© Igor Grubić, from the project Angels with dirty Faces, 2006

© Igor Grubić, from the project Angels with dirty Faces, 2006

“Igor Grubic’s Angels with Dirty Faces is a photographic and video-based work that draws on an historic incident that happened in Belgrade in 2000. That October, the Kolubara miners staged a strike that eventually brought down the Miloševi´c regime, and sparked the end of socialism in Yugoslavia. At the time, the Kolubara mine was the largest supplier of lignite coal in Serbia, producing almost half of the country’s electricity. The strike was thus extremely important and the miners could use their leverage to influence the political situation in the country – perhaps one of the last occurrences of true social change effected through the political self-empowerment of workers. The work consists of a documentary video with footage of the strike and the demonstrations, and a series of photographs inspired by the archetypal figure of the heroic worker, glorified throughout the Eastern bloc during the socialist era. Against the backdrop of decommissioned factories or industrial sites, they are portrayed sporting painted wings. The work is directly inspired by Wim Wenders’s 1987 film Wings of Desire, in which angels descend to earth to comfort mortals in distress. Combining the hard pragmatism of mining, labour and syndicalism and the soft power of art, poetry and surrealist leaps of the imagination, it recalls a utopian moment in time.”

Manifesta9 press, by KG

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