The exhibition within the 15th International Feminist and Queer Festival is the first more extensive group exhibition of socially critical works with a lesbian-feminist tinge in Slovenia, just proving the extent to which this topic is overlooked and marginalized in public. This is the first in a series of exhibitions of this topic that will be prepared in the future upon the initiative of the curators Jasna Klančišar, Teja Oblak, Tadeja Pirih, and the artists Alenka Spacal and Andreja Gomišček. The exhibition includes inspiring works of recognized as well as less known authors, produced from the very beginnings of the lesbian movement in our country until now however, with a noticeable emphasis on the recent visual production. The exhibition is not a retrospective as it includes too few works and artists to be able to represent the whole rainbow of creative approaches. In spite of that, the curatorial selection puts on display some key artworks not only sharing a common interest - the statement of support of the lesbian-feminist efforts - but that they actually live it through their authors. The exhibited works represent a flash of majorly overlooked production that will make it - presented together - more visible and un-avoidable, while at the same time uncompromisingly placing it into the context of contemporary art where it belongs.
The exhibition is comprised of political, poetic, interesting, inventive, and even humorous works. The installation Seven Women, Two Dogs, and a Pack of Rats by Ana Marija Kanc with seven women activists as the portrayed ones is, most likely, going to bring most smiles on people’s faces. A mixture of unexpected methods of depiction of public persons, and the objects surrounding them as clues of their lives, make them recognizable for the pinch of exaggeration and the irony in the portraits. Cute illustrations in a picture book The Rainbow Masquerade by Alenka Spacal will evoke completely different smiles. These will be smiles of relief for the first Slovenian authorial picture book acquainting children with the multiplicity of genders, talking about homosexual orientation, has finally been published. It enchants adults by multi-layered parables of LGBTQ* topic. At the end of the picture book we find a couple of turtles who have found each other embraced and proud of being turtles. Had they, on top of it, also kissed, they could have entered the reality that is far from fairy-tales, proven by the responses of passers-by to the performance A Lesbian Kiss, of Zvonka Simčič, where there were two lesbian couples kissing in front of the Prešeren monument. But it is mostly for the similar works and actions that lesbian kisses will be able to become something common, as these engaged artworks bear a didactic potential to confront people – in a nice way – with various existing possibilities. The responses of the passers-by and, most of all the nonsensical labelling of insults and stereotypes on male and female individuals were the topic of a successful poster action entitled When Will You Run Out of Glue?, by Petra Hrovatin and Nada Žgank, pointing to a multi-layered discrimination. These are a couple of photographs; one person in each of them, clad only into insults on adhesive tape, such as: lesbo, puff, gipsy, swine etc. The Lesbian-Feminist University (LFU), an autonomous educational, theoretic, artistic and action space for lesbians and women, interested in lesbian feminism, antifascism, and anti-capitalism in their function points to discriminations, while simultaneously creates a space for fun and learning, based on the principles of self-organization, autonomy, and active participation. A documentary video of LFU production will be shown at the exhibition. The significance of public space for lesbians is being researched by a lesbian activist group The Insurrection of Lesbos (Vstaja Lezbosov). They will exhibit a video entitled Homo-Risk of 2008. A special insight into what is usually hidden from our eyes is offered to us by a photographic series of Jasna Klančišar Hold Me Tight. The photographs follow the intimate routine of the everyday life of a lesbian couple in b/w technique, unveiling the sparks of love between them. A special poetics, imbuing the artwork is common to photographic series Silent by Mateja Lojen and My Face is Blazing by Andreja Gomišček. Both of them capture parts of the body into the camera lens, but while Mateja Lojen in the exhibited work exposes the sensual with a tinge of perishability, Andreja Gomišček portraits herself, covered with deadly-white paint and contrastingly blazing red lines. The face, back, arms, and hips sequenced in narration, emphasized in the text accompanying each photograph, hint at the consistency of her lesbian engagement. Equally consistent is Aprilija Lužar in her overall opus of creativity. This time she is presented by the Master-bation, drawings of masturbating women, on postal items. The work establishes a contrast to the uneasiness of women while enjoying in their own body, due to social prejudice. Master-bation can be read as mastering of masturbation but this is only a beginning, as mastering of the body leads to creation of the power of awareness of a woman, a lesbian. Sexuality is also the topic of Ana Grobler in her amusing computer porno game Pleasure - Treasure with a purpose to encourage identification of the users with other genders and identities through fun and enjoyment, and in an animated visual environment, wishing to stimulate the imagination of the players, showing that identities and sexualities can be much more varied and interesting than the society is trying to persuade us. In the work entitled Should You Reach Between My Legs, You Will Reach Inside Me by Maša Cvar, she uses nudity as a means of empowerment however, in a diametrically opposite way. In her photographic self-portrait, reaching from the waistline to the ankles, she sticks the book A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft, an important work of the early feminism, over her pubic area.
