Vlasta Delimar: woman is woman is woman

In her art work Vlasta Delimar conquers space of the event no matter if it is single work of art, which applications and attachments convert them into installations, or performance and ambient exhibition. Ambient in the Gallery “Miroslav Kraljevic” develops from the most infrequently used gallery space. Walls, floor and lower half of the space are completely bare. If we divide the gallery space into the four horizontal strips, only the third strip from the bottom or the second from the top out of the total cubic content is filled. Immediately after visitor enters the gallery he will, with his head and upper half of body, literally merge with the exhibition and undertake the surrealist journey between female legs which hang from the cieling as some sort of stalactites or he will, because in fact we are talking about nylons, walk through less erotic scenery of the backyard where the stockings are drying.

Such a possibility of the opposite or divided interpretation is the most intriguing characteristic of the Vlasta Delimar’s creativity. Working with her body and exposing it unsparingly the author presented herself with the multitude of seemingly contradictory roles: friend and lover, mother and strumpet, housewife and vamp, bride and wanton, lady of the house and soldier; common and glamorous, witty and vulgar, shameless and modest, erotic and grotesque. In her performance she presented kitchen as a battlefield on which murder takes place every day and mother as a executioner in the name of the survival. In her exhibitions she has transformed sterile gallery spaces into the sensual interiors full of lace, tulle and mirror glare in which she describes more difficulties than pleasures of female being and destiny. Her entire multiform Vlasta Delimar absolves with the maxim: “…woman is woman is woman…”.

The author has chosen nylon stockings because they are ambivalent ready made object par excellence. Their industrial impersonality is bigger than in any other high consumption serial product designed for woman, but the color of skin, accentuated line of leg and feet, fineness and transparency of the weave and foreboding of girdle lodge them high on the fetish list. Mass production and usage is an excellent frame in which by insertion of ones photographs is possible to express own story as all-females. Black and white photos from the domestic workshop, alleviate by the dense, softening stockings screen and arranged to stimulate moving through the exhibition, concisely sum authors curriculum vitae through the addition of above listed transformations and images of man with whom she shared creative attitude and passion. The arrangement of the stockings in the regular rows stress thematic narrowing towards the back of the gallery, from the public sphere on the entrance to the intimate on the end.

The sole organization of the space is enlarged fusion of “public” and “intimate” that are present even in the smallest works of Vlasta Delimar. As long as naked body will be represent as a symbol for intimate each of her works will be actual and subversive. Petty bourgeois suppression and hypocritical condemnation to the conventions of commercial art practice gives nudity strong iconoclastic potential, especially when the author is by chance a woman who in the same time unconditionally destroys all the masculine stereotypes and the civilizations comprehension of the feminine nature. Among the many personas who are present on the photos of this exhibition the author is the only woman. Whether of exclusion of the rest of female population or of unpleasantness and hardness of such work or attitude that keeps machos and feminists on the same distance, Vlasta Delimar doesn’t have any woman follower among contemporary Croatian artists although body itself is, as the medium of expression, very popular in the last decades. Thus chosen, but in any case bravely won exclusivity made a prominent position among the contemporary artists for Vlasta Delimar and from this exhibition one more of her steps for the conquest of the liberty for us all.

Branko Franceschi

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Vlasta Delimar
Born 1956 in Zagreb. Graduated from the School of Applied Arts, Zagreb in 1977. She lives and works in Zagreb.