Iveković Sanja

gallery 90-60-90, 2014.

On the Barricades

ten-channel video installation

What does it mean to close the eyes of the dead? This gesture is familiar from countless films. A corpse is found, the hand of a bereaved person or a police officer brushes over the face. Closing the open eyes of the dead person – this action seems so familiar, yet only a few people know it from real life. So familiar, in fact, that the question is rarely asked about what it actually means. Sanja Iveković has also closed the eyes of the dead. In her project On the Barricades the artist used portrait photographs of people who have been dead or declared missing. All of the people portrayed were victims of a days-long massacre carried out by military and police on the people of Gwangju beginning 18 May 1980. In the 325 pictures, which were made available to Iveković by the archive of the May 18 Democratic Association for Honorable Persons and Victim’s Family, the dead or missing people are seen as they looked in life, their eyes open. With the help of Photoshop and partly using additional photographs, Iveković closed the eyes of the people in the photographs digitally. The manipulated pictures of the dead are presented in a form of a video installation on ten middle-size flat screen monitors. The video is occasionally interrupted by short footage of young Koreans humming the melody of 임을 위한 행진곡 (roughly: ‘Song of the Lovers’ or ‘March for Love’), a song about the spiritual marriage of two lovers, who died in 1980 during the May massacre. It was composed during the days of unrest and violence, and it gained a special function in South Korea during the 1980s, because it was heard again and again at the political demonstrations of the oppositional movement, also during the revolts of June 1987 that ultimately led to the introduction of representative democracy in 1993. (…)
A fragment from the text ‘On the Humming of the Community. On the Barricades by Sanja Iveković’, written by Tom Holert.




The installation On the Barricades was presented at the 8th Gwangju Biennale in South Korea and is currently part of the collection of MUDAM, The Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art in Luxembourg. The installation is presented for the first time in Croatia.


Sanja Iveković’s works of art are characterised by the critical discourse dealing with the politics of image and body. In her artistic strategies Iveković incorporates the analysis of identity constructions in the media, as well as political engagement, solidarity and activism. Since the 1970s, she has been working in a range of media such as performance, video, installations and actions. Since the 1990s, she deals with the collapse of socialist regimes and the consequences of capitalism and market economy on living conditions, particularly of women.

Recent Exhibitions (2013 – 2014):
Solo Exhibitions – Why an Artists Cannot Represent a Nation-State, WHW, ZKM, Zagreb;Invisible Women, Espaivisor Gallery, Valencia; 2014- Monument to Revolution, DAAD Gallery, Berlin.
Group Exhibitions – ART,TWO POINTS, The Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA); Ten Thousand Wiles and a Hundred Thousand Tricks, Meeting Points 7, CIC, Kairo; Para Site, Hong Kong, Beirut Art Centre, Beirut; 21er Hous, Vienna; Woman. The Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s, Center for Fine Arts, Brussels; Republika Postav (Republic of Figures), Tranzitdisplay, Prague; ARTEVIDA, Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro; Art-Histories, Museum der Moderne MdM Salzburg; Artes Mundi 6, Cardiff, UK; Personal Cuts, Carré d’Art Musée d’Art Contemporain Nîmes, Nimes; A Bigger Splash, Painting after Performance, Tate Modern, London; Dear Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Ljubljana; After the Future, eva International, Various locations across Limerick City, Ireland; The Desire for Freedom. Arte in Europa dal 1945, Deustches Historisches Museum, Berlin; The Freedom of Sound. John Cage behind the Iron Curtain, Ludwig Museum – Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest; Good Girls, Memory, Desire, Power, National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC), Bucharest; Art Two Points – Barcelona Lives Contemporary Art, MACBA, Barcelona.


The 90-60-90 Gallery exhibition program for 2014 explores the theme of hero cult and its social function in the present day.