The Alkatraz Gallery shall transform into the central space of socialization and the info-point of the Red Dawns at the time of the festival (between the 6th – 8th March), so in a cosy atmosphere and pleasant company one will be able to thoroughly and with pleasure devote one’s complete attention to all the works at the exhibition, amongst them also to the important documentary-artistic photographic series by Nada Žgank, of 2004, of the portraits of lesbian activists, shot at the 20th anniversary of the lesbian and gay movement in Slovenia. An extensive project that will round up the visual production and place it in the context of social activities, is undoubtedly a documentary video film Relationships/ 25 years of ŠKUC-LL, by Marina Gržinič, Aina Šmid and Zvonka Simčič, talking about the 25th anniversary of the lesbian group of the ŠKUC-LL (since 1987), and about the lesbian movement in former Yugoslavia. The visitors thirsty of additional knowledge will be able to sit down and relax, sipping tea, and take into their hands the book LL25, Lesbian Section LL: Chronology 1987-2012 with the Prehistory, by the editors Tatjana Greif and Nataša Velikonja, published in 2012 by ŠKUC publishing house, in the Vizibilija collection.
Aprilija Lužar, Master-abtion, DNA 13 Dimension, drawings on postal items, 1987
With her Master-bation
Aprilija Lužar tackles the uneasiness of women due to social prejudice, present while enjoying in their own body. Her work entitled Master-bation began in 1987 in the form of sketches on the envelopes of international activist correspondence, with the purpose of political evaluation of the pleasure of existence, and it has transgressed to the upgrade including sketches, performance, and video. Already while studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo, and later at the post-graduate studies with Prof. Janez Bernik at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana, she started to depict masturbating women on the post she had received from Yugoslavia or abroad. Master-bation
can be read as mastering of masturbation, but this is not all there is to it, as “mastering of one’s own body leads to creation of the power of awareness of a woman, a lesbian”, adds the author.
graduated (1987) and obtained her M.F.A (1991) at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana. She is an artist activist, with her works reaching in the domain of political activism as she publicly acknowledged in her several series of paintings, at her exhibitions and performances since 1987. Her multimedia project Ženski taxi (Women’s Taxi)
, TAXI ART
, won the international V-Day Stop Rape Contest
in New York (2002). TAXI ART
is oriented to a very strictly specified goal: using different approaches including actions, exhibitions, interviews, documenting, performances, video, media presentations and international cultural co-operation, it aims to inform the public and make it more sensible to the problem of violence against women and the LGBTQ* population.http://aprilija.jimdo.com/
Zvonka Simčič, Lesbian Kiss, performance video, video recording of performance, 2000
The performance entitled Lesbian Kiss
took part in 2000, in front of the Prešeren Monument in Ljubljana. Two lesbian couples were kissing and caressing each other in public. The recorded performance and the reactions of the passersby were transmitted in the Kapelica Gallery as well as the Ljubljana Cable Television. The author’s intention was to point to the reasons for the invisibility of lesbian couples in public, and stress that their wish is equally legitimate. The video of the same title, compiled from the recorded material has been presented at various festivals abroad, including the Red Dawns festival in Menza pri koritu (2001).
finished the study of painting (1994) and completed her postgraduate study (1996) at the Academy of Fine Arts at the University of Ljubljana. She has been exhibiting regularly and extensively since 1988, operating through installations, video, performance and photography, as well as computer animation. All her works show a distinguished and strong social foundation, stemming primarily from her own life experience. She is a founder of the CCC Institute, established in 2001, mainly focusing on the junctions of multimedia art as well as its adequate social environment.
