Skip to navigation Skip to main content
Sanja Iveković

Waiting for the revolution

As a central figure in the Croatian art scene, Sanja Iveković has been developing since the early 1970s a committed, engagé oeuvre, informed by concerns to do with the issues of gender, identity and memory. She belongs to a generation of artists known by the name of “Nova Umjetnička Praksa” (New Art Practice), which, in post-1968 Yugoslavia, freed itself from the state power and strove to decompartmentalize the art arena, opening it up to new disciplines and questions grappling directly with society.

Echoing her own “minority” position as a woman artist in a society which she describes as patriarchal, her early photomontages and videos, which include Tragedy of a Venus (1975), Bitter Life (1975-1976) and Make Up-Make Downn (1978), are interested in the representations of woman conveyed by the media, and by the mechanisms which construct identity, between private life and public sphere.

In her more recent works, marked in particular by the changes occurring since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the dismantling of Yugoslavia during the 1990s, Iveković extends these concerns to questions dealing with the construction of collective memory and the writing of history. Several projects presented in the exhibition thus have to do with hidden areas of history and society, such as the anti-fascist resistance in Yugoslavia (Gen XX, 1997-2001), the extermination of the Romani and Sinti populations by the Nazi regime (Rohrbach Living Memorial, 2005) and the massacre of demonstrators during the popular uprisings of May 1980 in Gwangju (On the Barricades, 2010). Since 2000, Iveković has also been producing projects in the public space, in which the notion of commemoration makes way for that of “living memory”, thus calling the very idea of monuments into question.

Sanja Iveković Practice Makes a Master, 1982/2009
© Collection of the artist Photo : B. Blasin

The exhibition Waiting for the Revolution held a decade after the presentation in the public space of Luxembourg of the project Lady Rosa of Luxembourg, which triggered an unprecedented controversy in the country, brings together a broad selection of works produced between 1975 and today. It is organized around two directions: a first group of works highlights the place occupied by the issues of the monument and collective memory in Iveković’s practice, while a second group, combining in particular her first series of photomontages with recent works using similar montage procedures, is concerned with the question of gender and the mechanisms of representation. Iveković has also devised a new project for the public space, Freiheit ist... (2012), which echoes the stances that Lady Rosa of Luxembourg had given rise to in 2001. The whole sheds light on the way in which Iveković’s oeuvre, throughout her career, has been constructed in response to "states of emergency": “I do not hand over answers but ask questions instead”, she says.

Sanja Iveković was born in 1949 in Zagreb, where she lives and works.

The exhibition is accompanied by the book Lady Rosa of Luxembourg, published by Mudam and Casino Luxembourg. French/German/English


  • Christophe Gallois
    Enrico Lunghi