Despite having become marginalized on the map of contemporary art since the wars of the 1990s, the regions of former Yugoslavia continue to be a hub of creative activity. Especially noteworthy is the strong presence of women artists, scholars, and activists whose deeply personal, yet highly political artwork is rooted in a long legacy of female artistic agency. Building on existing scholarship as well as original research, this book highlights how female figures – through art and exhibition making, writing, mentorship, and activism – have shaped the alternative art scene in former Yugoslavia and placed the region firmly on the map of the international post-avantgarde.
Using the founding of the Student Cultural Center Belgrade in 1971 as a starting point, the book details the pioneering work of women in the realm of curation, where they developed radical exhibition concepts and programs that furthered the development of the New Art Practice and embedded Yugoslavia firmly on the map of the international postwar-avantgardes. It highlights the agency of female artists in the then-novel realms of performance art, video art, and new media art and shows how their work has helped these disciplines to gain the impact they retain until the present day. What is more, it shows how female cultural workers have courageously used their work to further the discourse on gender, sexuality, and the female body and, at a time when they saw themselves stripped of basic rights by the chauvinist-nationalist regimes emerging after Yugoslavia’s breakup, formed a strong artistic and activist opposition.
Highlighting the role of women in the diversification of the ex-Yugoslavia states and its highly unique cultural and political landscape, this book addresses the noticeable gap in art historical scholarship that exists not only around Yugoslavia and its successor states, but especially on its female representatives.
In this event, organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade and sponsored by the Austrian Cultural Forum and the Italian Cultural Institute Belgrade, artist Marta Jovanovic and I discuss the work of internationally renowned Austrian artist Valie EXPORT, and the importance of the archive for the discipline of performance art. We are looking at selected examples of early performances executed by EXPORT during the 1960s and 1970s, and discuss her feminist agenda against the backdrop of the conservative cultural climate of postwar Austria. In addition, we examine how the time-and site-specific experience of performance art is translated into physical material with sustainability. We are investigating the relation of physical remains to ephemeral artistic practice, their meaning for the inscription into art history, and ways of use for artists, scholars, and curators.
One of the most important artists of our times celebrates his 75th birthday on August 4th, 2020. My first encounter with Paul’s art at the Haus der Kunst Munich in 2005 truly changed my outlook on and understanding of contemporary art. Ever since I – back then a student of the very traditional field that art history comprises at most universities – was left shocked, disgusted, appalled and therefore truly intrigued by encountering his Pirate Project I have understood that art – to me – HAS to be a challenge, for the researcher, the viewer, and the creator instead of merely being an object of passive contemplation. I remain committed to working with and on art that has wrongly been pushed to the margins of the unfortunately very narrow and very Western canon of art history. Listen to my interview with Radio Bremen (ARD) here (in German):
Performance art is a discipline which is highly complex both with regards to media used and topics addressed and remains one of the most important art forms of the present. Yet it still greatly suffers from the dominance of object-based art market economies, the stubborn persistence of traditional value systems, and underrepresentation in art historical scholarship and public display. Most glaringly, however, there is still a lack of comprehensive education and training possibilities for performance artists and scholars alike, as well as only rare opportunities for disciplinary and interdisciplinary exchange.
This is why I, together with the European Cultural Centers and a team of specialists, launched ECC Performance Art, a teaching and research institute for performance artists and theorists. Whether you are just starting off as an emerging artist or scholar, seek to deepen aspects of your work, or look for new inspirations, we offer a variety of online and in-situ classes and workshops to help you do so. Do you want to share your work, develop it in dialogue with like-minded people, and become part of a global performance art community? Then our “Research and Practice” platform might be a good option.
We believe that, by bringing performance artists, scholars,
curators and those just plainly interested in the medium, together and offering
them a variety of tools, insights, and stimuli, the discipline can
significantly be strengthened, innovative approaches fostered, and a community
of performance art professionals for the future be built.
Please visit our website for more info, a selection of classes on themes such as Feminisms and Performance Art, Performance Art Documentation, or New Technologies for Performance Art: https://ecc-performanceart.eu/
From April 10th-May 2nd, I will be teaching a class on Feminist Art and Exhibitions for the Node Center for Curatorial Studies, Berlin. This course, which is taught online, will look at how feminist thinking has influenced the arts since the 1960s, both in Western as well as selected non-Western contexts. It will present the foundational feminist theories that furthered the radicalization of female artists and trace their manifestation in the visual arts. Due to its strong political content and often taboo-breaking visuality, feminist art continues to present its own set of challenges to curators and museum professionals. The course will introduce students to the most important exhibitions of feminist art and discuss their strategies, premises, and criticism. In addition, the course will present curatorial practices and exhibition formats that follow feminist premises. https://nodecenter.net/course/feminist-art
If you missed this class, stay tuned for the next iteration in fall 2019.
As part of the international symposium „Body of Work: Contemporary Artists‘ Estates and Conservation,“ organized by Contemporary Conversation Ltd. (Christian Scheidemann), Carolee Schneemann and I discussed her work and criticism, her archival practice and legacy, and the complicated legalities the artist encountered while setting up her own foundation