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Nataša Skušek: video installation “A Real Man” and artist talk

07 March 2013 > 08 March 2013 14th International and Queer Festival Red Dawns, Alkatraz Gallery and Center for Contemporary Art SCCA-Ljubljana are kindly inviting you to the presentation of the video installation A Real Man and an artist talk with Natša Skušek. Join us on Thursday, 7th March at 8 pm in Project Room at SCCA-Ljubljana, Metelkova 6.

Project  is a part of the 14th International Feminist and Queer festival Red Dawns.

You are kindly invited also to the rest of the programme of the Red Dawns festival (from 5th until 10th March)

Nataša Skušek is a visual artist, using and combining different media in her work. The prevailing theme of her work is an unequal position of women in contemporary society. She frequently problematizes gender stereotypes and roles prescribed to women by the society. The main areas forming her work are pregnancy, motherhood, home/housewife work, intimate relationships, food ingestion, and free time.

In her lecture, she is going to focus on artistic works (videos, photography) touching upon feminist topics. We also cannot bypass her exhibition, entitled ‘Mamica, dojilja, žena, negovalka’ (‘Mother, breastfeeder, wife, carer’) (Center in Galerija P74, 2006), in which she thematizes women’s incapability of fulfilling numerous social roles ascribed to them. In the context of this exhibition, she screened the video ‘Fliperautomat’, which is a humorous way of the representation of four activities considered to be taken on by women in a taken-for-granted way. In this video, a woman is a ball in the pinball machine, jumping between the roles of a mother, wife, breastfeeder and carer. Her artistic work is strongly related to her own life – in it, she also warns against the disappearance of the female artist.

In her work ‘Ekstaza’ (‘Extasis’), she exposes the myth of a wonderful motherhood and emphasizes the mother’s self-effacement. Whereas in the popular media breastfeeding is represented as a gentle act, her video shows the artist herself making painful facial expressions in the act of breastfeeding. Her message is that babies being breastfed are not gentle beings and that breastfeeding mothers often suffer from the inflammation of the breast tissue.

In her screenings entitled ‘Lebdenje’ (‘Floating’) and ‘Toaleta’ (‘Fancy dress’), Nataša Skušek focuses on women and relaxation, pointing to the fact that women’s relaxation time is being more and more pushed into the area of the private. As women are being expelled from  the public space, their only refuge has become the bathroom. The bathroom in Skušek’s work becomes a woman’s temple of healing and rest, where she removes herself from the rest of the world, which expects from her to be a perfect mother, housewife, and a sexi career woman. The female body in this work is projected from the wall onto the bathtub, where the woman rests and heals her daily wounds.

In 2002 and 2003, Nataša Skušek cooperated with Duba Sambolec on two video performances: Nohomevideos© Collectors #3 Settings in Nohomevideos© Collectors #4 Revisited. The collection of her videos is being kept in Digital video archive Diva SCCA-Ljubljana.

After the lecture, the audience will have an opportunity to have a quick look at her exhibition ‘Pravi moški’ (‘Real man’) in Galerija Alkatraz in 2014. Video installation with two videos, ‘Golica’ and ‘Heri’, set one opposite to the other, is a caricature of the contrast of male and female roles in the society. Golica is one of the songs belonging to the genre of national music; in the video, the artist dances to this song. In front of her is a female torso, moving her butt according to the male viewer’s whistling rhythm. The video Heri shows the process of making a braid out of a male ear. Its message is that women were supposed to be pleasing men, while men are the ones who were supposed to be nurtured and accepted the way they are. The exhibition in Galerija Alkatraz (Alkatraz Gallery) tackles socially prescribed outlook and behaviour of men, their feelings, and their perceptions of their female partners. With an example, it shows what a real man actually looks like, and how far (luckily) he is from the perfect image ascribed to him.

The artist also holds a bitter-sweet surprise for the exhibition opening – fortune cookies with notes foreseeing, not the future, but the present, including chauvinistic sayings, being angrily collected by the artist for years.

You have a chance to have a look at the videoinstallation also this Friday, between 10am and 5om, in Metelkova 6, Projektna soba SCCA-Ljubljana.

Nataša Skušek (1967, Ljubljana) holds a BA and an MA from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Ljubljana. In 2000, she was awarded with Prešernova nagrada.  She has been collaborating at various exhibitions at home and abroad since 1999 — including the international festival Break 2.2 Invisible Threat at Ljubljana’s castle (2003), in Galerija P74 with her exhibition ‘Mother, breastfeeder, wife, carer’ (2006) (joining photography, video, objects, and sound), at City of Women festival with an installation ‘Light blue and pink’ in a supermarket Nama (2007), at the Bienale of women’s art in Incheon, South Corea (2009), at the exhibition ‘Feminist art in Slovenia’ (2010), at the European exhibition ‘Cologne OFF 2011’, ‘Pain with the thousand teeth’ (2011), etc. Her light blackboard has been exhibited in Klub Tiffany, AKC Metelkova Mesto, since 2011. She also won the third place at the 13th haiku competition ‘Timelessness of cherry flowers’, organized by a literary magazine ‘Apokalipsa’, Ljubljana.

Co-production: Center for Contemporary Art SCCA-Ljubljana, Alkatraz Gallery

The videoinstallation will be on view also on March 8thbetween 10am and 5pm.

In Slovene. Translation to English available on demand.

Videostill iz videa Heri Motiv za Rdeče zore 2013: Nives Marković SCCA-Ljubljana