Sanja Ivekovic. Personal Cuts, 1982. Video (black and white and color, sound), 3:40 min. Courtesy the artist. © 2011 Sanja Ivekovic

Sanja Ivekovic, Triangle, 1998, "The action takes place on the day of the President’s visit to the city, and it develops as intercommunication between three persons: 1. a person on the roof of a tall building across the street from my apartment; 2. myself, on the balcony; 3. a policeman in the street in front of the house. Due to the cement construction of the balcony, only the person on the roof can actually see me and follow the action. My assumption is that this person has binoculars and a walkie-talkie apparatus. I notice that the policeman in the street also has a walkie-talkie. The action begins when I walk out onto the balcony and sit on a chair, I sip whiskey, read a book, and make gestures as if I perform masturbation. After a period of time, the policeman rings my doorbell and orders the 'persons and objects are to be removed from the balcony.'" (source: Sanja Ivekovic, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb 1998, S. 27.)

Unofficial Art: Beyond Irony, the Big, Dirty Secret of 'Civilization'

Sanja Ivekovic, Suka.

Sanja Ivekovic, Ges.

Sanja Ivekovic, Krowa.


Museum of Modern Art
Special Exhibitions Gallery, third floor
The Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium, second floor
Sanja Ivekovic: Sweet Violence
December 18, 2011–March 26, 2012

Sanja Ivekovic: Sweet Violence is the first retrospective in the United States of the artist’s work. The exhibition covers four decades of Ivekovic’s audacious work as feminist, activist, and video and performance pioneer. Ivekovic (b. 1949, Zagreb) came of age in the post-1968 period, at a time when artists broke free from mainstream institutional settings, laying ground for a form of opposition to official art. In the 1970s Ivekovic probed the persuasive qualities of mass media and their identity-forging potential, and after 1990 — with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the disintegration of Yugoslavia, and the birth of a new nation — she focused on the transformation of reality from communist to post-communist political systems. Ivekovic’s work offers a view into the politics of power, gender roles, and the paradoxes inherent in society’s collective memory. The exhibition is organized by Roxana Marcoci, Curator, Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art.

The exhibition features the full range of the artist’s work, including single-channel videos and video installations, performances, sculptures, photomontages, and drawings. The artist’s monumental sculptural installation Lady Rosa of Luxembourg (2001) is featured in The Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium with documentation of its original public presentation and critical reception. Among other works presented are a group of single-channel videos that the Museum has recently acquired, including Sweet Violence (1974), Instructions No. 1 (1976), Make Up – Make Down (1978), Personal Cuts (1982), Practice Makes a Master (1982/2009), and General Alert (Soap Opera) (1995), as well as a selection of photomontages from Ivekovic’s celebrated series Double Life (1975-76), for which the artist juxtaposed pictures of herself from her private albums with commercial ads clipped from the pages of women’s magazines such as Elle, Grazia, Brigitte, and Svijet. Additionally, the artist’s performance piece Practice Makes a Master will be reenacted at specially announced times leading up to the opening of the exhibition.

Sanja Ivekovic: Sweet Violence is accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue that weaves together art-historical analysis and political theory and includes ten texts focused on the artist’s projects as well as two longer essays.

Sanja Ivekovic: Sweet Violence makes a major contribution to the reevaluation of significant women artists and the discursive relationship between art and social change in the post-1960s period.

The peer of Marina Abramovic, VALIE EXPORT, Joan Jonas, and Martha Rosler, Ivekovic has become known through her participation in major international exhibitions including Manifesta 2 (1998), Documenta 11 (2002), Documenta 12 (2007), and the 8th Gwangju Biennale (2010). Recent mid-career retrospectives of her work include Sanja Ivekovic: Urgent Matters (Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, and Basis voor Actuele Kunst, Utrecht, 2009), and Sanja Ivekovic: Practice Makes the Master (Muzeum Sztuki, Lodz, 2009).

Sanja Ivekovic: Sweet Violence is made possible by MoMA’s Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art through the Annenberg Foundation. Major support is provided by the Modern Women’s Fund, established by Sarah Peter, and by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Additional funding is provided by David Teiger, The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art, and the Trust for Mutual Understanding.

Sanja Ivekovic, Koby?a.

Sanja Ivekovic, Dom kobiet (Okulary), projekt w przestrzeni publicznej, Lodz, 2009.

Sanja Ivekovic, Spring 1971. In the Studio on Savska Street / Brigitte, February 1976, from the seriesDouble Life. 1976. Gelatin silver print, magazine page and typewritten text by the artist, 16 1/16 x 22 13/16" (40.8 x 57.9 cm). Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb © 2010 Sanja Ivekovic.

Sanja Ivekovic, Sweet Violence. 1974. Video (black and white, sound), 12 minutes. Courtesy the artist © 2010 Sanja Ivekovic.