Jelena Jureša is a visual artist and filmmaker, born in Yugoslavia. In her films, photography and video installations, Jureša explores issues of cultural identity, gender, the politics of remembering and forgetting, and collective violence. She unceasingly questions historical and political narratives and tries to destabilise our ideas of what is true. Over the past several years, her research and focus on practices of oppression—how they operate and implicate us in systems of violence—has resulted in multidisciplinary projects that are, on various levels, as political as they are highly personal.
Her work has been showcased internationally, including solo exhibitions at Argos Centre for Audiovisual Arts in Brussels, Künstlerhaus in Graz, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade. She conducted research on public art, capitalism, and patriarchy during her Jackman Goldwasser residency in 2015 in collaboration with the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago. In 2016, as a Q21 artist in residence in Vienna, she explored the work of anthropologists and racial hygienists during the Austrian imperial period, along with post-WWII politics of oblivion in Austria.
Her film project Aphasia, which detects a thread of positions of power, racism, injustice, and violence from Belgian colonialism, Austrian anti-Semitism to the atrocities in Bosnia during the Yugoslavian wars, was generously supported by VAF Filmlab and produced for a solo show at Argos Centre for Audiovisual Arts. The film was co-commissioned by Contour Biennale, where it was exhibited in 2019, and later featured in the Manifesta Biennale in 2022. It has been showcased at various venues including Kunstverein in Hamburg, Budapest Gallery of the Budapest History Museum, Display – association for research and collective practice in Prague, Center for Cultural Decontamination in Belgrade, Cinematek in Brussels, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, Fotomuseum in Antwerpen, De Cinema in Antwerp, DocLisboa, and received the main award at the 23rd Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival in Prague. Using the previous line of meticulous research and continuing her collaboration with the performers from the film, she conceptualised and directed Aphasia concert performance, which premiered at the Kunstenfestivaldesarts in Brussels in 2022. The live concert performance emerged out of praxical research geared towards devising new strategies for ensuring the embodied involvement of the spectator, in order to tackle questions of group dynamics, obedience to authority and polarization. Supported by the Kunstendecreet, the project was a collaborative production between KAAP and ROBIN, with co-productions from Kunstenfestivaldesarts, De Singel, Workspacebrussels, the Hannah Arendt Institute, La Geste (Les Ballet C de la B), Moussem, Nomadic Art Centre, and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK). After its successful premiere at the Kunstenfestivaldesarts in Brussels in May 2022, the performance toured various venues, including STUK in Leuven, AMOK in Brugge, De Singel in Antwerp, Donaufestival in Vienna/Krems, Theaterformen in Hannover, and Zürcher Theater Spektakel in Zurich.
Jureša teaches at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) and holds a PhD in practice from Ghent University, Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, and KASK. In 2017, she was awarded a two-year artistic research project at KASK titled ‘Unfolding Amnesia: An Interdisciplinary Inquiry into Artistic Practices and the Politics of Oblivion.’ In 2020, she received a post-doctoral fellowship for ‘Revolt! On a Refusal to Sing—Thinking Resistance Through Music, Waste, and Complicity’.