Jana ┼Żelibsk├í (* 1941)
Her View of Him, 1996
video installation, video, 4┬┤ 55┬┤┬┤, sound, color,
3 wooden shelves 39 x 28 cm, 3 glass aquariums 30 x 20 x 30 cm, 4 pink modurite balls, shower hose, 3 spot lamps with red bulbs, large screen projection
from the collection of the Museum of Art in ┼Żilina
acquired by purchase from the artist in 2019
Jana ┼Żelibsk├í created a video installation for the exhibition Paradigm Woman (1996, PGU in ┼Żilina) – its acquisition for the gallery’s collection (in 2019) and placement in the exhibition is in fact a return of this video installation to its home soil. The exhibition was part of a trilogy held in the years 1995 – 1997 in PGU in ┼Żilina (Physical / Mental, Paradigm of a Woman, Between a Man and a Woman), curatorial projects by director Katar├şna Rusn├íkov├í. They took place in the newly reconstructed, for the then possibilities of regional galleries unique, exhibition space with the parameters of the so-called white cube (neutral white rooms without protruding architectural elements with a gray concrete floor). The aim of the exhibition was to specify at that time the increasingly visible tendency of postfeminist art through works realized on the basis of a libretto submitted by the curator. The trilogy presented works created on the basis of the parameters of the exhibition space, emphasizing the installation and video art, and its main line was the effort to establish, ie the created works to confirm the presence of works that deal with gender issues. The exhibition, in which Katar├şna Rusn├íkov├í selected Petra Nov├íkov├í – Ondrei─Źkov├í, Ilona N├ęmeth and Denisa Lehock├í, in addition to Jana ┼Żelibsk├í, had the ambition to formulate ÔÇťquestions in a richly structured zone related to gender, identity, body, beauty, psyche, sexuality and intellectual potential of women ÔÇŁ(K. Rusn├íkov├í), but it was also a manifestation of concentrated interest in postfeminism and gender issues in art – the curator also acknowledges the inspiration for the exhibition Sense and Senibility. Women artists and Minimalism in the Nineties (1994, MoMA New York), which was very important for her in terms of the application of the discourse of postfeminism in Slovak art.
The construct of the video installation Her View of Him is the artist’s subversive reaction to the phenomenon of gaze – a man’s fixed gaze on a woman as an object of bodily desire, ie the proverbial “stare / sight”, but in addition to this gender stereotype also to the element of voyeurism the female body tends to unite. The artist came to its deconstruction, or simply said – to turn it upside down, so that in this case she was the one who focused her (Her) gaze on him – the showering man – in the video projected in the projection. The details of the bathroom contribute to the deconstruction – rewriting of this scheme: a dripping water tap, a shower hose, bullets, but also the soundtrack of the video (an erotic song by Serge Gainsbourg), by which the author shifts the meaning of the work to psychoanalytic contexts. The components from the video are “preserved” in three glass aquariums as material artifacts. The video installation complex is an autonomous environment, built of several components. Video, sound, together with the installed objects / aquariums, create a situation in which the man’s body is immaterial, dematerialized by the media image, and vice versa – the components from the video are emphasized as material objects. The video installation is also the first work presented in the Slovak gallery environment, where a large-scale video projection was used.