Pair Performances (Nastasia Louveau)

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A striking feature of Socialist Yugoslavia’s artistic scene indulging in performance art is the recurrence of collaborative work and of artist couples performing together. Be it individual artists pairing up and forming artistic duos for a certain lapse of time or wedded couples putting on performances together repeatedly or sporadically over the course of their artistic careers, twosomes are overtly present in the Yugoslav scene throughout the 1960s to the 1980s. So much so that in June 1974 there was a show in the gallery of the Student Cultural Center (SKC) in Belgrade curated by Raša Todosijević that was entitled “1 & 1” and that displayed the artistic positions of fourteen artist pairs.

Not only is it interesting to take a closer look at this 1974 exhibit and at Yugoslav performance art from this angle because of the sheer number of pair performances, but also because these performances elicit a reflection on twosomeness/doubleness and on dialogic, binary or agonistic work processes in art. Pair performances or happenings not only explore issues of gender representations and relations, balance of power and of authorship, but, at their very core, also investigate basic figures and facets of the binary and of the dialogic–“by doing”. Heavily based on archival material, this doctoral project sets out to investigate the diverse forms of teamwork/pair work in performance art. Scrutinizing the pair performances and the ‘performing pairs’ might help us gain some insight into gender and societal issues in Tito’s Yugoslavia and also allows us to find out how this discourse possibly helps fashion a new definition of art.

 

Publications to date

“1 & 1. Paare und Dualitäten in der Performancekunst des sozialistischen Jugoslawiens” in: Paare: Inszenierungen von Beziehungen in den Künsten. Herausgegeben von Jenny Schrödl, Magdalena Beljan, Maxi Grotkopp. Berlin: Neofelis Verlag 2017 (in print)

Photo credits
Vlasta Delimar, Željko Jerman, “Vlasta i Željko,” Arhiva SKC, http://www.arhivaskc.org.rs/foto-arhiva/neidentifikovana-gradja/11960-f11-38.html.