after me
My name will be misstated, surely
– Erykah Badu
In ‘No You won’t Be Naming no Buildings after Me’, guest curator Vincent van Velsen investigates, in collaboration with an international group of artists, modes of commemoration and embodied legacies. Monuments, street names and official holidays represent a limited and often problematic perspective on histories and people that should not be forgotten. This exhibition questions formal expressions of commemoration and explores different methods of keeping memories alive.
In this respect, public space can be perceived as the physical manifestation of a communal archive. However, memory and commemoration can be materialised in various ways, especially when it comes to people and narratives who are not phyiscally represented in the public domain or willing to be an identifiable part of collective memory. This exhibition addresses different, often immaterial manners in which legacies can be passed, as well as modes in which people and knowledge continue to live on, despite of alleged oblivion or denial. Throughout, the body functions as an essential vessel of knowledge as much as a bearer of experience: it is a medium for memory and a beacon of legacies lived.
The exhibition features a series of live events, with performances by Alexis Blake, Quinsy Gario & Glenda Martinus, and Bert Scholten; artist talks with Uriel Orlow and Pieter Paul Pothoven.
In conjunction with the exhibition, online magazine Vers Beton will publish a series of interviews. Different voices from Rotterdam take us to city places entwined both with personal memories and the events they would like remembered.
Greylight Projects, Brussels
curated by Julian Ross
April 5th until April 14th
With: Prapat Jiwarangsan, Nguyen Trinh Thi, Ahmad Fuad Osman, Raha Raisnnia, Praneet Soi, Hannah Dawn Henderson, Floris Vanhoof, Aura Satz, Kristina Benjocki and Tamar Guimarães
In 2004, Kodak stopped producing its famous carousel projector. Although the medium is now considered obsolete, it still proves to be a vital tool for artists. Their slide-based art has come to evoke the past, but from a contemporary and personal perspective.
Greylight Projects will foreground international artists that explore and thereby reclaim history and memory through the use of 35mm slides.
The title "Blackout" refers to the intermittent moment of darkness between two slides. In short, the exhibition deals with historical amnesia; not only on a socio-political level, but also in relation to the apparatus itself, and its afterlife. The narrative of media history is often linked to technological progress, but the continued artistic use of an apparatus long after its industrial demise challenges this story.
De Vishal, Haarlem
curated by Maria Vashchuk and Margreet Bouman
July 13th until August 11th
Ambika P3, London
curated by Julian Ross
March 12th until March 17th
With: Kristina Benjocki, Tamar Guimarães, Hannah Dawn Henderson, Prapat Jiwarangsan, Nguyen Trinh Thi, Ahmad Fuad Osman, Raha Raissnia, Aura Satz, Praneet Soi and Floris Vanhoof
The Kodak carousel slide projector has continued to be used by contemporary artists around the world for the past 15 years, despite no longer being produced since 2004. Now considered obsolete, the slide projector has come to evoke the past. The story of media history is often defined by the advent of technology, so the continued artistic use of an apparatus long after its industrial demise challenges this story. In the age of swipe and scroll, the ‘forgotten’ medium in the history of media technology gives us a moment to reconsider what we have lost and gained in the digital evolution.
This exhibition showcases eleven installations made by international artists after 2004, celebrating not only the heritage of the medium but also its extension into the contemporary context. Blackout, the title of the exhibition, refers to a distinctive characteristic of the slide projector: the intermittent moments of darkness between the projected slides. Unlike analogue film projection, which operates similarly, the slide projection’s low frame rate makes the oscillation between light and darkness visible to the human eye and distinctly felt. The title also references historical amnesia and collectively suppressed memories that many of the artworks call for us to remember.
De Film Krant
Zwarte gaten in het geheugen, Mariska Graveland
Januari 16 2019
De Groene Amsterdammer
Kunst & Cultuur Plato, kodak, pryce
De vleugels van een vlieg, Joke de Wolf
15 januari 2019
curated by Julian Ross
January 24th until February 3rd 2019
Blackout is part of Deep Focus at our 48th IFFR edition, an exhibition at Kunsthal Rotterdam and a series of performances highlighting contemporary artists’ works using the “forgotten” 35mm carousel slide projector. Blackout relates to historical amnesia or collectively suppressed memories, which the artworks will call for us to remember.
Kodak terminated the production of the 35mm carousel slide projectors over a decade ago in 2004. Now considered obsolete, the slide projector has come to evoke the past. You might remember this machine from your grandparents’ photo collection, the historical archive, or from lectures in art school; then again, some of you might have never seen one before. Nevertheless, slide-based works still feature regularly in art galleries and new works continue to be made with the medium. In the age of swipe and scroll, the “forgotten” medium in the history of media technology give us a moment to consider what we actually lose or gain in the digital evolution.
