Freedom of My Mind. Avant-Garde Women Artists from the Marinko Sudac Collection
Vršilnica, Zaprešić
27. January 2023 - 10. February 2023


Organizers: City of Zaprešić, Marinko Sudac Foundation

Co-organizers: Institute for the Research of the Avant-Garde, Zaprešić City Tourist Board, Baltazar University of Applied Sciences Zaprešić

Author of the project: Marinko Sudac

Curator: Dorotea Fotivec Očić

As part of the Long Night of Museums 2023, on Friday, January 27, 2023 at 6.30 pm, the exhibition The Freedom of My Mind. Avant-Garde Women Artists from the Marinko Sudac Collection opens in Vršilnica in Zaprešić. The exhibition is organized by the City of Zaprešić and the Marinko Sudac Foundation. It is a group exhibition exclusively of women artists, which will show the diverse creative practices of 20th century artists from the region and beyond.

There are 49.7% women on Earth and the number of men slightly exceeds the number of women. Excluding, however, the two most populous countries, China and India, where there are more men, in most countries and regions of the world there is a slightly higher percentage of women. It could therefore be assumed that within the creative field of art this gender distribution will also be able to be shown in a comparable percentage. Nevertheless, statistics cannot simply interpret the more complex historical, social, cultural and social elements that affect the life of each individual.

Throughout history, women pursuing artistic careers have faced challenges such as social disapproval and limited educational opportunities. As these barriers began to collapse in the early twentieth century, many women began to participate in the modernist artistic movements that were emerging at the time, and some played pioneering roles in them. Women artists have been present since the very beginning of the 20th century avant-garde – the first Russian avant-garde, futurism, Dadaism, geometric art, later fluxus, regional "New Art Practice" and other directions of artistic creation: programmed art, conceptual art, performance, photography, video art and others.

Thus, the exhibition presents the works of Ivana Tomljenović-Meller, a Croatian artist, designer, photographer and one of the few regional participants of the famous Bauhaus School in Dessau. Then there are the works of Italian artists Lucia di Luciano and Marina Apollonio, who have left a significant mark in their fields of artistic activity. Both artists took their rightful place within the central exhibition of the 59th Venice Biennale 2022, The Milk of Dreams, curated by Cecilia Alemani.

During the 1970s, many influential women artists appeared who left an indelible mark within the field of art history, both in the region and globally. In the territory of the former Yugoslavia, as such a key figure, Bogdanka Poznanović stands out, which significantly influenced the artists of the next generation, such as the work of artist Katalin Ladik. In this period, one of the world's most important performance artists, Marina Abramović, was active, who is presented with her sound installation at the exhibition. Within the wider regional context, artists Běla Kolářová, Galina Bitt, Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt, Dóra Maurer, Jana Shejbalová-Želibská and others also created, and their works will be shown at the exhibition.

The 1970s were also a significant period for the affirmation of women artists of the feminist current. In this context, Croatian artist Sanja Iveković, Polish artists Natalia LL and Ewa Partum are active, and the female experience was also shown by artists Teresa Tyszkiewicz and Milica Kecman / Lipa Mill. Outside the region of Central and Southeast Europe, and as part of the Collection, the exhibition also highlights artists Eulàlia Grau, one of the pioneers of feminist art in Spain, and Takako Saito, a prominent representative of the international movement Fluxsus.

Moving away from the binary notion of gender and sex, the issue of representation of artists who are outside these categories - trans, queer and non-binary artists - has opened up in the conversation about art in the last few years. Within this discourse, the work of MC Coble (born Mary Coble) will be exhibited.

If we look at the previous practice of organizing such (or similar) exhibitions, the art historian Lucy R. Lippard, whose curatorial strategy significantly influenced the visibility of women artists. As early as 1971, Lucy R. Lippard asserted that "it is fully possible, and necessary, to reject the inane cliches of 'feminine' art based on superficial characteristics such as delicacy, prettiness, paleness, sweetness, and lack of structure." Today's work of artists (and other “marginalized” groups) is extremely heterogeneous, expressed in the whole spectrum of media, and the topics they cover relate to issues that can be applied to the whole of humanity. Certain progress within the art world has been achieved thanks to the joint effort of actively engaged artists, art historians, researchers and curators around the world, of all ages and backgrounds. Within this mission, the exhibition The Freedom of My Mind . Avant-garde Women Artists from the Marinko Sudac Collection was realized. Thus, the focus of the exhibition is not limited to a single topic, technique or field of activity, but on women artist's freedom of creation.

This exhibition is the first within a multi-year project that will be jointly worked by the organizers, with the aim of placing the City of Zaprešić as a significant cultural destination outside the capital city.

The curator of the exhibition is Dorotea Fotivec Očić, while the installation concept is done by Davor Mateković and studio Proarh, and the visual identity is done by Bruketa&Žinić&Grey;.

Exhibited artists: Marina Abramović, Galina Bitt, MC Coble, Lucia di Luciano, Nuša Dragan, Eulàlia Grau, Sanja Iveković, Katalin Ladik, Milica Kecman / Lipa Mill, Běla Kolářová, Natalia LL, Dóra Maurer, Ewa Partum, Bogdanka Poznanović, Takako Saito, Jana Shejbalová-Želibská, Ivana Tomljenović-Meller, Teresa Tyszkiewicz, Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt and others.