Public statement of the Association Independent Cultural Scene of Serbia (NKSS)
October 24, 2017
The Association Independent Cultural Scene of Serbia (NKSS) strongly condemned the arrest of artists Vladan Jeremic and Uros Jovanovic, as well as the prevention of realisation of artistic performances during the evening of the official opening of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade (MSUB), judging it as a typical case of censorship.
“Given the fact that these were announced artistic actions that were non-violent, nor did they endanger anyone, it is obvious that this is a typical case of censorship, and this in front of an institution that should be the pillar of freedom of expression and respect for contemporary art which implies a critical attitude towards different social appearances and phenomena“, the NKSS Board of Directors announced on October 24.
According to NKSS, it is unacceptable that “members of the private security and the police prevent the realisation of an announced performance and arrest artists”.
“If private security and the police want to express their critical judgment or take on the role of the curator, they should announce it and be prepared to explain how they include the arrest of an artist in their curatorial practice”, the NKSS said.
The NKSS also estimates that the absence of a public reaction by the organizer of the seven-day opening program of the MSUB suggests that such operations of the security and police are acceptable and desirable.
Pointing to the constitutional ban on censorship in Serbia, the NKSS Association raised the question of the responsibility of those who took on the freedom to reverse the interpretation both of the Constitution and international conventions on freedom of expression ratified by the state.
At the same time, the NKSS called on the professional and wider public to sharply condemn the restriction of freedom of expression and to support the artists.