Programme coordinator: Milica Cukić
The goal of the documentary exhibition Artistic Events BITEF 1968-1973 is to present an interesting and significant period of history, a unique cultural phaenomenon that took place at a turning-point between two important epochs – the sixties and the seventies – in Belgrade.
The most representative specimens of the most important events from a period of six years were taken into consideration. The most significant aspect of this exhibition is to show that during those years Belgrade used to be an important cultural centre, a historical place where some of today’s most popular artists came to present their work. During a very brief historical period the most famous international artistic phaenomena and movements of independent and informal persuasion came to cross paths as parts of the artistic programmes that went on within the Atelje 212 theatre, the Galerija 212 gallery and the famous theatre festival BITEF. A great number of associates, participants and other interested parties gravitated towards Galerija 212. Spiritus movens of the group comprised of the founders of Novina and Galerija 212 – Slobodan and Saveta Mašić, Dragoš Kalajić, Ješa Denegri, Irina Subotić, Dunja Blažević, Biljana Tomić and artists, such as Damnjan, Reljić, Šejka, Otašević etc. The programmes that went on at Galerija 212 were organized and led by Irina Subotić and Biljana Tomić alternately, together with numerous associates.
The beginnings of BITEF theatre festival in 1967 presented a unique opurtunity to organize artistic events within theatres. By the end of the sixties, Atelje 212 and BITEF literately became centres of a new cultural scene, by means of supporting numerous “non-artistic” activities, like ambient stage assemblages, public interventions, happenings and street processions.
Different artistic disciplines crossed paths in this dynamic period, managing to overcome language barriers between creation and artistic interpretation. In former Yugoslavia the sixties were marked by significant cultural activities all over the country, most of them with grand and significant programmes. New categories of mixmedia, multimedia, intermedia and new media were formed. New artistic phaenomena connected Ljubljana, Zagreb and Belgrade with tendencies in art that were present in the leading centres of Europe and America, thus creating an infinite scene full of various movements.
The very beginnings were marked by the initiative to keep in touch with Ljubljana and Zagreb, with the representatives of the OHO group, Tomaž Brejc and Tomaž Šalamun, as well as with Željko Koščević, the custodian of the Students’ Centre in Zagreb.
The programmes were conceived freely, according to individual and common interests, moulded by individual pursuits, contacts, travels and the wish to become part of the Yugoslav and international scene.