It Is My Body

Marta Jovanovic: It Is My Body

Marta Jovanovic: It Is My Body
December 15, 2012–January 31, 2013

Curated by Claudia Calirman

Location One is proud to present It Is My Body, a solo exhibition by Marta Jovanovic, opening on Saturday, December 15, from 6 to 8pm. The exhibition will be on view until January 31, 2013.

What happens to the body of the artist in the aftermath of the performance? This query is at the core of the sculptures, videos, and photographs by Belgrade-born artist Marta Jovanovic. Much has been said about the difficulty of preserving performance, an ephemeral medium that resists being transformed into a lasting and permanent form. But what about the performer’s body: Can it be suspended in time forever? Can we prevent its aging and ultimately decaying or delay its inevitable mortality?

Jovanovic creates a silicone doll that doubles as an image of herself, an identical replica of the artist from head to toe. At first glance, this phantasmagoric, soulless object appears beautiful; however, upon closer inspection, it becomes slightly repellent, looking more like a funerary corpse than an immortal replication of the artist. As such, its disintegration becomes imminent; the surrogate doll cannot be sustained as an autonomous entity. Jovanovic’s plaster casts, videos, and photographs pose a paradox: how can one’s living body be dismembered and at the same time long for eternity? The fragmented cast pieces evoke surgical intervention and cosmetic surgery, but in this case, instead of beautifying the body, the process seems to have created a grotesque physical appearance through silicone and plaster casts.

Jovanovic’s casts and photographs are the remains of a body that is no longer present; all that is left are the indexical traces and marks of the real. The work emphasizes the gap between performance and its subsequent representation. The disembodied parts are also reminiscent of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel self-portrait in the sagging skin of San Bartolomeo, who was martyred by being skinned alive. They exist to remind us of the transience of the human body.

Born in 1978, Jovanovic currently lives and works in London, New York, and Rome. She received her BA from Tulane University in 2001 after attending Scuola Lorenzo de Medici in Florence. She has exhibited in venues such as the Museo Pietro Canonica and Museo della Civiltà Romana in Rome. Jovanovic has performed at Location One pieces such as Shoot Me! at the benefit for the Marina Abramović Studio in 2010 and Requiem, in March 2012, a funeral-like performance in which she created a fake wake, symbolically positioning herself inside a replica of the Pazzi Chapel in the Church of Santa Croce in Florence, where the tombs of great artists, writers, architects, and thinkers from the humanist era are located. The work proposed the equality of the sexes, which since the Renaissance has been proscribed by the church.

Jovanovic’s six-and-half-foot-tall transparent resin sculpture LjubavSrecaIstina (LoveFortuneTruth) was permanently installed in the garden of the Museum of Yugoslav History in 2011. In 2012, she received the Roma Capitale from the City of Rome, an award for the highest artistic achievement in representing Serbian culture in Italy.