In IFFR 2019’s Deep Focus programme Blackout, you’ll get to see what the slide projector can offer in today’s media landscape. Celebrating the heritage of the medium, Blackout will focus entirely on the contemporary by presenting works made since 2004. While concerned with media archaeology, the exhibition also considers historical amnesia in a sociopolitical context. Many artists use the 35mm slide to illuminate lost or deliberately forgotten histories, reminding us the slide medium was not only used for holiday photos but also as pedagogical tools by colonial powers. The works featured in Blackout see artists take history into their own hands.
The title of the exhibition refers to forgotten or hidden moments in history as well as the intermittent moments of darkness between the individual projected slides. The works selected all explore historical memory from a personal perspective as an alternative to the simplified narratives of history”, says programmer Julian Ross.
Hannah Dawn Henderson [United Kingdom/Netherlands], Floris Vanhoof [Belgium], Aura Satz [United Kingdom], Nguyen Trinh Thi [Vietnam], Tamar Guimarães [Brazil], Raha Raissnia [United States], Prapat Jiwarangsan [Thailand], Ahmad Fuad Osman [Malaysia], Kristina Benjocki [Serbia/Netherlands], Cauleen Smith [United States], Praneet Soi [India/Netherlands]
Blackout will feature an exhibition of slide-based works by a line-up of international artists at Kunsthal Rotterdam; a special performance by American interdisciplinary artist Cauleen Smith; and a number of late-night audio-visual performances as part of sound//vision at WORM Rotterdam.
This exhibition is part of Julian Ross’ research supported by the Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at University of Westminster. A variation of this exhibition will be held at Ambika P3, London, March 2019 and Greylight, Brussels, April 2019.
De Koepel, Haarlem
knock on the door before you enter
curated by Essam Zaki
October 5th until November 11th 2018
With: Nagham Abo Assaf, Zakia el Abodi, Ghalia Benali, Kristina Benjocki, Sebastian Diaz Morales, Hussein el Faqih, Thana Faroq, Jikke van Loon, Richtje Reinsma, Daphe Rosenthal, Sally Samaan
curated by Alexandra Landré
July 7th until September 16th 2018
With: Kristina Benjocki, Alexandra Duvekot, Giuseppe Licari, Ruchama Noorda, Semiconductor
Kunstvereniging Diepenheim presents the second group exhibition this year: 'Hiding in plain sight'. Five artists show work in which curiosity, research and speculative scenarios form the working guideline. The participants dive into the environment with new questions about the relationship between technology, nature and people. The result is a series of spatial installations, providing unexpected viewpoints into the banality of every day.
Stroom, The Hague
curated by Saskia van Stein and Agata Jaworska
May 19th until July 15th 2018
With: Eline Benjaminsen, Kristina Benjocki, Jean-Baptiste Castel, Yamuna Forzani, Daniel Grumer, Klodiana Millona, Miguel Peres dos Santos, Katarina Petrovic, Fahmy Shahin, Gitte Svendsen, Abel Wolff
The exhibition My Practice, My Politics shows work by artists and designers who recently graduated from the KABK (Royal Academy of Art The Hague). The interdisciplinary exhibition - curated by Saskia van Stein and Agata Jaworska - interconnects fine arts, photography, artistic research and various design disciplines and explores how art is inherently political. The exhibition expands ideas of political modes of expression. Through a wide array of artistic practices, the presentation conveys manifestations, interfaces and exchanges between the individual and the societal. With My Practice, My Politics the Royal Academy of Art portrays the way in which artists and designers capture their views on society through the subject matter they explore, the language and tools they employ, the aesthetics they manifest, and the communities they engage.
curated by Ruth Legg
April 13th 2018
An evening hosted by artist Ruth Legg and include an invited guest from the visual arts who will be asked to present a number of moving image clips that are of particular interest for or influence on them. With an emphasis on an informal discussion, this is an opportunity to explore ideas around the moving image without the pressure to draw conclusions.
Salone del Mobile, Milan - Italy
curated by Saskia van Stein and Agata Jaworska
April 17th until April 22nd 2018
The personal is political. Whether explicit or implicit, there is an embedded political dimension to everything we do. My Practice, My Politics explores how art, too, is inherently political.
The exhibition expands our ideas of political modes of expression. Through a wide array of artistic practices, the presentation conveys manifestations, interfaces and exchanges between the individual and the societal.
My Practice, My Politics portrays the way in which artists and designers capture their views on society through the subject matter they explore, the language and tools they employ, the aesthetics they manifest, and the communities they engage.
Van Zijll Langhout gallery, Amsterdam
Continuation, duo exhibition
February 24th until April 28th 2018
With: Kristina Benjocki and Anne-Marie Twigge
As an extension of her long-term research project, Benjocki presents her newest series of drawings based on storyboards and maps inspired by Cannerberg in Maastricht. She conducted research on the history of Cannerberg hill between 2015 and 2017 during her residency stay at the Jan van Eyck Academy. So far, this expansive research took the shape of a diverse yet thematically interrelated body of work: Sedimentation of Memory, Performing the Archive, The Regime of the Visible, Shifting Grounds, Negative Space.Variation 1, and Storyboard Cannerberg. The film Portrait of the Mountain is currently in progress. This project is presented in colabouration with Van Zijll Langhout gallery and kindly supported by the Jan van Eyck Academy and Amsterdam Fund for the Arts (AFK).
