Sanja Iveković

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Sanja Iveković in May 2012 (Photograph: François Besch)
"Rosa Luxembourg", the pregnant Gëlle Fra

Sanja Iveković (born 1949 in Zagreb) is a Croatian photographer, sculptor and installation artist. Considered to be one of the leading artists from the former Yugoslavia, she continues to inspire many young artists.[1]


Iveković studied graphics at the Zagreb Academy of Fine Arts from 1968 to 1971. Her artistic career began during the Croatian Spring in the early 1970s when, together with other artists, she broke away from mainstream settings, pioneering video, conceptual photomontages and performance.[2] Much of her work is centred on her own life and the place of women in today's society. She was the first artist in Croatia to label herself a feminist artist.[3] She has been a key player at the Centre for Women's Studies in Zagreb since it opened in 1994.[4]

Art work[edit]

Since the beginning of her artistic career, Iveković has always been interested in the representation of women in society. Among her early works are "Double Life" (1975) where she pairs 66 photographs of her private life with similar shots of models in magazine advertisements, "Make Up-Make Down" (1978) with filmed or photographed self-portraits, and "General Alert: Soap Opera" (1995) produced for television. "Figure & Ground" (2006) depicts collages of female models looking like armed terrorists covered in blood and wearing military-inspired clothing from top designers.[5]

Iveković has also been effective in her sculptures. In 2001, she copied Luxembourg's national symbol Gëlle Fra (Golden Lady) but making the woman look visibly pregnant. Topping an obelisk which for some time was placed in the vicinity of the original, her "Rosa Luxembourg" caused considerable consternation. "Women's House", an ongoing project since 1998, displays plaster casts of the faces of abused women arranged in a semicircle.[5]

At the 2010 Gwangju Biennale, Iveković's "On the Barricades" was a living memorial commemorating the Gwangju people's uprising of 18 May 1980. Based on her "Rohrbach Living Memorial" (2005) depicting the fate of the Roma victims of the holocaust, the new presentation was enacted by volunteers representing statues of the victims. They were surrounded by 10 monitors presenting slideshows of photos of the 545 victims, whose eyes were intentionally closed by the artist.[6]

Awards and recognition[edit]

In 2009, Iveković was the winner of the Camera Austria Award as photography was recognized as an integral part of her conceptual work. The jury mentioned the topicality of her work and its significance for the younger generation as well as her social and political commitment to enhancing the role of women in society through works such as "Women's House".[7]

In 2014 she was shortlisted for the Artes Mundi prize, exhibiting her photography-based works, GEN XX (1997–2001) and The Disobedient (The Revolutionaries) at the Turner House Gallery, Penarth, Wales.[8]


  1. ^ "Sanja Iveković: General Alert, Selected Works 1974–2007" (in Swedish). Retrieved February 25, 2011. 
  2. ^ Roxana Marcoci, "New at MoMA: Sanja Iveković's Double Life", MoMA, April 15, 2010. Retrieved 25 February 2011.
  3. ^ "Sanja Iveković". Retrieved February 25, 2011. 
  4. ^ Katarzyna Pabijanek, "'Women's House': Sanja Iveković Discusses Recent Projects", ArtMargins. Retrieved 25 February 2011.
  5. ^ a b Rehberg, Vivian. "Sanja Iveković". Frieze Magazine , volume 125, September 2009. Retrieved February 25, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Sanja Ivekovic at Gwangju Art Biennale 2010". Retrieved February 26, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Sanja Ivekovic: Camera Austria-Preis der Stadt Graz für zeitgenössische Fotografie 2009" (in German). Retrieved February 26, 2011. 
  8. ^ Crichton-Miller, Emma (13 November 2014). "Artes Mundi: international art in Cardiff". Apollo Magazine. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 

External links[edit]