Biennial turns once-secret space into a contemporary art gallery

Biennial turns once-secret space into a contemporary art gallery

Biennial turns once-secret space into a contemporary art gallery

The bunker has turned into an art space for the biennial. AA photo

A once-secret bunker built to shelter Yugoslavia’s communist leadership from nuclear war has temporarily reopened as an art gallery during the 2nd Contemporary Arts Biennial. The 280-meter-deep, U-shaped complex is dug into a mountain in the small Bosnian town of Konjic and took 26 years and billions of dollars to build. For years, only the late Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito and his closest confidantes knew the subterranean fortress existed, the Associated Press reported.

Suport of Turkey

Speaking to Anatolia news agency, the Turkish Ambassador to Bosnia, Ahmet Yıldız, said that Turkey was once again the biggest sponsor of the event. He said that Turkish artists put great effort into the success of the biennial besides providing financial support.

“The biennial has two important meanings. First, it solely deserves to be supported that the bunker serves for artistic events. Second, Bosnia’s economy and culture is in dire straits. Many cultural places have been closed, the national museum and national library are closed. It is very important for Turkey to give support to Bosnia in such a process. I hope that such events will be organized in other parts of the country. We are ready to support them, too,” Yıldız said.

One of the biennial organizers, Başak Şenova said that after five biennials, the bunker would be completely closed and opened as a museum featuring contemporary artworks.

She said that this year more than 35 artists from 19 countries were joining the biennial. From Turkey Emre Erkal, Banu Cennetoğlu ve Yasemin Özcan will present their works at the biennial, which will be open for three months.

Tickets to the biennial cost 5 euros, which includes transportation and a guide. Would-be visitors have to get a permit from the army to enter the 6,500 square meter facility.