ivekovic make up - make down

Sanja Iveković: "Make up - Make Down" (1976). image copyright Sanja Iveković

Sanja Iveković (Croatia *1949)

Already in the 1970s Sanja Iveković dealt explicitly with feminist and political themes in her photographs, videos, collages, performances and public art. She explores the image of women in communist society, especially in former Yugoslavia. She uses her body and her own personal photographs to question constructions of femininity and identity in commercial advertising, magazines and film and exposes the ways in which mass-mediated imagery and normative codes of behavior influence our everyday lives. She participated in documenta XI and XII, 2002 and 2007.

Her performance "Triangle" (1979), which she documented in photographs, shows how the private space is permeated by public space, how the relationship between the gaze and power is constituted, and how the boundaries of her own (sexualized) body are redefined and regulated by the collective body. In "Triangle 2 "(2005), the re-enactment of "Triangle", Iveković re-examines the changed political and social conditions and current forms of government surveillance.

In the performance-video "Instrukcije br 1", Sanja Ivekovic draws 'instructional' lines for a facial and neck massage on her skin using ink. Instead of beautifying facial features, this massage becomes a blotchy, unattractive procedure.

"Make Up - Make Down" is a film about the intimate ritual of putting on makeup. We see the upper body of a woman continually trying out new cosmetic products. Her face remains out of view and the camera focuses on her hands.

Übung macht den Meister
Performance by Sanja Iveković HR with Sonja Pregrad HR

The artist remains on the stage for the entire duration of the performance. Wearing a black dress with a white plastic bag over her head, she continually falls down and gets up. The stage is lit by a single spotlight, which is switched on and off in a regular rhythm. The artist’s soundtrack consists of a Marilyn Monroe song from the movie "Bus Stop" together with the sound of gambling machines. During the performance, the song progressively slows down until Marilyn’s voice resembles that of a man. "Übung macht den Meister" is a re-enactment of Sanja Iveković's earlier performance of the same title, performed in Berlin 1981.


In the Exhibition:

"Triangle 1", 1979. Performance, Savska1, Zagreb.
"Triangle 2", 2005. Performance, Savska1, Zagreb.

In the Video Archive:

"Instrukcije br 1", 1976, 6:00min.
"Make Up - Make Down ", 1976, 9:00min.

In the Performance Programme:

"Übung macht den Meister", Performance with Sonja Pregrad.
Interview with Katrin Grögel (Performance Saga)