TOURISTS
Colour photographs
2004-2006



from the TOURISTS series, 2004-2006, colour photograph


ESSAY


Jelena Juresa views the life of a tourist as a phenomenon with established rules of behaviour. The sites mapped as places where tourists gather are artefacts in front of which the tourist poses. Juresa displaces the tourist from his/her usual milieu, putting him/her in a situation which requires a different psychological interpretation of the portrait.

Tourism as a form of contemporary organized behavior presupposes certain conditions. One of them is the possibility of the freedom of movement and the other is the existence of one's home. A series of photos was created at a time when the population of Serbia had limited freedom of movement, due to visa requirements established by Schengen member states. Therefore souvenirs that Juresa brought home were images of tourists, showing coveted lightness of being.

[...] Arrival, travelling, several days in foreign streets (or streets of Foreign Countries) are an act which immediately becomes a memory, a Place of historic significance for our ironic life.
Tourists come to get memories, we come to get tourists.
Tourists are our memory.
The image of their jaunty lightheartedness becomes our longing.
They become the desired I. They take photos of paintings in Louvre to show them to their friends or prove that they have been Here, and we take photos of them because, for us, they are far more important than being Here.
They are a material proof that one can travel easily, and our photographs are a proof that one cannot travel easily.
In that sense, tourism doesn’t exist for us. It has never existed. First we were poor, then uninterested, then poor again, then uninformed, then poor again.
Furthermore, we have problems with home.
One cannot be a tourist and at the same time have problems with home. In order to be a tourist man always has to return home. [...]

(excerpt from the text, Boris Miljkovic, AT HOME HE IS A TOURIST, Jelena Juresa - Tourists, exhibition catalogue, L'Institut français de Belgrad, 2006)