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Y? Project


The Yugo: a car that Americans remember to this day for its rapid downfall from an imported sales hit to a subject of ridicule and a metaphor for inferior quality. In ex-Yugoslavia, on the other hand, The Yugo is a car that has become a sentimental symbol of the socialist past and a catalyst for individual and collective memories.
Y? Project, Y?, 2020. Courtesy of the artists.
Y? Project, Y?, 2020. Courtesy of the artists.

Three decades after the end of the golden era of Yugoslav automotive industry, Neža Knez, Danilo Milovanović, Toni Poljanec and Luka Erdani bought a Yugo 55 and set off on a special journey from Kragujevac, Serbia, the home of the original Crvena Zastava factory. The journey took them through continental Europe and England and then across the Atlantic to the town of Mercer, Pennsylvania, where the car used to be sold. Along the way, they met up with people who were associated with the former factory, current Yugo owners and Yugo aficionados, theoreticians and artists who perceived the car as a symbol of a specific era. The journey also acted as a metaphor for the export of the Yugo to the United States. It involved the making of an experimental documentary film and served as an open creative platform. In addition to the documentary, Y? Project used spatial interventions in Europe and the United States to bring to life ideas from the past and to juxtapose symbols from a bygone era with current contexts and situations. These interventions, located somewhere between the political and the poetical, were characterised by a site-specific guerilla approach, technical simplicity and symbolic potency.

Y?  (2020) is a multilayered art and research project aimed at collecting and recycling facts and myths related to the Yugo and the broader context represented by the phenomenon of the Yugoslav automotive industry. As a recognisable symbol and a vessel for the identity of a specific era, the project used the Yugo car as the basis for a quest for new ideas and for contemplating the past through the prism of the present.

Sponsored by i-portunus and supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the City of Ljubljana.

Y? Project, Y?, 2020. Courtesy of the artists. 

Y? Project consists of several artists. Neža Knez (1990) and Danilo Milovanović (1992) are interdisciplinary visual artists. They received their master’s degree at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana, where they were also awarded the student Prešeren Award. They have both been twice nominated for the OHO Award, the pre-eminent Slovenian award for young artists, which Neža also won in 2018. Danilo has also studied at UMPRUM - Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague, while Neža has attended the WHW Akademija in Zagreb. They regularly exhibit their work in Slovenia and abroad. Toni Poljanec (1979) has a degree in cultural studies from the Faculty of Social Sciences in Ljubljana. He is active in the fields of documentary and experimental film and performance art. In 2018, he was the recipient of the Zlata ribica award for his work in independent video production. He is an active member of the Hupa Brajdič collective from Ljubljana. Luka Erdani (1992) studied sociology and history at the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana. He is the founder of the Transforma festival, the co-founder of Modri kot, a now defunct space for alternative culture at Tovarna Rog, and the owner of the Podhod bike repair shop in Ljubljana. He regularly works as a producer with artists from various fields.

Etc. is an annual magazine, dedicated to showcasing current artistic production from the Baltic to the Balkans.
Based in Ljubljana, Slovenia, each issue is dedicated to a relevant topic in art and life. Founded to promote emerging artists, its goal is to initiate a dialogue, inspire collaborations, and challenge set views.