press release

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, Croatia is preparing the first retrospective exhibition of Vlasta Delimar, the most significant Croatian multimedia and performance artist. The exhibition titled Vlasta Delimar: This Is I will cover 35 years (1979–2014) of creative work of the artist, who has built an extremely valuable artistic career and earned international acclaim.

Vlasta Delimar started her artistic work in the late 1970s, when the 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 She rejected formal education as inadequate, conservative and outdated, and broke with traditional principles of artwork development by focusing on actions, happenings and performances.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.

The continuity of presenting performances from the late 1970s to the present, including intimate performances, often provocative and now anthological (Lady Godiva, Zagreb, 2001), classifies Vlasta Delimar—along with Tomislav Gotovac/Antonio Lauer—among the most relevant Croatian performers who use the (artistic) body to extend limits of visual art and conquer the space of freedom.

In her works, Vlasta Delimar examined the status of a woman as social and creative being, and her multiple roles as housewife, mother, artist, lover… thus expanding the range of her own sensibility and sensuality.

Alongside her first performances—presented together with Željko Jerman—in which she examined the relationship between male and female, Vlasta Delimar also performed a series of actions which took place outside of the gallery space and were aimed at immediate, direct contact with the audience.

As part of the exhibition, the artist will present two performances: Invitation to Socialise and My Temporary Home.

The performance Invitation to Socialise is one of the works which the artist named “communications” in the 1980s (Tactile Communication, Visual Communication, Auto-Communication, etc.). At the beginning of her artistic activity, the artist gave special attention to contact with the visitors, and to listening to the emotions of the audience and individuals.

Today, Invitation to Socialise serves as continuation of this practice; the artist examines the extent to which the building process of her own art has advanced in thirty years of her work. The performance is going to be presented on a mobile stage, set up on a different location each day. Accompanied by her guests, the artist will talk about art and the development of the artist-audience relationship over the last thirty years.

The performance My Temporary Home is going to take place in the Museum’s exhibition space which will become a temporary home of the artist, a living and working space during the exhibition.

By constructing a temporary home within the Museum, the artist will start a process of building personal space exposed to view of the audience, and visitors will be able to actively participate and explore. The artist’s temporary home will be a work in progress of its own kind, an ambience piece in the totality of space, serving as expression of Vlasta Delimar’s new existence.

Curator: Martina Munivrana