Marina Gržinič, Aina Šmid, Zvonka Simčič, RELATIONS/ 25 Years of the Lesbian Group ŠKUC-LL, video film, 2012
This documentary video film is about the 25th anniversary of the lesbian group ŠKUC-LL (1987-2012) and about the lesbian movement in former Yugoslavia. It is a project that visualizes, and defines the context for the movement and of the LGBTQ* community within and with relation to politics, economics, culture, arts and legal institutional structures; this contextualization works on two layers: firstly fom the decaying socialism to neoliberal capitalism, and then in the time of the 1990s it depicts the transition to the present, bloody neoliberal global capitalism. The video film includes analysis of the movement in the EU after 2004, when Slovenia became a member of EU, and includes discussions and analysis of the “climate” that followed the discussions and rejection of a new family code in Slovenia in 2012. The family code was rejected by a referendum in March 2012, when the majority declined basic human rights to same sex unions and their children. In the film, a special place is given to the Pride Parades on the territory of former Yugoslavia. The video film presents a variety of processes of marginalization and the struggle for the rights of the lesbian and LGBTQ* community in Slovenia and wider in former Yugoslavia. It is a struggle for visibility, as well as a testimony of the incredible power of the lesbian movement, its artistic and cultural potential, critical discourses and emancipatory politics. The film consists of interviews, documents, art projects, nightlife, political appearances, and critical discourse.
is a Doctor of Philosophy and works as researcher at the Institute of Philosophy at the ZRC SAZU (Scientific and Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Science and Art) in Ljubljana. She also works as a freelance media theorist, art critic and curator. She is Professor at The Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Marina Gržinić has published numerous articles and essays and several books.
is Professor of Art History and was working as the editor of a design magazine Ambient in Ljubljana. At the present she is A freelance writer.
Being involved in video since 1982, Marina Gržinić and Aina Šmid have collaborated in more than 40 video art projects, they have made a short feature 16 mm film and numerous video and media installations, and received more then ten international awards for their work. Independently they have directed several video documentaries and television productions.
From 2010 Gržinić and Šmid collaborated with Zvonka Simčič.
Alenka Spacal, The Rainbow Masquerade, illustrations, water-colour, white tempera, ink, 29 x 21 cm, 2013, ŠKUC, Lambda series
Illustrations were created for the authorial picture book The Rainbow Masquerade, published in 2013 by the ŠKUC publishing house, in the Lambda collection. A contemporary fairy tale alongside with its playful metaphor of clothes changing unfolds the topic of multiplicity of genders and homosexual orientation. The specific LGBTQ* symbolism, at the textual level remaining metaphorically multi-layered throughout the text, becomes even more noticeable in the visual language of illustration, where particular lesbian and feminist markers are depicted much more explicitly. The Rainbow Masquerade
is therefore a joint aesthetic message of the textual and visual part of the book, which represents one of the characteristics of authorial picture books, enabling the highest possible concord of both means of expression.
works as an artist and theoretician. She obtained a BA and an MA in Philosophy and a PhD in Sociology from the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. She writes about gender issues in expert articles for adults and in fairy-tales for children. She exhibited her Self-portraits
(2003-2005), that she painted in oil on kitchen towels at several solo and group exhibitions at home and abroad. The Rainbow Masquerade
(ŠKUC, Zbirka Lambda, 2013) is her first authorial picture book. The illustrations from the mentioned picture book were exhibited at the Biennials of Illustration in Ljubljana (the 10th Slovenian Biennial of Illustration at the Cankarjev dom Gallery in 2012) and in Belgrade (47th Golden Quill of Belgrade, the 12th International Biennial of Illustration (at "Cvijeta Zuzorić" Art Pavillion, 2013). The author tells The Rainbow Masquerade story at events for children.
