KATARINA RADOVIĆ: UNTIL DEATH DO US PART

February 9 - March 11, 2011

Photon Gallery – Centre for Contemporary Photography Ljubljana is presenting Belgrade based artist Katarina Radović and her present body of work, from the last four years, in a solo exhibition bringing together three contextually related photographic series. The exhibition titled 'Until Death Do Us Part' explores the very core of artist's recent creativity, focusing on the subject matter of role and position of women in (western) contemporary society. The underlying connection between the three formally and conceptually different photographic cycles is a merging number of questions related to female social codes that lead to certain expected and often ambivalent fault lines in the life of a female: metaphorical depiction of concerns and expectations, exploration of needs and wishes, and fragile relation between reality and dreams. Based on own personal and intimate experiences and drawn from her imagination Katarina Radović is telling a story of “average” women inspired by the values of cosy lifestyle and corporal aesthetic norms served by mass media. Using visual metaphors her characters, often played by herself, are roughly presenting three different stages of a woman’s life: early phase, represented by concerns with the appearance that tries to conform to actual ideals of beauty and stereotypes of erotic pleasure; transition phase, embodied with the search for the ideal partner showing possible existential frameworks of the selection; and mature phase, symbolized by the wedding as a decisive and final step in a woman's adult life.
The photographic series 'Desire', 'A Husband in Paris' and 'Until Death Do Us Part' loosely correspond to these three stages. 'Desire' shows the reinvention of artefacts as instruments of love and sources of erotic pleasure that dictate the notion of stereotypic seductive appearance with disturbingly composed visual beauty. The photographed objects are placed in deceptively simple juxtapositions that subvert one’s expectations and reference a number of psychological, moral and sexual ambiguities, ironically pointing at fetishism, consumerism, fashion and advertising, making a critical statement about the present realities.
Loosely biographical series 'A Husband in Paris' directly reflects the situation in artist's own geographical and political environment. Through the colourful staged portraits she plays the role of a woman in search of a husband with prospects and willingness to enable her better living conditions. Through performative actions, inspired by her personal experiences and mass media images, she asks coincidental passerby on the streets of Paris to pose with her and except the role of a happy couple for the photograph. The aesthetic complexity of these staged compositions surpasses the strictly political aspects of marriage to say something about romantic relationships between possible marriage partners as well as the seduction of the young woman who, in her appointed role, nevertheless does not hide that she is willing to make that step.
'Until Death Do Us Part' series is the result of two-year photographic project on weddings in Europe, with an accent on cross-cultural couples and certain cultural meanderings, the product of the constant shifts of borders, migrations, globalisation and acculturation. The project represents a visual investigation of the phenomenon of the wedding ceremony and party as one of the crucial anthropological genres, which has for thousands of years played a pivotal role in the ritual life of the human race. In essence, this tradition has remained largely unchanged, despite newly emerging trends and cultural, racial or gender traversing, and in spite of the fact that marriage as an institution is no longer regarded as something so necessarily desirable. Photographs from this series examine the phenomenon of marriage and of wedding ceremony across Europe, often represented as a glamorous pagan ritual paying great attention towards certain fragments of national tradition and folklore of newlyweds and their families. Despite her straight documentary approach and anthropological aims Katarina Radović captures incidental and secondary motifs that often produce metaphysically stressed images with ability to confuse the perception of the seen.