Ivan Grubanov - The Summer of Nationalism
In 2016 Ivan Grubanov received a Phd in the arts from the KU Leuven and the LUCA School of Arts for 'Unnation'. This was a work of art that consisted of a range of reflections on issues related to refugees in Europe. For 'United Dead Nations', his show at the 2015 Venice Biennale, he painted abstract floor patterns with paint that was extracted from flags of countries that have perished. The entirety of Grubanov's oeuvre is strongly engaged with the history of his home country, the former Yugoslavia, but it always addresses themes that are more widely recognizable. The 'Summer of Nationalism' is a piece that Grubanov designed especially for the KU Leuven, and it, too, harbours the restlessness of the world. At first sight this work deals with the excesses of nationalism in the Balkans, the high-flown rhetorics of Karadzic, and war. Or maybe it invokes the late melancholy of a long lost dream of peace and freedom, the Summer of Love, which happened exactly fifty year ago. But, as always, Grubanov mostly expresses something about the times we currently live in. He is a seismograph. He shows us how the world trembles. It's up to us to feel the tremors.