Curated by Lorenzo Benedetti
February 7th until February 11th 2018
The new section of Art Rotterdam Commonities will be curated by Lorenzo Benedetti, Curator Contemporary Art at Kunstmuseum St. Gallen.
Regional Historisch Centrum Limburg, Мааstricht
Curated by Krien Clevis
September 1st until November 3rd 2017
With: Astrid Mingels, Krien Clevis, Kristina Benjocki, Chaim van Luit, Bart Lodewijks, Jasper Coppes and Rod Summers
The first exhibition to work within the Regional Historisch Centrum Limburg (RHCL) context to showcase artistic projects and interventions inspired by the geological and industrial history of Caesert plateau in Maastricht.
The exhibition includes the artists from different generations and backgrounds who generated independent projects in the most recent years, as well as those who have discovered and worked with the plateau as early as the 1970s. Pioneers is the first exhibition to make use of the former depot of the RHCL building.
The invited artists share a common interest in archeology as a tool for re-creating and speculating about the past.
The works on display have not or have barely been shown to the public, or have become oblivious, sometimes even literally buried underground and been excavated like an archaeological artefacts.
The Regime of the Visible
pocket map and text for the MIT press journal
published June 2017
The Regime of Visible, in the form of a pocket map, introduces two ways of exploring Cannerberg, a small hill situated between Maastricht, the Netherlands, and Kanne, Belgium. One side of the map traces the ownership of land by mapping cadaster parcels and their corresponding buildings and underground tunnel structures. The other side traces varied sources from the history and geology of Caestert plateau with a focus on Cannerberg. From Neolithic times, continuous mining of flint nodules and later limestone created a complex network of underground tunnels around Maastricht, popularly called “the caves.” Flint nodules were used to make tools and weapons, and to build fire. For centuries, up until industrialization, limestone was extracted by hand and used in building infrastructure in the Limburg province. By the time of industrialization, underground mining in Cannerberg had already been exhausted.
The maze of underground corridors left behind was regularly used by local farmers until WWII, when German troops re-purposed Cannerberg into a storage and assembly facility for V-1 rockets. A few years after WWII, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) rented out the same “cave” and used it as the headquarters for war operations during the Cold War. In 1992 the NATO headquarters shut down. The same year, the Treaty of the European Union was ratified in Maastricht, its twelve signatures memorialized in Cannerberg's “cave.”
The Regime of Visible collapses the narratives of property and history through the superposition of Cannerberg's storylines. The Regime of Visibleis part of long-term research on the Caestert plateau history, and it functions as an introductory work to “Portrait of the Mountain,” an upcoming video essay.
Sursock Museum- Beirut, Lebanon
This is the Time. This is the Record of the Time.
May 11th 2017
Join us for the book launch of This is the Time. This is the Record of the Time, edited by Angela Harutyunyan and Nat Muller. The book combines theoretical interventions on conceptions of time and temporality by several scholars – including Rico Franses and Ray Brassier – with artistic propositions on its representations and records. Following a collaborative exhibition and public program at the Stedelijk Bureau Amsterdam and the AUB Art Galleries in the framework of Stedelijk Museum’s Global Collaborations program in 2014-15, the publication is both a record of the project and a renewed invitation to think of time in the midst of tectonic geopolitical, social, and cultural shifts.
The book launch will be accompanied by readings, and a conversation with the editors, artists, and authors present: Ray Brassier, Rico Franses, Daniele Genadry, Angela Harutyunyan, Sami Khatib, Walid Sadek, and Cynthia Zaven, among others.
Sedimentation of Memory PuntWG gallery, Amsterdam
Jun 10th until July 2nd 2017
Sedimentation of Memory, installation with five Kodak carrousel projectors and lime stone blocks, duration 8min looped.
The installation collapses visual narratives based on historical and geological findings related to Cannerberg, a cavernous hill located between the Dutch and Belgian border. From Neolithic times, continuous mining of flint nodules and later limestone created a complex network of underground tunnels around the Caesert plateau. In Limburg province, these hand cut tunnels are commonly referred to as “the caves” while hills are often referred to as “the mountains.” Cannerberg bears traces from various histories: from Neolithic times to World War II, the Cold War and the Maastricht treaty- considered as the beginning of European Union.
Sedimentation of Memory is an introduction to Portrait of the Mountain, a long-term research project that will result in a video essay and a book (2015-2018).
Sedimentation of Memory combines technology, visual and material remnants of the time that has passed and of the location. The project draws from a variety of sources from private and public archives, tracing characters as they surface from different mediums: black-and-white or color photographs, VHS tapes, scanned documents, natural history books, military brochures, tourist guides or the most recent unclassified records from the NATO archive in Brussels.