Main Building

“Karaoke/I left my wife with 38 children to die of starvation with only one hamburger left, right, left, right…”

  • Maja Bajevic

Karaoke, 2011

The main element in this separate exhibition of the Bosnian artist Maja Bajevic is sound, often music, which starts from the sound installation at the entrance, I left my wife med 38 children to die of starvation med only one hamburger left, right, left, right … (2011). This American marching rhyme introduces the exhibition’s two main elements of sound and humour / sarcasm.

Bajevic bases her work on a poetic and subtle look at historical and social aspects. Bajevic analyses the relationship between violence, power and identity structures, reflects on the impact of political and social conflicts on everyday life and gives thought to the need for (as well at the related difficulties) putting oneself in the places of others. When these reflections are combined, they always actively involve the spectator.

Maja Bajevic started to be known internationally for her project Women at Work (1991-2001), a series of performance pieces that included the participation of five female refugees after the massacre in Srebrenica. In one of the pieces Washing Up, they washed clothes while singing various slogans from the era of the dictator Tito and that until the words were washed away – an act laden with poetic and political symbolism, which to some extent had a catharsis effect.

Karaoke / I left my wife med 38 children to die of Starvation with only one hamburger left, right, left, right … is Maja Bajevic’s first solo exhibition in Denmark and includes a new audio work, which is also reflected by the exhibition title, Karaoke, 2011. A 4-screen video installation that uses the sound in karaoke. The first screen reflects a scene filmed in a poor district of Palermo, a family gathering, where karaoke is being sung. The next screen shows the karaoke screen, which is also visible in the video. The third screen shows a scene of a military exercise with Israeli women filmed next to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. At one point prayers can be heard from the Al-Aqsa Mosque. This prayer is shown as karaoke on the fourth screen. The video does not intend to take sides or pass judgements, but intends to show different facets of the world we live in, by combining things that do not necessarily tie in with each other.

Avanti Popolo, 2002 –
Patriotic songs and hymns are important means of creating both an individual and a national identity.  In the sound installation Avanti Popolo nationalist songs from 30 different countries from around the world are being sung by representatives from many different cultures and nationalities. Bajevic illuminates the aggressive nature of each piece and points out the absurd nature of these songs by combining them. The songs play while the public walks around in the installation and activates them as a sort of “minefield” of songs. The individual songs disappear into an absurd cacophony of all nationalities. Maja Bajevic says about the piece: “In every country there are songs that we have always known, songs which are part of our national identity and which represent the official picture of the country. Songs that demand action (or reaction), they demand that we march, they bring people together. Depending on the historical momentum these songs can be seen as “positive ” or “negative”, but they all say just one thing: “There is us and there are them and we fight against them. As the songs continue, they become bloodier and bloodier “.

Kunsthal 44 Møen also presents the video Double – Bubble, 2001 where Maja Bajevic states her opinion of the present-day misuse of religion by showing two new forms of religion. The first, TECHNO, is a religion developed to satisfy the individual’s personal needs.  To exemplify this, Bajevic states: “I do not eat pork. I do not drink during Ramadan. But I take ecstasy.”An example of TURBO religion (a religion based on ethnic, hate-based activities) would be the statement: “I did everything in the name of God.” With this video, Bajevic would like to show the displacement that can be felt in a world of hidden lies and violence.

Maja Bajevic is at the moment hosting a solo exhibition To Be Continued at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía Museo in Madrid. Bajevic has shown her works in countless solo exhibitions, at the Fondazione Bevilaqua la Masa in Venice (2008), at the National Gallery in Sarajevo (2006), the Moderna Museet in Stockholm (2005), MoMA PS1 in New York (2004), in Bale (2002) and in many group exhibitions and international biennials like Documenta 12 in Kassel (2007), and the 50th Venice Biennale (2003), the Istanbul Biennial (2001). In Denmark, she participated in the group exhibition Frei at the Gallery Susanne Ottesen (2007).

Avanti Popolo, 2002

Karaoke, 2011

The First Kiss, 2010