Sanja Iveković

Instructions No. 2Chanoyu

Sanja Iveković (b. 1949 in Zagreb, living in Zagreb) belongs to those artists, who during the Croatian Spring in the early 1970s were able to liberate themselves from the dominant constraints of academic art and who rejected the mainstream institutions. She was the first female artist in former Yugoslavia, who publicly professed feminism and understood this as a gesture of disobedience against the communist regime, which regarded feminism as an import from the West. In her explicitly political and feminist early work Sanja Iveković examines gender patterns and gender roles that critically illustrate conventional notions of beauty and their dissemination through the mass media and that address the considerable pressure of these norms on the female self-image. Her later work also deals with explicit historical topics such as the Yugoslav resistance movement against Hitler in World War II or the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s. Instructions No. 2 is a remake of her famous work Instructions No. 1 (1976), in which Iveković is looking directly at the camera while painting black arrows on her forehead, cheeks, chin and around the mouth. The signs are reminiscent of instructions for applying skin care products and facial massages or of measures of plastic surgery. The concentrated process of marking takes place over almost the entire duration of the work. Towards the end Iveković rubs the markings into her skin with her hands until they are partially absorbed and partially leave faint traces on her skin. While the action from the 1970s is exactly repeated by the artist in the new video, the differences to Instructions No. 1 are showing both in Iveković's face and in the employed new digital recording technology. Both went through a process of transformation of almost 40 years. Iveković juxtaposes the aging process of the human being with the process of modernization of technology. Instructions No. 2 was created for the video art exhibition Feminismen at Nordstern video art center in Gelsenkirchen compiled from collections held by the n.b.k. Video-Forum.