Art Center of the Library of the University of Belgrade
Univerzitetska biblioteka ‘Svetozar Markovic’
Bulevar Revolucije 71
Phone: + 381 63 1919178
Fax:  +381 11 3370513
Contact: Selman Trtovac

Opening: Friday 4. of July 2008 6PM >1st of Septembar

Texte diffusé par e-artnow: repris de

With drawings, texts and actions Zampa di Leone is working within the parameters of cultural activism in the Balkan region. Their first fanzine, In the Arse of the Balkans, which parodies an entire movement of balkanization of art practices. Their experiment of aesthetic reformulation of the Balkans created its anti-history of sorts.

‘…Zampa di Leone’s ‘selections’ are anonymously published caricatures of protagonists and relationships in the international and ‘Balkan’-related art scene. They were ‘created at the time of a fictional history (tradition) in order to negate this fabrication in the most brutal fashion’ (Sezgin Boynik, 2006). The viewer is left clueless as to whether to embrace this sniper-like critique of the politics of aesthetic distinction, the ‘dispositiv’ (Foucault) of the creative ‘author’, its attacks on the definitorial lighttowers, hermeneutic monopolists, heroes and heroines of the art-world or to reject it as cheap post-adolescent pillorying from the safe position of the hideout, that levels all nuances that matter. Certainly the works of Zampa di Leone are occasionally intelligent and funny…’
(Fahim Amir: (2008))

‘…Zampa di Leone’s perspective is to provide an authentic and honest portrait of the Balkan region and EU. The BALKANS ANTHOLOGY 2000-2005 ‘In the Arse of the Balkan’, was conceived to establish a platform for an open dialog between the Balkans and Western Europe while simultaneously encouraging avenues of communication between Southeast-European countries themselves and especially Western Balkan Region between all regions itself in transition.’In the Arse of the Balkan’ is dealing with the phenomenon of cultural activism and artistic practices in the West Balkan region and Europe in the last half of decade. It is a really complex collaboration, dealing with the global problems with very nice artistic perspectives, both historic and contemporary, all demonstrate the creative energy and the intellectual potential of contemporary life from the Balkans…’
(From: (2003))

‘…There are some artistic practices, developed in Belgrade in the last few years, that could possibly be considered as developing such kind of models of institutional critique. They are attributed to the ‘Illegal Confectioners’, to ‘Zampa di Leone’, and to ‘Dr.Agan Papić’, and these signifiers, regardless if they have a defined bearer, who takes responsibility for the actions coming out of those practices or not, do rise quite some public dissent when being mentioned in discussion. The manner they act in is simulationist, they act ‘as if’ they would participate in the representational game, but in fact use images and information as viruses in order to act against any representation. The actions of the ‘Illegal Confectioners’ did include making a fake B92 blog, where one could discuss whatever this neo-liberal media house would not allow on their regular site, sending a made up info on a forced closing of a bar for elderly people called ‘Osama’ (‘lonesomness’ in Serbian), after the alleged intervention from the US Embassy, etc. ‘Zampa’, as collective under cover, made mock cartoons on the issues from the local art scene, quite bizzare and controversial, and with a number of fake info in them, while ‘Dr. Agan’ has opened an anarchistic mailing list, naming it ‘Splash: the List of Love and Freedom’ and generated a new community around it….’
(Stevan Vukovic: (2007))

‘…An attempt was made to theoretically analyze the strategy of Zampa di Leone. [] It is in an essay by a curator from Macedonia, Suzana Milevska, where she analyses the political paralysis in radical art practices in ex-Yugoslav republics. Milevska defends the viewpoint that Zampa di Leone together with Irwins (?!) represent a non-public discourse that was generally practiced in the whole ambivalent system of self-government. Thus, she criticizes Zampa di Leone’s strategy of anonymity and invisibility as a simulator of paralysis in culture’s public space. Authors of Zampa di Leone comics are unknown, or more precisely – partially unknown, but this anonymity has nothing to do with the cultural space that is paralyzed. At least there is no historical connection, because Zampa di Leone did not come about during the 90′s when escapism was a generally accepted strategy on Serbia’s art scene, but near the end of 2003, when political and public art where the most common art practice. Zampa di Leone’s anonymity is rather a strategy against compromises and ‘everything goes’ easiness. For example, although parodied by Zampa di Leone, artist Tanja Ostojic was not uncomfortable to publish a caricature in her book ‘Strategies of Success.’ This is perhaps another side of contemporary art’s ambivalence which can be best characterized with the old Marxist pejorative: opportunism…’
(Sezgin Boynik: ‘LEARNING FROM THE UNDERGROUND’, Magazin on Image of Radical Girls #3, Prizren 2006),

‘…Zampa di Leone’s In the Arse of the Balkan 2000-2005 comic strip web site both jokes with artists including the most renowned artists and projects such as successful IRWIN’s group recent projects, the artists Tanja Ostojic, Milica Tomic and Uros Djuric, and the curators Marina Grzinic and Branko Dimitrijevic and aims to a cultural critique of the representation of the Balkan art scene in a Western art context. Their graphic drawings and language aims to be a kind of subversive activism but there is definitely a certain ambiguity in Zampa di Leone’s attitude towards activism. Although they state: In the Arse of the Balkan ‘is dealing with the phenomenon of cultural activism and artistic practices in the West Balkan region and Europe in the last half of decade’, their ironical approach towards activism becomes clear through other texts. However, according to the clandestine author the web site will fulfill its mission with any change of in the local situation and the notion of change is definitely an attribute closely related with that of activism. It is obvious that the target of this project is not the political in general but the art politics of the Serbian and Balkan art scene….’
(Suzana Milevska: (2005))

‘…I must say that always I visit Zampa di Leone (, I’m extremely amused. Such a refreshing analysis of the state of things in the Balkan region is always welcome! Who is Zampa di Leone? I have no idea, although my friends from Serbia and Monte Negro, and we are all playing in Zampa di Leone’s comics, list this and that name. As long as Zampa di Leone, through comics’ techniques, contributes building solid mythology narrations, hyper-hysterical requestioning of the state of the thing in art, infernal flux of complicated relations, and funny, critical, but in the end not at all offensive critique, I do not care, who the hell is Zampa di Leone…’

(Marina Grzinic: (2004))

Steve Wood