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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Tanja Ostojic

Berlin,
Germany

Tanja Ostojic was born in Yugoslavia in 1972 and studied art in Belgrade and Nantes. She is an independent artist and cultural activist based in Berlin. She has been active in the art scene in the former Yugoslavia since 1994 and internationally since 1997. Ostojic includes herself as a character in situationist performances and uses diverse media in artistic research, thereby examining social configurations and relations of power. She works from the migrant woman’s perspective and the approach in her works is predominantly defined by political and feminist position, humor and integration of the recipient.

Solo Performances/ Selection:

2002 “Venice Diary”, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb; Croatia.

“Confrontation”, Lindart – women art center, Tirana, Albania.

2003 “Integration Project: Sprachschule”, Halle fur Kunst, Lüneburg; Germany.

“Strategies of Success/Curator Series”, La Box, Bourges, France.

2004 “Salon for Body&Soul”, Salon MSU, Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, Serbia.

2005 “Integration Project Office” and “Divorce Party”, Gallery 35, Berlin, Germany

2005-06 “Geobodies: A Question of Boundaries” with Ursula Biemann, Kniznik Gallery, Brendeis University, Boston, USA.

2006 “O.t. / after Courbet”, fasade of the Forum Stadtpark Graz, Austria.

Group exhibitions /Selection

2001 “Plato of Humankind”, 49th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy.

2003 “In Transit”, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany.

2nd Tirana Biennale, National Gallery, Tirana, Albania.

2004 “Privatisations”, KW Institute for contemporary art, Berlin, Germany.“Values” 11th Biennale of visual arts”, Pancevo, Serbia.

2005 “e-flux, video rental”, e-flux space, New York, USA.; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; “Xenopolis”, Rathaus Gallery, Munich, Germany. “Shrinking Cities, Interventions”, GfZK, Museum of Contemporary Art, Leipzig

2006 “Normalisation“, Rooseum, Malmö, Sweden

Feminist Artist Statement

Contemporary arts I see in the first line as an interesting field of research, reflection, communication, exchange and criticism within the contemporary society.

I think that an openness towards the usage of diverse media in contemporary arts is one of the crucial tactics that allows the artist to be more precise, more specific and to really grasp the topic the way it deserves to be approached regarding the specific context and targeted audiences. Merging the different disciplines and different layers of reality together with arts helps to cross the borders of strict professionalism, that could as well happen to be counterproductive, and that enables further developments of new models…

For my art practice, I have consciously decided to abandon the production of “one-off” artworks in favor of developing a series of strategic projects that span a period of several years. This position gives me the opportunity to engage in a much more consistent and deeper analysis and development on the issues of concern in my work.

Regarding this stance, I came to realize, that in order to attain relevant content, one has to keep actively trying to overcome the given limits by the rules of production and exhibition format within the art system. The exhibition space, transformed naturally and with a particular intention, is just one space, where just one part of the targeted audience is to be found.

Furthermore, because the art field is a fertile ground for the exploration of different methodologies, in recent years one has been able to observe visual and performance arts, philosophy and political activism informing each other and adapting concepts — especially with regard to the use of public media and/or guerrilla strategies. The whole concept of tactical media is rooted in a mutual learning process involving different disciplines.

Still, the sector of visual arts, even beyond the white cube, is quite limited when it comes to direct efficiency through action. If not for a strain of influential theory in the arts and philosophy that enduringly pushes the syntax towards issues of social concern, these strategies might not result in any achievement.

<p>Looking for a Husband with a EU Passport</p>

Looking for a Husband with a EU Passport

In August 2000 I started “Looking for a Husband with EU Passport” project: www.cac.org.mk/capital/ostojic. After publishing an ad with this title, I exchanged over 500 letters with numerous applicants from around the world.
After a correspondence of six months with a German man Klemens G. I arranged our first meeting as a public performance in the field in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, 2001. One month later we officially married in New Belgrade. With the international marriage certificate and other required documents I applied for a visa. After two months I got one entrance family unification visa for Germany, limited to three months, so I moved to Düsseldorf where I was officially living for three and a half years.
In spring 2005 my three-year permit expired, and instead of granting me a permanent residence permit, the authorities granted me only a two-year visa. After that K. G. and I got divorced, and on the occasion of my “Integration Project Office” installation opening in Gallery 35 in Berlin (July 1, 2005), I organized the “Divorce Party.”

