“I’m interested in the art that is socially engaged – but with a dose of humor, irony and provocation.”
At first glance it seems that Nikolina Ivezic’s work is best described by her installation placed on the wall of the famous Zagreb café Limb. Voluptuous, curvy ladies wearing suspenders or garter belts, leaning against the bar, a black-red-white world and overt sex appeal, themes that are often repeated in her art. By criticizing the society that reduces the female body to a mere instrument, she uses its own lexic, the lexic of extravagance and spectacle. And all that in a café.
When it comes to interiors of public spaces, there is the interior of Zagreb’s night club Tvornica, home to an eroticized Snow White with the dwarves. And we must not forget her Jesus placed opposite Marx, Engels, and Lenin at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, a work that caused quite an uproar at the time. Nikolina Ivezić, one of the protagonists of Croatian Art Market, is a huge workaholic and has many artistic personae.
There are no taboos. She does not like hypocrisy, she challenges the social norms. In her cycle “Pop Saints” she interprets saints as a kind of pop icons; what is the role of spiritual values in the modern society and are the saints reduced to that level in today’s interpretations?
The cycle “Cro Manga” followed, where she introduces women with traditional Croatian names, but places them in poses similar to the ones of manga heroines. The exhibition Dress Me (Obuci me) allowed the visitors to dress the artist in various items of clothing, ranging from a nun’s attire to a French maid costume, depending on their preference. The cycle “Self Portraits” presents the artist herself in the eroticized attires, but caught in the moment of doing everyday chores that are far from erotic, for example – cleaning the toilet.
In short, other than criticizing the treatment of the female body as a sex object, she also broaches the subjects of globalization, commercialization of religion, mass media, media exploitation of the phenomenon of kitsch…all in a socially engaged and provocative manner.
In that sense we should not forget one of her works featured at the sculpture triennale. The work in question is a “Pillar of Shame” (Stup srama). On it she wrote the names of gallery owners who owe her money with the exact amount, and the visitors were soon invited to write their own debtors. It did not take long before the pillar was completely covered in names.