Cut and Paste – Collages of Inka Švertasek and Nada Vrkljan-Križić


3 May – 28 May 2021



Photo: Marko Ercegović


Two women, in the same city, at the same time. Leaning over their artworks at some point in the day, or evening, after all the other tasks have been taken care of. It is almost certain that they never met. Now, 60 or so years later, their collages meet for the first time, on the walls of the Spot Gallery, thus achieving a shift in the comprehension of the nature of this artistic medium and the feminist stance discernible in their compositions.

During the 1960s, Nada Vrkljan-Križić (1940 – 2012), an art historian and romance languages scholar, and Inka Švertasek (1920 – 2014), a self-taught artist, created a series of intriguing collages. The Office for Photography is showcasing a selection of their works, attempting to shed light on the position of women in contemporary Croatian art and experimentation in the field of photography. Inka’s collages were discovered relatively recently and are exhibited for the first time, while several of Nada’s collages were displayed as part of the 1972 exhibition, Surrealism and Croatian Visual Art, curated by Igor Zidić. The two artists’ collages were created outside of the usual arrangements, predominantly in a domestic setting, subject to limitations of time and other constraints. Their choice of the visual material used reveals a propensity for theatricalization and scenographic ideas (Švertasek), as well as a conscious examination of the political, social and intimate moment (Vrkljan-Križić). These are photomontages and collages in the realm of the subconscious, allusions addressed by a host of surrealist theorists and authors (Eluard, Bataille), all the way to psychoanalysts and contemporary male and female theoreticians who regard these sorts of works as one of women’s feminist strategies.

Owing to its features, the collage is intrinsically subject to fragmentation, nonetheless, both cycles attest to a substantial self-awareness and continuity of artistic ideas, which the authors developed over time. Attempting to lend a contribution to the discussion about the role of collage in feminist art and in postmodernism, and touching upon the notion of collage as an “oppositional” practice containing various hints of and commentaries on the political and social reality, the exhibition draws attention to the frequently solitary position of women authors whose work is revealed gradually and observed from the vantage point of transpired time.

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