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Miss Yuuniverse


Boris Kralj


Isabella Meiffert


Fata Morgana, Berlin


July 2016

Dazzling sirens of socialism: The MISS YUNIVERSE series by fashion photographer Boris Kralj, who comes from a family of guest workers, shows glamorous, demonic portraits of Yugoslavian folk singers and was on view in July 2016 in a solo exhibition at Fata Morgana in Berlin Mitte.
In the 1970s and 80s, the magnificent singers from Yugoslavia not only performed in their home country, but also frequently for Yugoslav guest workers in Germany. Live on stage or on VHS tapes played over and over in their living rooms with friends and family. Her lyrics were melancholic, dealing primarily with suffering, love, pain and loneliness.

Boris Kralj still remembers the dazzlingly beautiful women of MISS YUNIVERSE and the video evenings together:

“Their voices and their music still arouse euphoria and anxiety at the same time. As the fashionable women sang, I observed the tremendous impact they had on my family and those around me. The television viewers seemed to turn into puppets. They clutched their hearts singing and crying. The singers seemed to mesmerize them like sirens.”

The images – found footage from the last VHS cassettes from Yugoslavia – show snapshots of these women, in which their seductive expression gives way to a demonic one. Their dramatic and ecstatic facial expressions and gestures make their faces, disfigured by pain, seem almost uncanny. Without movement and without sound, they are robbed of their power. They are presented to the viewer as motionless yet eerie subjects behind glass. Defenseless and silent. Your show is over.
In this artistic work by Kralj, a piece of Yugoslavian-German cultural history is negotiated. The look back is not glorified, but critical. It reflects the ambivalent effect of the singers on guest workers in Germany and Western Europe.
Boris Kralj has become known as a fashion photographer and has been pursuing free artistic projects for many years. His My Belgrade series has been exhibited and discussed internationally on several occasions. A book has been published to accompany it. At MISS YUNIVERSE, too, he combines passion and personal history.

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