Goran Kukić – Memories from Yugoslav National Army 1984.

Once upon a time there was a land, which had tried most conspicuously to suit the needs of man. The derivative quandary lay in the matter of every person bearing differing measurements. It was ill-advised to speak your mind in this uncanny land, given how one’s thoughts would seldom satisfy the measurements of others.

This land’s army was beyond dispute, it was forbidden to besmirch its honor in any way. Back then, the “JNA 84” collection of photographs would unquestionably be perceived as impertinence, and the retribution against the culprits would be dire. This was reason enough for the collection of photographs to remain unexposed for three decades – finally, we witness them.

At the time when this collection was created, the geographic center of this odd land was Sarajevo, where Goran Kukić was born. This center of the land had become the stone for the ripple effect of the avantgarde wave of neo-primitivism, which stipulated that the ordinary, unremarkable man, is, in fact, a hero.

You now witness the photographs of those ordinary people – soldiers drafted for conscription. The collection was made in the soldiers’ club in Priština, its backdrop is a military blanket, the scenography is a tile stove.

I am personally not a nude photography aficionado, mostly because I have only seen a small number of nudes which ignite a fable in my head and move past the obvious aesthetic pleasures for the eye of the beholder. This collection unequivocally presents a fable. The fable is raw, corrugated; it is a tale of the desire of ordinary man to leave a trace in the very shape which immortalized heroes of the old, stone.

The photographs are unbothered with technical prowess, they are exactly as they should be. Natural light, no makeup or artificial scenery – “pants down, take this axe, and stand there!”

Igor Mandić