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Tanja Ostojić

The issue of the power relations prevailing in society, the effects of these on everyday life, and the positions from which various groups must start form the thematic emphasis of Tanja Ostojić’s artistic work. The artist employs a wide range of media to make a theme of the situations and perspectives of socially disadvantaged protagonists; in doing so, she pays particular attention to the perspective of women with migratory backgrounds. The artist herself acts as the main protagonist in her performances.

Ostojić uses the artistic strategies of parody, provocation and irony to trace the ills of present-day society.

 

In her work Looking for a Husband with an E.U. Passport, she placed an advertisement with the same title and subsequently exchanged over 500 letters with numerous suitors from all over the world. She eventually married one of these contacts in order to receive a visa for Germany and be granted residency there. She remained together with him for 3 ½ years, the length of time that the law required her to be married to an EU citizen in order to remain in Germany—and then promptly organized a Divorce Party. Ostojić makes public that which politics and society are fond of sweeping under the rug. She shows the parallel worlds of EU residents and the legal framework’s enormous norm-enforcing power, which hinders other human beings’ participation in society and severely limits their range of available options. In her interdisciplinary project Naked Life, Ostojić researched the mechanisms of discrimination that have been used against the Roma and Sinti ethnicities for many years. The racist attitudes associated therewith stigmatize their members, robbing them of the ability to make their voices heard and participate in decision-making processes. By reading from the “Written Comments of the European Roma Rights Center Concerning Germany for Consideration by the United Nations Human Rights Committee at its 80th Session,” which contains reports on the fates of Roma families, the artist set out to express the helplessness and humiliation that such fates entail. Suzana Milevska wrote: “The expelled, the displaced, the ghettoised, the imprisoned, the immigrated, the war refugees and the Roma: all these marginalised and excluded people treated as ‘homo sacer’ are subject of Ostojićs interest.” Since then, the artist has gone on to deal with issues such as how the art system’s selection mechanisms function and how the output of individual artists is chosen and evaluated—such as in the work I’ll Be Your Angel.

 

A.B.

1972, Užice / RS, at that time Jugoslavija

 

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