Since the 1980´s, the Croatian performance artist Vlasta Delimar has been questioning the freedom of female sexuality and breaking sexual taboos and their codification through stereotypical roles in a patriarchal society. Her elemental, often bare, naked body, is the main medium to her work. To counter-act, she masks it with feminine attributes such as lace, mesh, veils, etc. seeking a refuge of unprotected, female identity.
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Born into a proletarian family, Vlasta Delimar appeared on the art scene of the former Yugoslavia in the late 1970s and followed her path internationally for almost four decades. Between 1978 and 2016, she created numerous works that included performances, actions, happenings, video documents, photographs, photo collages and installations. She left an indelible mark on the evolution of visual culture and body politics in Central Eastern Europe, which was crowned in 2014 by the retrospective This is Me at the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb.
Against the normative concepts of behavioural regulation, which is the axis of the political, cultural and religious mainstream in socialist, post-socialist and capitalist societies, Delimar’s multiple appearances in public space, in person or through images, engage people because they touch – often very intensely – what “should” not be touched: their consciousness and conscientiousness, without leaving anyone indifferent. Her “icons” reach the observer exactly where (learned) moral and (also learned) intellectual narcissism have found a supposedly safe refuge: where they believe they know who they are while playing their role in front of others – always behind golden masks.