Female Agency in the Arts of former Yugoslavia

This project examines the influence of female agency in the arts of former Yugoslavia and its successor states with a particular focus on the city of Belgrade as the region’s former center for artistic production. Using the founding of one of the most influential alternative art institutes, the Student Cultural Center in Belgrade, in 1971 as a starting point, the project highlights female artists, curators, scholars, and theoreticians and their influence on the national and international art scene. It examines the emergence of feminist theory in the 70s and its confluence with the arts before tracing the development of women’s art and initiatives through the politically charged years of the 1980s and especially 90s. Subsequently, it will chart positions, politics, and problems in the 2000s as Belgrade struggles with a changed political landscape in the wake of the wars and seeks to re-establish itself in the contemporary art discourse. The project identifies key female voices of the scene then and now and analyzes them as agents of the respective artistic fabric.

Book manuscript accepted by Bloomsbury – I.B. Tauris (expected 2023)

Outcomes to date:

“A Leap Across Borders: Alternative Exhibition Concepts at Belgrade’s Student Cultural Center during the 1970s”, in: Exhibitions as Sites of Artistic Contact during the Cold War, Katalin Cseh-Varga; Cristian Nae (eds.), London/New York: Routledge (2023)

“Belgrade Heartbeat. Marta Jovanovic’s Performance Ljubav”, in: PAJ – Performance Art Journal, MIT Press Journals, no. 115 (Volume XXXIX, no. 1), 2017.

“Female Agency in the Arts of Former Yugoslavia,” Seventh Feminist Art History Conference, American University Washington (online)

„Moving Beyond the West: The Many Facets of Feminist Art,” roundtable Gender, Race, and Politics in a Global World, International Aesthetics Conference, Belgrade University 2019.

“Keep Moving – Female Performance Art in Belgrade since the 1970s,” Female Agency in the Arts, Christie’s Education, New York, June 26-27, 2018.

Marta Jovanović: Motherhood (installation), Eugster Gallery Belgrade, 2017.

Marta Jovanović, Ljubav, Performance at the Swiss Embassy, Belgrade 2016.

Marta Jovanović, MotherhoodPerformance, galerie O3one, Belgrade 2016.