Jarman award winner Jasmina Cibic: ‘Europe is collapsing in front of our eyes’

The UK-based Slovenian artist, who witnessed the former Yugoslavia fall apart and felt the ‘ground shatter’ after Brexit, talks about the right’s anti-cultural onslaught

There is a seam of dark humour whenever the Slovenian artist Jasmina Cibic is preparing to show her work in certain European countries. “They’re firing so many museum directors,” she says, with a brittle smile, “so we had this joke, that my show was going to be the last one for that director’s career.”

Cibic points to what has been happening in Hungary and Poland, where rightwing governments have attacked the arts, sacking museum and theatre directors, silencing writers and putting pressure on galleries. Even in Britain, which may be far less authoritarian but is prone to populist nationalism, Cibic has met obstacles. After Brexit, she says, “I lost [some exhibitions] in English museums, and I was told that they will reprogramme to suit local and national interests.” She smiles. “With the nature of my work, it couldn’t be more bizarre.”

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