The exhibition “Hedgehog’s Home – Inventing a Better World” will be opened on Saturday, December 2 at 6 p.m., in the renovated building of the May 25 Museum, as part of the Museum Day program of the Museum of Yugoslavia.
Branko Ćopić’s poem “Hedgehog’s Home” has a special place in the childhood memories of numerous generations born in Yugoslavia. Even today, seven decades after its publication, this literary work represents a field of identification, a shared place of memory and a strong trigger for nostalgia. Starting from its iconic status in the collective memory and the turbulent history of reception of this poem and its writer, an exhibition was created that aims to initiate a dialogue about the common intangible cultural heritage and its potentials in order to rethink our identities today, and simultaneously raise questions about the importance of home, the relationship to the recent past, the communities we belong to, xenophobia, memory, nostalgia, mental health.
A quote from Ćopić’s interview inspired the title and the basic structure of the exhibition: Sometimes it seems to me that children’s literature is just an escape from reality, from conflict with reality. A person avoids the inhuman world by returning to his childhood, inventing a new world that is better and more human than the one that surrounds him. There is a clear dualism between the terrible and dark world of reality and the imagined better world, which the writer creates for himself and his readers, and for this reason the exhibition consists of two parts. The first part dedicated to “Hedgehog’s Home”, designed as a fiction, was realized in cooperation with children aged five to ten from Belgrade, Zagreb and Sarajevo and students of scenography of the University of Belgrade. Based on their ideas and drawings, this part of the exhibition was further shaped through a dialogue with numerous collaborators. The result is an interactive space that is a ground for playing and activating the imagination, but also a framework for reflection and intergenerational meetings and exchanges. The second part of the exhibition deals with the life of Branko Ćopić and has mainly a documentary character. Although clearly delineated physically, this boundary is not strict in the exhibition. The world of fiction is intertwined with elements of reality, and the writer’s room, in addition to documentary material, also represents a restored place of creativity, i.e. the place where Ćopić’s works, the imagined better world, were created.
In addition to the Collection of the Museum of Yugoslavia, most of the items were borrowed from the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts and the Branko Ćopić Endowment, and the exhibition also provides an insight into the rich archive of interviews with numerous people of different sensibilities, orientations, and generations, which were recorded while this project was being prepared.
The authors of the exhibition are the curators of the Museum of Yugoslavia: Sara Sopić and Mirjana Slavković. The design and implementation of the exhibition was carried out by: Siniša Ilić (artist), Ana Dimitrijević and Aleksandar Popović (art collective Karkatag), Bojan Palikuća (sound designer), Jana Vuković (graphic designer), Dušan Jevtić (project coordinator) and Zorica Vesić (architect).
The Origins: The Background for Understanding the Museum of Yugoslavia
Creation of a European type of museum was affected by a number of practices and concepts of collecting, storing and usage of items.
New Mappings of Europe
Starting from the Museum collection as the main source for researching social phenomena and historical moments important for understanding the experience of life in Yugoslavia, the exhibition examines the Yugoslav heritage and the institution of the Museum