Exhibition: Trio from Sarajevo

The design studio Trio was formed in 1985 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was founded by three students of the Academy of Fine Arts – Bojan Hadžihalilović, Dalida Duraković and Lejla Mulabegović. They describe themselves as “typical representatives of the generation which grew up on punk and pop-art”, influences which are still visible in their work today. By the end of the 1980s Trio had become the most famous group of designers in Yugoslavia, the first time that this kind of art became truly popular in the socialist federation.

Those were times of change, the beginning of the end of socialism, the beginning of the end of Yugoslavia. Trio succeeded in capturing these tempestuous moments in the posters, record covers and media which they designed. At the same time their works were a picture of the young people in the country, of a generation open for change, of a time in which there was no more self-censorship, in which one was free to play with old idols, flirt with politics.

They first rose to fame with the record cover of the an album of the band Plavi Orkestrar which was conceived as a Yugoslav take on the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. In the foreground the four band members stood surrounded by symbols of Yugoslavia of the 1980s – from Lepa Brena and Vuk Draškovic to the characters of Partisan films… Trio began working for a range of notable musicians of that era – Bijelo Dugme, Zdravko Čolić, Dino Merlin – as well as collaborations with numerous theatres, festivals and media outlets like Globus (Zagreb), Vreme (Belgrade) and Naši Dani (Sarajevo). In that period they were engaged in Subotica as designers for the cultural/political project KPGT (kazalište, pozorište, gledališće, teatar) where they teamed up with Rade Šerbedžija for one of the most lauded cultural projects in Yugoslavia.

With the beginning of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bojan and Dalida remained in besieged Sarajevo where they continued to design in spite of the wartime conditions. Between grenades and snipers’ bullets, without sufficient food or water, they created an ironic series of postcards titled “Greetings from Sarajevo” which quickly made their way beyond the besieged city. The first of them were produced by hand with children’s paints without the intention for them to ever be mass produced. In 1994 they escaped from Sarajevo and came to Slovenia where they collaborated with the magazine Mladina.

In an interview, speaking about what Trio is, Bojan says how their works evolved “not in some romantic time, but during the period of the collapse of Yugoslavia” travelling from Sarajevo through Belgrade, Zagreb and Ljubljana visually representing what they saw, felt and heard.

Bojan and Dalida continue to work with numerous artists and media outlets in the former Yugoslavia but for them their centre remains Sarajevo where they are affiliated with the Fabrika design team.

The collection which is exhibited during the conference “Debating the End of Yugoslavia” is the first retrospective of their work to date.

See picture gallery of some posters from e-novine

More details about the exhibition from the website of the University Museum


Photo Gallery

Portraits taken during the Conference by Robert Pichler

© Robert Pichler. No reproduction without authorization of the photographer

Photos from the Conference