Vlasta Delimar: Mature Woman

Vlasta Delimar Looking for a Wife series 1993 / collage: b/w photo, tempera, mirror, lace / Courtesy: Ružić Gallery, Slavonski Brod

17 October 2014 - 11 January 2015
Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Ljubljana

The exhibition represents a part of Delimar's retrospective staged at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, covering 35 years of the artist's creative work.

Vlasta Delimar started her artistic work in the late 1970s when post-conceptualist scene in Croatia and former Yugoslavia was at full intensity. From the very beginning of her activity, she has been building her artistic opus quite confidently. She rejected formal education as inadequate, conservative and outdated, and broke with traditional principles of artwork development by focusing on actions, happenings and performances. By choosing her own body as the primary medium of her work, Vlasta Delimar has defined her position as distinguished, autonomous artist with no direct successors, but also no predecessors; in the 1990s, Croatian art critics attempted to define her work as opus appertaining to feminist art, first-person artwork, body expression, an ego trip ...

Vlasta Delimar has manifestly dissociated herself from affiliation with any kind of framework. She continuously and consistently refuses to construe her own work through the terms "female" or "feminist", insisting on universal art which is not divided into male and female, thereby continuously refusing to identify or affiliate herself with any ideology, for which she is ultimately reproached in accordance with the established canons of fixed art-historical and theoretical practices. She shies away from being positioned into various structures, resisting organisations, ideologies, insisting on and fighting for own individuality, thus guarding the norm-free space within which she can develop her creativity, her world, and the purity and uncompromisingness of artistic expression.

Performance is a medium that has marked the opus of Vlasta Delimar as both her authentic artistic expression and as a symbolic act that speaks about and links all her life and artistic changes. The genesis of her commitment to the medium of performance can be found in the artist's focus on herself, self-portraits, autobiographical discourse, self-reflection. In the first phase, Vlasta Delimar realizes her works in first person in the media of photography and collage technique. The phase of communication with audiences through provocation by body follows, realized by doing a series of performances with Željko Jerman, her partner in life and art, in an effort to question the relations and roles of man and woman by art.

In the works created during the eighties, which include photography, combined techniques and media, installations and single performances, Vlasta Delimar examines the status of a woman as a social and creative being, and her multiple roles as a housewife, mother, artist, lover ... by expanding the range of her own sensibility and sensuality.

A continuity of doing performances from the late seventies to the present, including intimate performances, often provocative and now well anthology (Lady Godiva, Zagreb, 2001), classifies Vlasta Delimar, along with Tomislav Gotovac / Antonio Lauer, in the class of most relevant Croatian performers whose use of artist's body is responsible for the extension of the limits of visual art and conquering the space of freedom.

Vlasta Delimar has tried and confirmed herself as the founder and host of a valuable art event that in eight years has gained a numerous audience and a lot of media attention. The project My Earth Štaglinec started in 2005 and ever since has grown into a traditional international meeting of artists on the farm in a village Štaglinec near the town of Koprivnica. Theme of the event is earth in all its aspects - from primordial to metaphysical understanding of the earth / soil / country - which is interpreted by invited artists through their actions and performances, installations, videos, photography and sound works.

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