Sanja Iveković

1949 | Zagreb, Croatia

Croatian visual artist.

Sanja Iveković is an important figure, whose work is instrumental in our understanding of the reconfiguration of roles and gender in today’s art. She was one of the first artists on the Yugoslavian (now Croatian) scene to adopt a feminist standpoint in her work. Since 1989, she has used this perspective to tackle subjects such as the fall of the communist regime and the consequences of the triumph of capitalism and market economy, as well as their influence on living conditions, particularly those of women and the violence women have endured subsequently. S. Iveković studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb from 1968 to 1971. She is part of a generation of artists that emerged after 1968 in Eastern European, working in fields as varied as video, film, installation, performance, interventions, photography (private and official), and collage – her series Double Life (1975) and Bitter Life (1975-1976) juxtapose publicity images and personal photographs. Her eminently critical work focuses on imagery and body politics. In her seminal performance Triangle (1979), she simulated masturbation on her balcony during Tito’s official visit to Zagreb until a policeman rang her doorbell. This initiative paved a transgressive path for many creators in the face of the ideological apparatus, as they were able to regain possession of the public space using the premise “the personal is political”.

S. Iveković has also analysed gender stereotypes perpetuated on television (General Alert: Soap Opera, 1995) and in magazines (Paper Women, 1976-1977). Since the 1980s, she has turned her attention to the challenges faced by democracy and politics by highlighting the construction mechanisms of collective memory and amnesia (Personal Cuts, 1982). The projects she worked on in and around the 2000s (Gen XX, 1997-2001; The Nada Dimić File, 2000-2002) were devoted to women in the Croatian resistance during the war against Nazism, whose names are now mostly forgotten. Her work has been the subject of several retrospectives. It was also featured at the 10th and 11th Istanbul Biennales (2007 and 2009); documenta 11 (2002), 12 (2007), and 13 (2012) in Kassel; and Manifesta 2 (1998) in Luxembourg.

Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez

From the Dictionnaire universel des créatrices
© 2013 Des femmes – Antoinette Fouque
© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
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