Performing Pairs. Configurations of the Two in Yugoslav and Soviet Performance Art (1968-1990) (working title)
Performance is an art form that many women artists in Socialist Yugoslavia chose to experiment with. Along with their male colleagues they set out to investigate the subversive potential of this new means of expression. These experimentations and their documentation help us scrutinize the body of concepts and practices as well as the gendered patterns within the specific Yugoslav context of Tito’s regime which not only features real-socialist, totalitarian characteristics but also takes on a peculiar position within the Eastern bloc as the leading force of the Non-Aligned States movement (Pokret nesvrstanih). Yet, this topic remains a black spot within the fields of art history, theatre and performance studies as well as in Eastern European studies. Therefore, based on an extensive corpus of archival materials, this doctoral project examines female performance art and its developments in Yugoslavia during the socialist regime.
Artists enjoying world renown and reception such as Marina Abramović (Serbia, born 1946) or Sanja Iveković (Croatia, born 1949) are great representatives of the genre, as their performances and happenings — e.g. staging their own body facing physical or institutional violence and questioning the position of the woman/artist within society — span over the course of several decades and are already abundantly documented and commented. However, their work will not take the center stage within my analyses; I focus on less famous but equally powerful women artists, such as Katalin Ládik, Vlasta Delimar, Maja Savić or Lia Perjovschi, and their self-compiled documentation archives. These artists and their work do not form a homogeneous corpus; they do nevertheless reflect real features common to a certain era rich in institutional restriction and artistic subversion. This project aims to provide some insight into feminist attempts at artistic expression in the context of Socialist Yugoslavia.
Keywords: Performance Art – Happenings – Action Art – Performance History – Art History – Yugoslavia – Post-War Era – Eastern Bloc – Feminist Art – Women Artists
Nastasia Louveau studied Slavic and American Studies in Berlin, Moscow and Belgrade. She graduated with an M.A. degree in Slavic Literatures in 2014 from Humboldt University Berlin. In her thesis, she analyzed the documentary strategies used in graphic narratives about the wars in Yugoslavia. Since Fall 2014 she is working on a PhD on female performance art in South Eastern Europe (1950-1990) in an EU project at the University of Zurich; she takes part in the transdisciplinary doctoral program „Embodiment — Gender — Construction: Aesthetic and Social Practices“. She is also a comic and illustration artist and you can follow her visual experiments & work-in-progress on her blog: http://nastasialouveau.com.
- Performance Art
- Performativity / Theatricality
- Comics Studies
- Photography and Literature
- Visual Arts