Lesbian Feminist University (LFU), The Lesbian Feminist University in Action, video, 2013
The video shows some of the street actions of the Lesbian Feminist University (the LFU) carried out in the years 2011–2013. It is not a presentation of the collective but rather a collage of their actions, protests and imprints on public space. The first in the series is a late-night action triggered by an advertising campaign by one of the Slovenian insurance companies, supposedly aimed at spreading awareness of traffic safety that resorted to the objectification of young women’s bodies, using them as an excuse for their own promotional purposes. This part also features photo inserts from the 8th of March street actions, where we see the collective engraving their lesbian and feminist criticism into the very tissue of the city. The second part focuses on the N17 demonstrations, at which the LFU joined the Autonomous Bloc to help broaden the perspective of the narrow official trade union demonstrations in Ljubljana with an anti-capitalist agenda. The video concludes with the Free Pussy Riot protest outside the Russian Embassy, for which the LFU teamed up with the Feminist and Queer Festival Red Dawns and the City of Women Festival. The three initiatives joined the international outcry in support of the Russian feminist collective Pussy Riot, demanding the release of their members imprisoned for criticising the marriage between Putin’s police state and the Russian Orthodox Church. The video shows the LFU’s gradual shift from night to day, its criticism of patriarchy and capitalism growing louder and louder.
Lesbian Feminist University (LFU)
is an initiative set up in March 2010 as an autonomous space of educational, theoretic and artistic practices and actions for lesbians and women interested in lesbian feminism, antifascism and anti-capitalism. The name “University” is meant to be ironic, as the study methods are based on the principles of self-organization, autonomy, active participation and democratic decision-making of all the participants.
Maša Cvar, Should You Reach Between My Legs , You Will Reach Inside Me, photographs, 2012
In the work, the body is presented as a medium between our self and the world as well as the question of symbiosis that a human being has to establish with the world she/he lives in. Here the self-portrait becomes a kind of a reflection. It is a proof of self-sufficiency and independency. Through the lens the author looks into her own eyes, looking for her own self. The self-portrait is becoming a proof that we do not need the Other. The Other (after Simone de Beauvoir) that we build our world on. We do not need it, because we – women - ourselves are the subject. Despite the fact that the world, overlaced with the image of a woman as an object, for pleasure and in possession of a man, exploited for the purpose of advertising, is trying to convince us contrary. The author wishes to - with a help of self-portrait - refer to the independence of women, the uniqueness, a prioriness of the female existence as fundamental for our society and for each individual. She expresses this by sticking Mary Wollstonecraft’s book A Vindication of the Rights of Women, of 1792, one of the most important works of the Anglo-American feminism, over the pubic area of a nude self-portrait, reaching from the ankles to the waistline. In it, besides the early feminist ideas about equal education of men and women, rejection of male intellectual superiority as well as legally and economically inadequate position of women, Mary Wollstonecraft demands freedom.
is finishing her study of Philosophy and Sociology of Culture at the Faculty of Arts. With her artworks she often points to the problematics of inequality between genders. In her artistic practice she likes to engage in photography and uses recycled materials. In 2007 she took part in a film First Memories as a photographer. In 2009 she presented herself in the Cafe Open at the 2nd OpenartWall with a series of b/w photographs of woman's body. A year later she contributed the cover photo for the book Female Vampires and Violets
, of Andrea Weiss. In 2012, at the open call entitled For Diversity, Against Discrimination
she won the award for a photograph. She has participated also at the Lesbian Quarter festival, where she exhibited an installation exploring the notion of space through the medium of the body and its primary senses within the Nomad Women
Petra Hrovatin in Nada Žgank, When Will You Run Out of Glue?, poster, 2009
The work was created upon the idea of Petra Hrovatin, and the photographs were taken by Nada Žgank. The photograph quite explicitly poses the question of how much longer we are going to label comments and insults on the passers-by, neighbours, acquaintances, or even strangers and entire peoples? A direct photograph, witty and so simple that we cannot run away from it, pricks the eyes, confronting us with our own selves. Some years ago the photograph was part of a very successful poster action organized by the Peace Institute within the project PROTECT – Progressing towards equality – An Intersectional approach to discrimination (Progress programme).
is an activist of the Uprising of Lesboseans, VJane Periklea, who is, besides graphic design also engaged in directing and shooting of short documentary films, she writes poetry, produces light installations, performs street actions, and collaborates with contemporary art festivals.
