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Katarina Zdjelar

Venue: Gropius Bau

Katarina Zdjelar

Born 1979 in Belgrade, SR – lives and works in Rotterdam, NL

Working in diverse media including moving image and sound, performance, and publications, Katarina Zdjelar explores the production and enactment of cultural, gender, and political identities across time and space. In a new iteration of her installation Not A Pillar Not A Pile (2020), Zdjelar traces the ideological affinities between the iconic graphic artist Käthe Kollwitz (1867–1945) and the Expressionist choreographer Dore Hoyer (1911–67), two proto-feminists committed to pacifism and anti-fascism. The work departs from the first and only production of Tanz für Käthe Kollwitz [Dance for Käthe Kollwitz, 1946] staged by Hoyer in the modest dance studio she founded in war-ravaged Dresden. More than a dancer, Hoyer defined herself as a “medium for the present,” and she based this inaugural performance’s choreography on several works by Kollwitz, admiring the artist’s visceral depictions of proletariat women and their struggle.

Working with a group of dancers and activists, Zdjelar revives the artistic and political legacies of Hoyer and Kollwitz in a four-channel video installation showing bodily encounters based on gestures that appear in Kollwitz’s drawings and prints. Zdjelar reiterates, reperforms, and reinscribes these poses as contemporary possibilities of protest and solidarity for a politically fragile present. The set of the videos and the costumes worn by the dancers feature a pattern created by female workers at the PAUSA textile factory, originally owned by a Jewish family active in the anti-fascist resistance. Not A Pillar Not A Pile additionally presents an archival installation with photographs of Hoyer’s performance. A series of black wooden floorboards with abstract cutouts that resemble woodcuts by Kollwitz and glass sculptures add a three-dimensional component to the work.

Michèle Faguet

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