Looking for a Husband with a EU Passport

In August 2000 I started “Looking for a Husband with EU Passport” project: www.cac.org.mk/capital/ostojic. After publishing an ad with this title, I exchanged over 500 letters with numerous applicants from around the world.
After a correspondence of six months with a German man Klemens G. I arranged our first meeting as a public performance in the field in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, 2001. One month later we officially married in New Belgrade. With the international marriage certificate and other required documents I applied for a visa. After two months I got one entrance family unification visa for Germany, limited to three months, so I moved to Düsseldorf where I was officially living for three and a half years.
In spring 2005 my three-year permit expired, and instead of granting me a permanent residence permit, the authorities granted me only a two-year visa. After that K. G. and I got divorced, and on the occasion of my “Integration Project Office” installation opening in Gallery 35 in Berlin (July 1, 2005), I organized the “Divorce Party.”

After Courbet, L´origin du Monde

Presented on the rotating billboards in the frame of EuroPart exhibition in the public space in Vienna December 2005/January 2006. The work was removed after 2 days as a result of enormous media scandal at the point when the Austrian Prime minister was about to overtake the chair in the EU. Over hundred of articles and over thousandth of readers comments witness about it in a very interesting and complex way.

The poster 3,5 X 4m size was reerected on the fasade of Forum Stadt Park, Graz from January-March 2006.

Over periods in history nudity is revolving in the public mirror, but taken for its symbolic value in society it frequently served as a carrier for another message in the first stance. Besides the composition and the reference to the title (L´origin du Monde, “Birth of the World”, oil on canvas, 1866, 46 X 55 cm, by Gustav Courbet), beyond the image my reference to Courbet is appending directly to his position as an artist, who was concerned with the class struggle during the time of the Paris Commune and believed in an emacipatory role of art in society. His art works have been banned from shows and he was as well arrested primarily of political engagement. The painting l´origin du monde remained hidden more then 120 years in private collections and is on the display in the Museé d´Orsay in Paris since 1980-ies.

In a consequent thought I believe this recent interpretation of mine wouldn’t have provoked the mass media scandal if the blue underwear wouldn’t feature the EU flag on it at such a problematic moment in Austrian political reality.

In the tradition of my earlier works like “Crossing border series”, and the “Integration Project” 2000-2005, I continue my critical view on the politics of exclusion and the issues of bio-politics in the EU.
The body of the women on the picture – myself - belongs to somebody that does not belong to the EU territory, somebody that speaks from the migrant women perspective and has been discriminated because of not being citizen of this elitist political & economical space.

As the European Union states are sharpening the control over non-citizens, the immigration police e.g. even have since long time praxis of checking-the-warmth-of-bed-sheets in intermarriages between EU- and non-EU-partners.

The fact that the art works of mine have been removed from the rolling boards in Vienna caused much turmoil in art circles in Austria in particular. Without doubt it is censorship that shows dangers for the future of arts in Austria - especially when it’s about art with political content, critical art, women artists, artists from outside the EU territories, public funding in arts, removing or covering serious political content from public eyes…

The work became – and even more – present in the digital media and publications, that is a priori a public space, and aperently some much more constructive and more intellectual debates happened on top of the mainstream reaction.

What brings us to the absurdity and hypocrisy of the removal for moralistic reasons, as that act serves only as a manifestation of an official political executive power but fails the purpose since it actually multiplies the content to the most remote corners of society.

Tanja Ostojic and Marina Grzinic: Politics of Queer Curatorial Positions: After Rosa von Praunheim, Fassbinder and Bridge Markland

The Politics of Queer Curatorial Positions is a reconstructed geneaology. The most direct reference is its relation to the painting “Gabrielle d´Estées and One of her Sisters” by the unknown master from the Fontainbleau School, around 1595.

This work is a part of T. Ostojic´s project “Strategies of Success /Curator Series 2001-2003”

Exchange in post nation

I’ll Be Your Angel

Performed at Plato of Humankind, 49th Venice Biennale, for 4 days with Harold Szeemann

I’ll Be Your Angel,22min/DV video, 2001-2002

Personal Space

Tanja Ostojic: Personal Space, performance (Bienale of young artists, Vrsac, Yugoslavia), 1996. (photo: Sasa Gajin), Personal Space photoseries, 1995 (photo: Sasa Gajin)

Tanja Ostojic: Personal Space, performance, Manifesta 2, Luxemburg, 1998 (photo: Thorsten Arendt), Personal Space, videostills, 60min/Beta video

Vacation with Curator

Artist Talk

Websites

Contact

Borsigstr.29
Berlin,
Germany

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