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    Yugoslav pop, female artists and the emergence of feminist agency

    Lina, Dzuverovic (2022) Yugoslav pop, female artists and the emergence of feminist agency. In: Minioudaki, K. and Hadler, M. (eds.) Pop Art and Beyond: Gender, Race and Class in the Global Sixties. London, UK: Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9781350197534.

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    Yugoslavia, a single party state, built on the legacy of the anti-fascist partisan struggle, principles of solidarity, egalitarianism, self-management and a strong sense of internationalism due to its founding role in the Non-Aligned Movement, was, at the same time, a country immersed in what has been termed “utopian consumerism.” A burgeoning media landscape and the westernization of Yugoslav culture, phenomena which were ideologically at odds with the country’s own socialist principles, set the stage for a multifaceted encounter with Pop in the late 1960s and 1970s in the form of what Lina Džuverović, Yugoslav Pop’s chief researcher, identifies as two local variants of equally political Pop: “Yugoslav Pop Reactions” and “Yugoslav Countercultural Pop.” While representing two diametrically opposed conceptual positions, both, she argues, turned to popular culture and cheap everyday materials as an alternative means with which to critically respond to socialist modernism and to growing instrumentalisation of artists in Yugoslav society. Yugoslavia’s founding principles, formed as a legacy of the People’s Liberation Struggle (1941 – 1945), were based upon self-management and the introduction of social property, with art being a democratizing force with a central emancipatory role in the building of the new socialist state. But socialist modernism gradually relegated culture to a more illustrative role, as a form of ‘soft power’ for the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Conversely, an engagement with popular culture and materials offered an oxymoronic site of resistance to the decline of Yugoslavia’s founding principles. Setting the stage for an understanding of Pop in Yugoslavia, Džuverović focuses on the work of several women artists, putting the intersection of gender and Yugoslav Pop under a feminist lens, while continuing the feminist revision of Pop in the former east. Džuverović contextualizes Pop within the changing gender relations in postwar Yugoslavia, in light of the uncomfortable negotiation of the postwar legacy of the female emancipation achieved by the Antifascist Women’s Front, and the gradual postwar placement of women in charge of the domestic sphere after the war. The spread of popular culture offered ready material for women artists but at the same time it cemented cultural sexism. Focusing on the work of Katalin Ladik (1942) and Sanja Ivekovic (1949) who both embraced Pop techniques and materials, she theorizes their Popness while tracing the resistive inscription of gender in their work, contextualizing it within the proliferation of objectified female bodies in Pop in light of the work of various artists, including the artists of the ‘Ekspresivna Figuralika’ group. Book synopsis: A decade of revisionism has challenged the entrenched view of Pop Art as a largely Anglo-American movement and exposed its international reach. Pop Art and Beyond is the first scholarly exploration of the role of gender, race and class, and their intersection in the production, reception and politics of global manifestations of pop during the Long Sixties. Edited by post-war art scholars Mona Hadler and Kalliopi Minioudaki, the book features an array of rigorous chapters written by acclaimed international experts and emerging scholars who explore the work of over twenty artists. These include practitioners of different cultural, racial and social origins and sexual orientation, including numerous female artists from around the world. By transgressing the borders of individual and national contexts and forsaking Cold War dichotomies and the dominant definition of pop art, Hadler and Minioudaki create a space in which pop can be opened up and a new appreciation of its heterogeneity and politics achieved.


    Item Type: Book Section
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): pop art, new art practice, sixties, Yugoslavia, contemporary art, consumerism, visual art, feminist, gender studies, socialism, self-management
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Depositing User: Lina Dzuverovic
    Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2021 14:36
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:45


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