Sanja Iveković

Sanja Iveković,  Practice Makes a Master, Performance, 16:38 min, 1982/2009

Sanja Iveković, born 1949 in Zagreb, is a Croatian photographer, sculptor and installation artist. Considered to be one of the leading artists from the former Yugoslavia. Since the beginning of her artistic career, Iveković has always been interested in the representation of women in society.

Among her early works are Double Life, 1975, where she pairs 66 photographs of her private life with similar shots of models in magazine advertisements, Make Up-Make Down, 1978, with filmed or photographed self-portraits, and General Alert: Soap Opera, 1995, produced for television. Figure & Ground, 2006, depicts collages of female models looking like armed terrorists covered in blood and wearing military-inspired clothing from top designers.

Iveković has also been effective in her sculptures. In 2001, she copied Luxembourg’s national symbol Gëlle Fra (Golden Lady) but making the woman look visibly pregnant. Topping an obelisk which for some time was placed in the vicinity of the original, her Rosa Luxembourg caused considerable consternation. Women’s House, an ongoing project since 1998, displays plaster casts of the faces of abused women arranged in a semicircle.

At the 2010 Gwangju Biennale, Iveković’s On the Barricades was a living memorial commemorating the Gwangju people’s uprising of 18 May 1980. Based on her Rohrbach Living Memorial, 2005, depicting the fate of the Roma victims of the holocaust, the new presentation was enacted by volunteers representing statues of the victims. They were surrounded by 10 monitors presenting slideshows of photos of the 545 victims, whose eyes were intentionally closed by the artist.