CITY OF WOMEN AT FEM_11 FESTIVAL

From 3rd to 5th March at FEM Festival, Girona, Spain

We started last year with the initiative of connecting with festivals addressing women creativity, and by a lecture and visual presentation introduced the City of Women at FEM Festival (Girona, Spain). This first step enhanced the interest in further collaboration in a form of programme exchange. Thus this year's FEM edition will have a special focus dedicated to the City of Women and the presentation of female performers' creativity from Slovenia and broader region. Due to the fact that Girona-based festival's objective is to present the pioneers of performing arts as well as promote female artists of younger generations, CoW selection encompasses Vlasta Delmar (Croatia), Dubravka Duba Sambolec (Slovenia, Norway) – both in the pioneer section – and Milijana Babić (Croatia) – section of younger generation performers.

3rd March
8.30 – Cinema Trufaout
Dubravka Duba Sambolec: video performance Conversion from the No Home Videos series (1999-2000)

4th March
9.30 am – 2 pm – Centre Cultural la Merce
Milijana Babić: collective performance Building a Bright Future in the production of City of Women
6.30 pm - 8.30 pm – Centre Cultural la Merce
Audio-visual presentation by artists Vlasta Delimar and Milijana Babić

5th March
7.30 pm – 10.30 pm – Centre Cultural la Merce
Vlasta Delimar: performance Erzsebeth Bathory and action in the public space Men Have To Be Believed

Born in 1956 in Zagreb where she lives and works to this day, Vlasta Delimar entered the art scene in late 1970s. Her work mainly encompasses performance and photography, as well as installation and video. Her artistic origins go back to the Zagreb-based artist group Grupa Šestorice Autora (Group of Six Artists). Though Delmar principally applies autobiographical approach, by investigation of herself, her body and personal experience her work simultaneously addresses the issues of gender, identity, sexuality, communication and mutual relations, and relates to a broader social context. Vlasta Delmar's work, distinguished by corporality and eroticism, directness and sincerity, provocation and confrontation, realism and vitality, has been displayed in a number of solo and group exhibitions.

Performance Erzsebet Bathory

With the performance Erzsebet Bathory, Vlasta Delmar addresses the relation of contemporary society towards death which is in public consciousness denied or pushed out of realm of consciousness and  awareness, and given the status of a taboo. Simultaneously, the fear of transitory fuels the desire of immortality. Delimar's performance is based on obsession of Countess Erzsebet Bathory, one of the most notorious serial killers in the history who – in order to retain eternal beauty and youth, would bath in the blood of virgins.
»In the performance Erszebeth Bathory, I deal with the contemporary aggression, with a special emphasis on self-aggression, and thereby ruthless and irresponsible attitude to natural values which are the foundation of every existence.« V. Delimar

Urban action Men Have To Be Believed
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Vlasta Delimar's urban action relates to her reflection that the point of our existence should be an on-going building-up of human relations. To her, to believe men also signifies to believe women or both oneself as well as everybody around which actually reflects the degree of openness to others, and the confidence we are willing to give or take. The slogan is aimed at reflection on the understanding and acceptance of otherness, as well as the attempt to get to know what we don't understand. The artist claims that her action is not intended to trigger yet another reflection and sentimental or romantic relation to a not-like-me individual, but rather to establish a relation she engages in with her own personal experience, personal realizations and personal freedom. 

Born in 1949 in Ljubljana, Duba Sambolec has lived and worked in Norway since 1992. She has behind 33 solo performances, a number of international group presentations and a prolific academic career. Her artistic endeavours are focused on video performances which deal with control, domination, submission and strategies of survival, address cultural repression in quotidian life in a period of crisis, and investigate the issue of woman identity and the disappearance of centre in the context of globalisation. Sambolec artistic oeuvre also encompasses sculptures, multimedia installations, drawings, digital photo-collages, site-specific sculptures etc.

Video performance Conversion
Video performance Conversion is part of the NoHomeVideos© series comprising 14 works shot between 1999 and 2000 and premiered at the 6th International Festival of Contemporary Arts City of Women in 2000.

With the performance Conversion, the artist confronts the visitor/spectator with apparently absurd action of a blindfolded woman who crosses an empty room holding a rifle and iterating a mumbled “I don't exist”. She stops, loads the gun and shots … In the action, the protagonist is guided by a female voice in the background. The video addresses the frustration, revolt and anger of women regarding their status in the contemporary society. At the same time, it alludes to the complex issue of women exclusion from the public life which is deeply rooted in cultural codes.

Born in 1974 in Rijeka, Croatia, Milijana Babić graduated in Fine Art (sculpture) at Durban Institute of Technology, South Africa, in 2001, and in 2007 took the Master's Degree from Fine Art at the Academy of Fine Art and Design in Ljubljana. She is a member of the  Croatian Freelance Artists Association and Croatian Association of Visual Artists in Rijeka and Zagreb. She is also the assistant professor at the Department of Sculpture, the Academy of Applied Art in Rijeka. She won several awards, and her collections are exhibited at Museum of Modern Art in Rijeka (Croatia), Durban Art Gallery and Tongaat-Hulett Sugar Association Durban (South Africa).

Collective performance Building a Bright Future

The work drew inspiration from the European Commission's new strategy for the promotion of gender equality in Europe, which by 2020 anticipates 50 percent representation of women and equal pay at all executive positions in the field of economy, politics and science, as well as a common rule of quotas as to all public institutions. Is this a promise of a bright future?
But the card tower is not merely a game, but rather an expressive and semantic structure of arguments on fragile foundation that will collapse if a single element is removed, and everything will fall to pieces »like a fragile card tower«… the same as our dreams, aspiration and visions …

FEM is an international performative art / live art festival showcasing the artistic endeavours of women and organised by Gresol Association. The first edition, curated by Denys Blacker and Anet van de Elzen, was held in 2004 in la Bisbal d’Empordà, Spain, and has continued in the Spanish town of Girona since 2006.

The Gresol Association decision to hold a woman's event was not taken in order to underline any particular political standpoint, rather to affirm and to celebrate the freedom of expression that we are able to enjoy in Europe at this moment of history.  In many other countries around the world women's voices are silenced by censorship, war and poverty. We feel that it is important to exercise our right, as women, to personal expression through our uncensored contemporary art practise.

The festival which used to be held on 8th March, is this year taking place between 26th February and 7th March.