Written by 8:10 AM festival, news


Zagreb, Croatia | Museum of Contemporary Art

Festival week 10.9. – 16.9.2018
Exhibition program 10.9. – 30.9.2018


This year, the main festival week takes place from 10 to 16 September 2018 in Zagreb, while exhibitions in several different venues in Zagreb shall remain open until the end of September 2018. Each year, Organ Vida problematizes the main thematic framework which tackles the current socio-political situation, and this year’s jubilee edition is entirely devoted to women’s perspectives. The topic of the 10th edition and the title of the main exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the festival’s main partner, is Active, Engaged, Aware – Women’s Perspectives Now. The authors of this year’s concept (read more about it below) are the curators Lea Vene and Marina Paulenka.

In addition to the main exhibition, whose participants had been selected by the jury consisting of Arvida Byström (Sweden), Fiona Rogers (Great Britain), Laia Abril (Spain), Nina Berman (USE), Tomoko Sawada (Japan) and Katalin Ladik (Hungary), at the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb there will be three other exhibitions – Privilege by Amalia Ulman; Vigilance, Struggle, Pride – Through Her Eyes; and A History of Misogyny, Chapter 1: On Abortion by Laia Abril.

Rinko Kawauchi, Aura; MSU Zagreb

The festival program includes not only exhibitions, but lectures and artists’ presentations, workshops for professionals, conference on contemporary photography, film screenings, and workshops for kids. It will take place in a number of venues in Zagreb – from the aforementioned Museum of Contemporary Art to the Academy of Dramatic Art, Academy of Fine Arts, Kino Europa, Forum Gallery, Greta Gallery, Kranjčar Gallery, Nova Gallery, PM Gallery (HDLU), SC Gallery, Šira Gallery, f8 Gallery, ORIS House of Architecture, Hall V (Technical Museum Nikola Tesla), and Pogon Jedinstvo to Medika, where an exciting club program awaits you.

This 10th jubilee edition of Organ Vida will gather many international, emerging and renowned artists and contemporary photographers with the common goal of advancing art and contemporary photography, and through a curated program inspire consideration and discussion of some of the key global socio-political issues not only among professionals, but the general public.

We wish to highlight the exhibition Vigilance, Struggle, Pride: Through Her Eyes curated by Marina Paulenka, which presents 13 international artists, including the Croatian photographer Sandra Vitaljić and her work Beloved. The exhibition reflects on, questions and problematizes different cultural expressions and issues related to identity, family and home, sexuality and gender-sex roles, representation of women and politics of the female gaze. The exhibition has already been shown in Maribor, Berlin, and Graz.

The exhibition A History of Misogyny, Chapter 1: On Abortion by the Spanish artist Laia Abril will be shown at MSU Gallery. The exhibition, co-organized by VoxFeminae Festival, presents an historical overview of abortion practices, providing an educational perspective, and precisely because of its complexity, the project and the exhibition itself have received a number of awards and recognitions. The artist documents and conceptualizes the dangers and harm caused by the lack of safe, legal and free access to abortion. This is also Abril’s first exhibition in Croatia.

The main festival exhibition, entitled Engaged, Active, Aware — Women’s Perspectives Now, includes projects by the following artists: Raphaela Rosella You’ll Know It When You Feel It (Australia, 2018), Julia Fullerton-Batten The Act (UK, 2017); Nausica Giulia Bianchi ORDINATION (Italy, 2015); Cemre Yesil & Alice Caracciolo Piet[r]a (Turkey, 2017); Gloria Oyarzabal Woman Go No’Gree (Spain, 2017); Catrine Val FEMINIST (Germany, 2013); Ilona Szwarc Indeed a new woman (Poland / USA, 2018); Ke Peng Salt Ponds (China, 2016); Mafalda Rakos I want to disappear – Approaching Eating Disorders (Austria / the Netherlands, 2013) and Silvia Bigi The tree of milk (Italy, 2017).

Laia Abril, O abortusu, MSU Zagreb

The artists whose projects will be screened at MSU Zagreb are: Naghmeh Navabi A home, no longer mine (Iran / UK, 2018); Ashely Miller Still Life Series (USA, 2018); Karla G. Guerrero Berta (Mexico, 2018); Loulou d’Aki Mother of choice (Sweden, 2017); Jennifer Loeber GYRLE (USA, 2017); Nora Novak The Nature of a Home (Croatia / Germany, 2018); Roos Quakernaat A Proper Dish (the Netherlands, 2016); Alice Mann Drummies (SAR / UK, 2018); Alexa Vachon Rise (Canada / Germany, 2018).

