1993, during the war in Croatia, Slaven Tolj came directly from the front line in Dubrovnik to do a performance in Valencia at a youth biennial. Taking off multiple layers of clothes, starting with his coat, he performed the act of pinning mourning buttons on each layer of clothing. Finally, he pinned the last black button directly onto his chest - as a medal. In contrast to the image of the invincible and unfearful hero-soldier, he revealed himself as a (male) subject in mourning, an object/victim of events that he could not control and which inscribed themselves directly onto his body.

Untitled, performance, Biennial of Young Artists from Europe and the Meditrranean, Valencia (SP), 1993, photographed by Damir Hoyka



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