Beneath the surface?!

Bojana Stamenković


December 22nd – January 14th

Beneath the surface?!

What lies beneath; where do our perseverance and persistence exactly lie and how free are we to use them; are feelings of marginalization and otherness specific to each and every one of us? Are these questions tangible or are they to be found beneath the surface?

These were the key questions I dealt with in my latest artistic investigations. The results can be concentrated in two thematic wholes: the first deals with these questions through my own personal experience and the first person, where the second deals with the topic of patriarchy in secluded rural areas within the Balkan Peninsula.

The personal inquiries of the mentioned questions resulted in a visual solution titled “Swept Under the Carpet!” produced in 2016 in Vienna, which is first and foremost a participative work with an emphasized empathic component towards my colleagues Isidora Krstić, Ivana Smiljanić, Neda Nikolić and Mirjana Đotunović, who all in the moment of production live and work in Austria. The very visual solution doesn’t represent solely my own artistic expression and addressing the audience, but speaks in the name of a community and thus heightens the amplitude of the problems which we have found ourselves in. It is a type of alliance, sisterhood, which in its own way encourages us and opens new fields of inquiry across different social groups.

In the second part of my research, I move back to the memories of the nineties where I encounter film, which was very important to me during growing up – the film “Virdžina” by Srđan Karanović. By the means of a feministic ‘reading’ of the film seen through the PhD dissertation of Suzana Milevska, I begin investigating the phenomenon of gender substitution which is stimulated by and developed within a patriarchy. Here I work with the film scenes where only bare mountain scenery can be seen and I look at them as “classical” landscape representations, one of the most frequent themes in Western (mainly male) Art History. I then transfer the taken landscape motive from a classical interpretation to executing it in the medium of female handwork, in this way positioning the woman as a subject in the given scene.

The entire research is executed in the media of traditional female handwork (sewing, embroidery and weaving) which with their very materiality emphasize the field of my investigation and the gender-based character of the posed questions.

Photo: Nina Ivanović, Marija Šević