The exhibition opening at Nova Gallery is a premiere exhibition in which the American photographer Nina Berman will present her work An autobiography of Miss Wish. It’s a story about a survivor of sex trafficking and child pornography and her struggle to survive and find physical and emotional safety, to assert herself as an artist and narrator, and to craft a life while living in a state of trauma, poverty and addiction.

The exhibition Cherry Picking by the Swedish artist Arvida Byström opens at Kranjčar Gallery. This young artist started posting pictures on her Instagram account and participating in a community of women artists questioning femininity and gender norms, using the so-called “girly” aesthetic so as to redefine the norms of acceptable and preferable female visual representation.

Anna Ehrenstein and her exhibition Tales of lipstick and virtue will be shown at Šira Gallery, while Greta Gallery will host Ulla Deventer‘s exhibition Butterflies are a Sign of a Good Thing.

Croatian artists’ exhibitions included in this year’s festival program are: Jelena Blagović with her recent work New Solitudes at Forum Gallery; Glorija Lizde with her work F20.5 at PM Gallery (HDLU); and Bojan Mrđenović with Highway at Pogon Jedinstvo.

It should also be mentioned that the audience will have a chance to see big group exhibitions created as part of EU funded projects. PARALLEL – European Photo Based Platform will present works of European artists, more than 50 young photographers, at Hall V at the Technical Museum Nikola Tesla. REFEST: Images & Words on Refugee Routes is the result of the collaboration between photographers, poets and illustrators who had, both as a group and individually, researched refugee routes. Their joint works, which are the outcome of the research and residencies, are presented in this exhibition.

Admission to all exhibitions is free of charge.


Organ Vida Festival is the biggest international photography event in Croatia, but also the biggest independent photography festival in Southeast Europe that gathers and presents photographers and artists, professionals and experts in several different galleries and institutions in Zagreb. The festival team is composed of young creative professionals whose goal is to promote Croatian and other emerging and renowned photographers and reflecting on the photography as a medium in a wider social context by presenting works that focus on relevant stories from all over the world and that encourage critical thinking.


In the time of post-capitalist global turmoil, technological advancements, the strengthening of the right, the rise of populism, the growing influence of the Catholic Church, and the semblance of democracy in the 21st century, we are facing a situation in which women must fight anew for the rights that had been won long ago. In the midst of initiatives such as #MeToo, Free the Nipple, The Future is Female, and phenomena such as the female gaze, it is necessary to re-examine the current role of photography in representing and articulating women’s experiences, and to critically rethink how digital culture is transforming feminist approaches to the image.

How and why women protest and ignite change? Who are the heroines of our time? How are social roles and patterns of behaviour of girls and women shaped? How do girls represent and self-represent on social media and how to think the new, so-called Instagram generation of artists? Psychoanalyst Joan Riviere published her paper Womanliness as a masquerade in 1929, in which she describes womanliness as a mask worn in the patriarchal society – a mask that actually forms an inherent part of the female identity. In what ways is the construction of femininity as a mask reflected today? What is the role of our own bodies in a selfie-obsessed culture? Who are the viewers that we’re addressing?

In the last five years, the term the female gaze has become a ubiquitous buzzword in the art and fashion world. Many young artists have consciously adopted this term as a feature of their own approach, their activist and emancipatory engagement. The female gaze is juxtaposed with the dominant, patriarchal male gaze which objectifies the female body and defines the position of the woman as passive. Women artists purposefully take on an active role in order to articulate potential new perspectives on personal and direct female experiences that have, until now, remained invisible or been represented in a stereotypical manner. Can the female gaze be perceived as an intergenerational phenomenon? And has it been commodified and framed as merely a trend?

Members of an international jury will have the task of evaluating and selecting 20 artworks that address contemporary challenges, issues and perspectives related to this open call. In particular, the emphasis will be on the inclusion and appreciation of diverse attitudes, different cultural and geographic context that can jointly, in the framework of the curatorial concept, provide an overview of the current situation in the global socio-political and feminist scene. We therefore invite all interested artists who work in the medium of photography as such or in an expanded form, video, or installation to apply to this open call and respond to the given topic. The selected artists will exhibit their work at the 10th Organ Vida Photography Festival at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, Sep 12 – 30, 2018.


Organ Vida Festival
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