Photographer Nada Žgank
has been covering contemporary dance and other performative arts for fifteen years. She approaches her work in a different way; by documenting the cultural context in which the dance takes place, and by selecting photographic perspective for capturing creative processes, performances and performing bodies. Her photography reaches into the field of contemporary music and jazz, identity cultural practices, as well as social and political activism. She has participated in solo and group exhibitions: Moments from the Life of Roma People in Slovenia (Utrinki iz življenja Romov v Sloveniji), Slovenian Etnographic Museum, 1998; Photo Flirting/Observing of Women's Cities (Foto (sp)ogledovanje ženskih mest), Cankarjev dom, 2002; 2XSOLO, jazz photography, Mala galerija, Cankarjev dom, 2006; The Images of Perishing (Podobe minevanja), Galerija Photon, 2007, As If Nobody Is Watching (Kot da nihče ne gleda), Kino Šiška, Gibanica, 2011, Transformations of Bodies (Preobrazbe teles), Španski borci, 2011, Nadaland (Nadalandija), 17. International Festival of Contemporary Arts – The City of Women, Slovenska kinoteka, 2011... .
Nada Žgank, Portraits of Activist Women, photographs, 2004
The series of portraits was made at the 20th anniversary of the lesbian and gay movement in Slovenia. Nada Žgank portrayed the activists striving for LGBTQ* rights. She portrayed the activists in urban environment, and placed them in the context of society; from the photographs the activists determinedly look at the viewer. The portraits are done in a technique of distinctly saturated colours, transferring their flamboyancy and exposure onto the portrayed person.
Vstaja Lezbosov (The Insurrection of Lesbos), Homo-Risk, video, 2008
A documentary video recording the activist events of the group. Besides the action itself it also captures the opinions of passers-by in the street.
(The Insurrection of Lesbos) is an activist group founded in Ljubljana in 2007. The group questions the purpose and the significance of public space, and looks for the answer to the question, where in it we can find a space for lesbians. An activist group The Insurrection of Lesbos includes several members, appearing in various projects: Petra Hrovatin, Mojca Koželj, Vesna Vravnik, Simona Jerala and Irena Kovačević who edited the film. With their actions they wish to encourage other lesbians to become audible and clear in the situations of exclusion, insults, and derision in public spaces. Public space is intended for everyone, it belongs to everyone, and by no means only to heterosexual population. Personal security, dignity, freedom of movement and expression are the rights of every individual.
Ana Marija Kanc, Seven Women, Two Dogs and a Pack of Rats, installation, 2011
The installation consists of portraits of seven artists and activists, who have inspired the author. They are portrayed as wooden puppets. Like string puppets in a show, the artist’s puppets tell us a story, each of them set in its own little theatre, with props and lighting, making us either laugh or sit down in reflection. The puppets have not been made for a theatre show however; an amusing and interesting play could be performed with them.
Ana Marija Kanc
attended the Secondary School for Design and Photography, Ljubljana; Photography Department. The professors gave her a nickname »3D«, as her school projects always included at least the cover that was sticking out, glittering, or twinkling. Soon she got interested in the wood, because she had missed the dimension of tactility in photography. In 2003 she had a solo exhibition My Pride in Monokel club at Metelkova, and in 2006 she made a scheme and made the interior design of the One’s Own Room (Lastna soba) in LL-Monokel and Ženska mreža.
Andreja Gomišček, My Face is Blazing, photographs, 2012
Andreja Gomišček in her photographic series portrays herself, covered by a deadly-white paint and contrasting blazing red lines. The face, back, arms and hips are sequenced in narration emphasized by the text accompanying each photograph. “My Face Is Blazing”, says the text in the photo of her face, “through red line on my back” the blazing takes over her body. “Calculations” in the photograph of half-open arms she never does (“I never do”),” what writes out in the photo of the hip with the forearm. The work that attracts one’s attention like a magnet with its sincere content and images hints at the uncompromisingness of the author’s lesbian engagement, while at the same time provoking the feelings that cannot be broken down simply and could become a topic of numerous future reflections.
has graduated from Sociology of Culture and Croatian, Serbian, and Macedonian language at the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana. She has exhibited solo, and also taken part at group exhibitions, has participated at Red Dawns
festival (2005, 2008, 2009), The City of Women (2006), and Femfest (2007). She lives and works in Ljubljana. In her works she problematizes social issues through the prism of lesbian and gay happenings. In this way she places a concrete segment of an existing space into her abstractions.
