Ruth Noack

Ruth Noack, an art historian, critic, and curator, has taught at art schools and universities in Vienna, Lüneburg, and Kassel. She co-curated Documenta 12 (2007).

  • Sanja Iveković

    Sanja Iveković

    Triangle

    Ruth Noack

    The first sustained examination of a canonical and widely exhibited work by a leading artist of the former Yugoslavia.

    In Sanja Iveković's Triangle (Trokut, 1979), four black-and-white photographs and written text capture an eighteen-minute performance from May 10, 1979. On that date, a motorcade carrying Josip Broz Tito, then president of Yugoslavia, drove through the streets of downtown Zagreb. As the President's limousine passed beneath her apartment, Ivokevic began simulating masturbation on her balcony. Although she could not be seen from the street, she knew that the surveillance teams on the roofs of neighboring buildings would detect her presence. Within minutes, a policeman appeared at her door ordered her inside. Not only did Ivekovic's action expose government repression and call attention to the rights of women, it also called attention to the relationship of gender to power, and to the particular experience of political dissidence under communist rule in Eastern Europe. Triangle is considered one of Iveković's key works and yet, despite Iveković's stature as one of the leading artists of the former Yugoslavia, it has received little direct attention. With this book, Ruth Noack offers the first sustained examination of Iveković's widely exhibited, now canonical artwork.

    After a detailed analysis of the work's formal qualities, Noack considers its position in the context of artistic production and political history in socialist Yugoslavia. She looks closely at the genesis of the performance and its documentation as a work of art, and relates the making of the work and the politics of canon-making to issues pertaining to the former East-West divide. She discusses the artistic language and meaning-making in relation to conceptualism and performance and to the position of women in Tito's Yugoslavia and in society at large, and investigates the notion that Iveković's work of this period is participating in citizenship, shifting the focus from the artist's subversive act to her capacity to shape the terms through which we order our world.

    • Hardcover $35.00
    • Paperback $19.95

Contributor

  • Feminist Takes

    Feminist Takes

    Early Works by Želimir Žilnik

    Antonia Majaca, Rachel O'Reilly, and Jelena Vesic

    Essays that create a dynamic discussion among leading feminist thinkers on Želimir Žilnik's film Early Works (1968).

    This collection of short essays brings together a dynamic discussion among feminist thinkers, on the filmic fate of Jugoslava, the leading character in Želimir Žilnik's film Early Works (1968). The cinematic narrative follows Jugoslava as she leaves her lumpenproletariat family to lead a small group of vagabonds after the failed 1968 student movement in Socialist Yugoslavia. The group travels to the countryside to bring the teachings of young Marx and Engels to the peasants. Jugoslava passionately wants to emancipate local village women, delivering motivational lessons on contraception. However, the group's attempt to instigate a revolutionary program among the peasants fails miserably; instead, the villagers attack the young men and sexually assault Jugoslava. Her revolutionary passion burns fast and gloriously, and for this she is punished, through the film's own allegorical reflexivity. In the last scene, the male comrades chase the heroine through the barren, foggy, muddy fields of Pannonia, harassing her, only to finally shoot her and set her body on fire. Jugoslava dies in flames.

    Canonical within the Yugoslav New Film—a dissident cinema faction questioning the status quo of bureaucratic state socialism in the late 1960s and early 1970s—Early Works has received limited discussion in terms of its gendered representation of revolutionary action and the presence and absence of feminist critique addressing this historical period. The volume is a part of Antonia Majaca's ongoing collaborative investigation Feminist Takes which considers the relation between the Non-Western cinema and feminist theory and practice and is itself a material trace and redaction of a series of focused gatherings approaching the film to re-read its significance from multiple, indisciplined, feminist locations.

    • Paperback $29.95