War and humor 1914 – 1918

Nov 3, 2021

The Exhibition “War and Humor 1914 – 1918” is to be on display for the public in the Salon of the National Museum of Zrenjanin starting from August 26, 2020. The exhibition has been realized in cooperation with the Institute for the History of Advertising and the Zrenjanin Museum. The creative team consists of Vladimir Cech, Prof. Dr. Milan Ristović, and Dr. Nataša Jovanović, in cooperation with Prvoslav Plavšić, and with the devoted support of Miloš Ristović and the teams from Alma Quatro, Beoexpo, and Digital Mind. The curator is Dejan Vorgić, art historian. The realization of the exhibition was supported by the US Embassy. The exhibition was planned to be on display until September 24, 2020. Admission is free.


The exhibition shows how humor was used by the print media in the First World War as an effective propaganda tool intended to mobilize the public. Frequently a highly effective tool that can easily and quickly evoke emotions, humor represents an important element in a nation’s communication with the population, often intended to divert attention (information) or redirect it (manipulation). In the Great War, it was used in all verbal (irony, sarcasm, satire, parody) and visual forms (caricature, comics), in all types of media available at that time: leaflets, posters, postcards, magazines, newspapers, etc., both in printed and handwritten editions. The artifacts displayed in the exhibition are regarded and should be viewed as historical documents, and are not intended to promote the ideas they convey, from any political, military, social, or national aspect. They served as communication tools, as examples of how the same topics were communicated in different cultures in order to achieve the similar goals. The exhibition consists of rarely seen original material of the National Library of Serbia, the University Library “Svetozar Marković,” and of the Institute for the History of Advertising, in the form of a luxury edition of two books with illustrations by Louis Remerkers, of which only 200 copies were printed in 1917 for Mihajlo Idvorski Pupin, whose signature confirms the book as a present to the University Library in 1932. The foreword was written by Theodore Roosevelt, while the manuscripts of the “trench newspapers” were written by Serbian soldiers on the Thessaloniki front. Preserved copies of satirical Serbian magazines are also featured. This material was prepared for the exhibition by Dr. Natasa Jovanović. Copies of American, British and French satirical magazines from the Great War period from the archives of the Institute for the History of Advertising. The exhibition provides an overview of how satirical magazines in Austria, Great Britain, Croatia, Italy, Canada, Russia, the United States, France and, of course, Serbia saw the war. Visitors will be able to write in the “Book of Impressions” by hand, keyboard or “selfie” on the selected anti-war postcard. With one “click”, they will be able to send it directly from the computer to the desired mailbox, printed on cardboard with a commemorative (“private”) stamp issued by the Post of Serbia on the occasion of the exhibition.

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