Triangle, 1979

Installation view: Shooting Back, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, Austria, 2007
Photo: Michael Strasser, 2007 | © Bildrecht, Vienna, 2017

Four black-and-white photographs and a concept sheet
30.4 x 40.5 cm

"The action takes place on the day of the President Tito’s visit to the city, and it develops as intercommunication between three persons:
1. A person on the roof of a tall building across the street of my apartment;
2. Myself, on the balcony;
3. A policeman in the street in front of the house.
Due to the cement construction of the balcony, only the person on the roof can actually see me and follow the action. My assumption is that this person has binoculars and a walkie-talkie apparatus. I notice that the policeman in the street also has a walkie-talkie. The action begins when I walk out on the balcony and sit on a chair. I sip whiskey, read a book and make gestures as if I perform masturbation. After a period of time the policeman rings my doorbell and orders that ‘the persons and objects are to be removed from the balcony'".

Triangle is a performance/action first performed by the artist on the balcony of a housing block in Zagreb in May of 1979, during a parade where leader Josip Broz Tito’s state limousine would soon drive by. In order to provoke the secret service agent posted on the rooftop nearby, the artist eventually pretends to masturbate. Without hesitation, there is a knock at the door: the policeman from the street below now has come to chastise the artist, “Persons and objects are to be removed from the balcony!” Iveković’s grasp of these types of power structures, and of the gap between the state’s rhetoric and its implementation, are fundamental to her art.

 Iveković’s performance later became an installation of four photographs and the above explanatory note. The directness of Triangle exposes how thoroughly the Yugoslavian state sought to maintain “visual order” at demonstrations for the public - even in private spaces. Such an interest sprang from her concerns that the artistic language of the country was too difficult and too detached to successfully democratize Yugoslav art. Illustrating Iveković’s concern with the place of women in Tito’s Yugoslavia, Triangle contrasts the public male politician with the private female artist, the former demanding unadulterated adulation from his citizens, the latter sitting alone, constantly reminded not to interfere.

*1949 in Zagreb, Croatia | Living and working in Zagreb, Croatia