Jasna Klančišar, Squeze Me Tight, photographs, 2001
Squezee Me Tight
is a story of an intimate space, limitlessly being filled with emotions, looks, touches, and thoughts. It’s a space that is constantly changing; there’s a moment when we want to share it, and the next moment we claim it only for ourselves. It can be like an embrace; weak, and leaving us cold, or warm and strong, spasmotic or suffocating. A series of photographs follows love, but not merely as an erotic relation; it outlines it primarily as care and closeness of two hearts.
has graduated and attained her M.F.A. from FAMU - Filmova a Televizni Fakulta Akademie Muzickych Umeni in Prague, Photography Department. Since 1991 she has exhibited her works at solo as well as group exhibitions at home and abroad. Besides her authorial production, she has, since 1990, collaborated with ngos, and strives for the rights of the LGBTQ* population. She started as a photographer at the Pink Disco Club, also documented other activities of the organization and took part at the creation of Revolver, Pandora, Lezbozin, and the visual image of the Living Literature (Žive književnosti)
. She has created an exhibition space at Open bar, where she also organized the exhibitions. She curated three group exhibitions at Lesbian Quarter, in 2012 and 2013, and was a co-organizer of the Days of Diversity project. At A.V.A Academy of Visual Arts, and the Higher Vocational School in Sežana, Photography Department, she lectures photography.
Mateja Lojen, Photograph form Silent series, photographs, 2010
A photograph is part of the photographic series of a woman’s body, that came about through the passion of the touch and craving for freedom. It presents a woman through her various feelings, from playfulness, enjoyment through the beauty of lines, all the way to almost absurd images in the role of a puzzle of life in a cycle of more-or-less identical images. Expressively faded yellowish colours of the paper, and the body coated with organic patterns takes us into the intoxicating world of eroticism straight away, but leave us with the feeling of perishability.
has finished grammar school, but was more interested in art than social science, and had more passion the history of women than general history. While still at grammar school she took on dancing and got engaged in the theatre. Together with a group of youngsters she founded a youth club in Domžale, where she leads workshops. She is interested in gesture and theatre. In 2010 she directed her attention to also to photography, when the photographic series Silent was created. Regardless of the medium, she stays loyal to the topics speaking of a woman who loves women.
Ana Grobler, Pleasure-Treasure, computer game, 2013 -
The aim of the Pleasure-Treasure
game is – via entertainment, carefully introduce animated details and, sexually explicit elements – to encourage identification with other sexes and identities than their own in game users. It’s objective is also to trigger the imagination of the player in the animated visual environment and to show that identities and sexualities can be much more varied and interesting than the society is trying to convince us. The identity and the experience of sex and gender can be of much more fluid nature, and the understanding of sex or gender as static and binary is just a construct that is not necessarily sufficient, and far from being just. Besides sex and gender, pleasure is also a socially-constructed category. However, the transformation of a construct is possible only by a positive presentation of explicit representations of sexuality in all its diversity that could, by their frequent repetition, become a means of loosening of patriarchallly defined limits of sexuality and the liberation from the hetero-normative understanding of sexual identities. The game Pleasure-Treasure represents a statement of rebellion against the actual allocation of power and rights in patriarchal society at all levels.
has finished the study of painting (2008) and postgraduate study of video (2013) at the Accademy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana. In the academic year 2009/10 she got a scholarship from the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia. Ana Grobler exhibits her art works in Slovenia and abroad and has received some nominations and awards for her work. In 2009 she curated the first exhibition of Slovenian feminist art in the frame of the festival Red Dawns
in the SCCA’s Project Room at Metelkova 6 in Ljubljana. She has been part of the programme team of International Feminist and Queer Festival Red Dawns
in Ljubljana since 2009.
Photos from the openinmg: Sunčan Stone