Vlasta Delimar, Untitled, 1991

Vlasta Delimar
Untitled, 1991
mixed media
variable dimensions

In the series of works that Vlasta Delimar began in the late 1980s, combining different artistic me-diums (photography, artistic objects, installations) and materials (wood, tulle, mirror, lace, wheat, etc.), the focus is still on the nude female body. “For me, the body is the most natural and sincere medium an artist can use. Especially a body without any clothes. A naked body does not lie. I have always been interested in what we are when we take off our clothes. I believe that the naked body is our most sincere image,” the artist once stated. Having entered the art world during the wave of social and artistic emancipation that began in Yugoslavia in the mid-1960s, Delimar confirmed her artistic status in the following decade by performing several works with her then-partner Željko Jerman. The appearance of a young artist critically addressing the social position of women could not go unnoticed, especially since Delimar used the naked female body as a symbol of the struggle between social (patriarchal) taboos and renewed individualism.
In the work "Untitled" from 1991, Delimar expands her critical focus to the social role of women as mothers. The photograph depicting the artist and her daughter is adorned with symbolic decora-tions traditionally attributed to women by patriarchal society. It resembles a votive or sacred image, as the woman and child are surrounded by symbols of fragility (tulle), love (rose), beauty (mirror), and fertility (wheat). However, the contrast between the expressions on the mother’s face and her daughter’s face is striking. While the child is carefree and cheerful – her social initiation into wom-anhood has not yet occurred – the mother looks worriedly into the camera lens, aware of all the challenges her child will face. We can say that the ceremonial character of the scene, with its somewhat pompous spatial arrangement that extends the photograph into the observer’s space, is first questioned by the black colour of the fabric and tulle, and ultimately negated by the artist’s concerned facial expression. What was supposed to be a celebration has turned into unease and a warning.

Text: Klaudio Štefančić, senior curator of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb
Translated by: Robertina Tomić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb

Vlasta Delimar, Untitled, 1991








installation, 310 x 190 x 180 cm



Vlasta Delimar graduated from the School of Applied Arts in Zagreb in 1977. She started staging performances in the 1970s as an associate member of the Group of Six Artists.

In the framework of post-conceptual exploration, with her provocative performances she examines the themes related to the female body and the position of women in society as well as the relationship between men and women (Tied to a Tree, 1985; Walkthrough as Lady Godiva, 2001). With Body Art, that is, her own body, she transcends the stereotypical social codes and interprets deviant social phenomena, questioning primarily, in an independent and unadorned manner, the role and position of women in that environment on a symbolic – expressive level, through artistic self-reflection and self-presentation, often in collaboration with other artists and using new media and visual accents, including various props, characters, actions and ambiences.

This is an art installation of Vlasta Delimar’s motherhood scene set as a stage, with a dominant black and white photograph of the nude artist and her daughter, sitting down with their gaze aimed at the camera, that is, the observer. The woman has her legs crossed and her hands placed diagonally across her pubic area with an oval talisman around her neck, while the girl has a red rose in front of her pubic area. Next to them and outside the photographic background is a tray of wheat and a black background with rhythmically positioned mirror shards, while the composition is framed with a black folded tulle like a veil.


Text: Tatijana Gareljić, museum consultant of the National Museum of Modern Art © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb

Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb

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