Danilo Prnjat: Lilly Project


Performance, 2007

Author: Danilo Prnjat

Production: Mangelos – KONTEKST gallery, Belgrade, Serbia

Medium: Performance transferred on DVD, Color, Sound

Length: 7’18”, loop

Year: 2007


When it comes to public space, the dominant principles applied in organizing our immediate environment are gender based, from separate public toilets for men and women, to large beauty shops and saloons…

The beginning of the post-socialist era and the loss of the already built national identity have triggered a comeback of the traditional patriarchal values, according to which all relationships must observe a special hierarchy. This situation is furthermore enhanced by the arrival of large corporate systems (capitalism), whose aspiration to a permanent market expansion not only erased part of this hierarchy, but also contributed to the isolation of its remains.

The Lilly Project represents an action where 200 men simultaneously invaded, without any previous warning, the largest beauty shop in Belgrade, called Lilly. This literally  “patriarchal”, “male” behaviour, which is based on the assumption that men have the right to take control over any space or person, by all means, with or without permission (a standpoint which is typical to individuals raised on patriarchal values), is a real example of a pure form of protest, to mark the distance that delays normal, utilitarian and social evolution.

On the other hand, the participants agreed to this action, on condition that they would be paid for exhibiting a particular behaviour that can be perceived as sexually “wrong” in our society, which only indicates that acceptable behaviour limits and mechanisms that determine some of the vital human identity aspects (such as sexual behaviour) are established only on material grounds in a capitalist society. 

If we take into consideration that 200 men entered a single building, and thus outnumbered the employees therein, this action immediately led to a system standstill, to its instant collapse – but not to the purpose of providing them an anarchist alternative, but of emphasizing its flaws, in a radical and formal way.


Short CV

Danilo Prnjat was born 1982 in Herceg Novi, Montenegro (SFR Yugoslavia). He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, University of Novi Sad and the Interdisciplinary Master Studies – the Theory of Arts and Media – of the University of Arts in Belgrade, Serbia. He lives and works in Belgrade, Serbia. 

Prnjat becomes involved in the local political reality through controversial and sometimes legally problematic actions in order to express certain social problems. His work can sometimes be referred to as activism, because the artist acts by way of excess, the same way a guerrilla or a hacker bursts into a system and attacks it from the inside. From a thematic perspective, the performances of Danilo Prnjat approach three group phenomena: a) questioning the personal, natural and national identity, placing an emphasis on the ”otherness”, on the patriarchal society taboos and on the discrimination of ”socially unacceptable” identities, b) creating an identity that is motivated, controlled or manipulated by the capitalist system and c) nationalism – an explanation of the interrelation between capitalism and nationalism, as well as the abuse in mass-media.

His artworks have recently been exhibited in: Moscow Bienniale of Youth (2010); Wurttembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart (2010), Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn, Estonia (2010); FREIZE ART FAIR, London, United Kingdom (2009); Art Today Association – Center for Contemporary Art, Plovdiv, Bulgaria (2009); Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany (2009); Museo Nacional de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain (2009); Futura – Center for Contemporary Art, Prague, Czech Republic (2009); Center Pompidou, Paris, France (2008);  <rotor> Association for Contemporary Art, Graz, Austria (2008); 49. October saloon, Museum 25th May, Belgrade, Serbia (2008); Zendai Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, China (2008); 13. BIENNIAL PUGLIA, Bari, Italy (2008); Museum of Contemporary Art, Novi Sad, Serbia (2007); La Corte, Galleria di Arte Contemporanea, Florence, Italy (2006) etc.

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