“Proletarians of all countries, who washes your socks?”

Talk Europe! with Bojana Pejić

There is no rule. And there is no one avenue, how we arrive to the artwork. There are many. And I have chosen the feminist avenue.

“One of the arguments which came from the official Yugoslav Party Women Organisations was, “Why do we need feminism, because women enjoy full equality in this country. It is inscribed in the constitution: “Women are equal with men in the public sphere.” But then the question came up, what was happening in the private sphere, you know? Who was bringing the kids to the kindergarten? Who was operating the washing machine? Who was working 12 hours a day?”

“I learnt a lot at that time. And this was what I called “the baggage”. But in the 70s I was not consciously a feminist. I was somebody who followed women artists, I also wrote about women artists, but I didn’t have this feminist consciousness. Now I’m a feminist. I was aware that I became a feminist during the Yugoslav wars.”

Jovana Trifunović in conversation with Bojana Pejić, winner of the Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory for her lifelong research into the constituent elements of Eastern European art and culture. Her writings, and particularly her complex international exhibitions such as After the Wall: Art and Culture in Post-Communist Europe (1999–2001) and Gender Check: Femininity and Masculinity in the Art of Eastern Europe (2009–2010), have had worldwide impact, critically marking our understanding of art during state socialism and also providing critical analysis of post-socialist culture after 1989. 

Bojana Pejić orchestrates transnational teams or works alone as she surveys what Eastern European countries have in common, and how their art makes history, nationalism, and gender politics visible. She is an art historian and also an activist for whom academia is never sufficient. Bojana Pejić compels us to reread our past in order to change our common future.

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This text and video is published under the Creative Commons License: CC BY-NC-ND 3.0. The name of the author/rights holder should be mentioned as followed. Author: Jovana Trifunović and Igor Bararon / tippingpoint.net. Cover picture: Gender Check: Femininity and Masculinity in the Art of Eastern Europe, Exhibition view, mumok, Vienna, 2009. “Proletarians of all countries, who washes your socks?” (Conference of Feminists, 1978, Belgrade)


Talk Europe!

Insight and commentary on contemporary European issues. Catalonia to Ukraine, politics to art: on relevant topics with the right people. New perspectives and new space for public debate.

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