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The Instrumentalization of Contemporary Art in Bosnia-Herzegovina, 2013 – 2018

Webber, Matthew; (2020) The Instrumentalization of Contemporary Art in Bosnia-Herzegovina, 2013 – 2018. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Following the end of the Bosnian War in 1995, a then unprecedented level of international aid was deployed in Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH). A portion of this was devoted to the sponsorship and support of contemporary art. This thesis investigates the reasons for this, whether it was effective, and whether it had any further effects on the ‘art system’ of BiH. I propose a number of reasons why contemporary art was used as an instrument in the country, drawn from the historical discourse on the uses to which ‘culture’ may be put in effecting societal change, and suggest that contemporary art possesses a number of characteristics that make it a particularly useful tool in both developing the public sphere and promoting the discussion of particular themes. I then present three ‘biographies’ of artworks that were produced and displayed in BiH between 2013 and 2018, all of which display examples of instrumentalization, and which are based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted over the same period. I argue that though such programs have been effective in strengthening civil society in the country, they have also had a number of detrimental effects on the art system of it. Specifically, whilst funding contemporary art is able to produce critical reflection on political and social issues, an overuse of this tool, or too inflexible an application of it, may result in a distortion of the art system, and ultimately destroy the very characteristics that make contemporary art valuable.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The Instrumentalization of Contemporary Art in Bosnia-Herzegovina, 2013 – 2018
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request. - Some third party copyright material has been removed from this e-thesis.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10096757
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