The first UK exhibition by Croatian artist Sanja Iveković presents work across a range of media to address the themes of gender, consumerism and politics. Whilst well-known in art circles – having shown at exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale and Documenta – Iveković is yet to make her presence really felt here in Blighty with a solo show, so, it’s perhaps timely that following on from a major retrospective at MoMA New York, a survey of her work is now taking place on these shores.
The work of Iveković – who came of age in Yugoslavia and lives and works in Croatia – has been produced against a backdrop of political unrest. In Triangle (1979), she employs both performance and photography to document her political activism as she performs a deliberate provocative act. Elsewhere, reappropriated glossy magazine ads confront current injustices against women or pay homage to forgotten political heroines. Media representations of femininity are also explored, exposing the clichéd notions of beauty in both video Make Up, Make Down (1978) and collage Double Life (1975-76).
Unlike many of her contemporaries, Iveković never left for the West during Yugoslavia’s political upheavals yet her work is relevant to a wider international audience – so here’s an opportunity to get to know her better. (Words: Eri Otite)
Sanja Iveković: Unknown Heroine is showing at the South London Gallery and Calvert 22 until February 24, 2013. For more info, visit www.southlondongallery.org or www.calvert22.org