Personal Cuts, 1982

Betacam numérique, PAL, couleur, son

The artist's head faces the camera, covered with a black stocking, like a burglar or robber. She cuts round holes in the fabric with a pair of scissors. At the precise moment that the scissors cut the stocking, a sequence taken from Yugoslav history, produced and broadcast on the national channel, is inserted within the portrait. The face is gradually revealed, until it is entirely uncovered. In parallel, widely varying images from Yugoslav history are presented, ranging from formal films, in which a general welcomes officials, to archive footage of factory workers or fashion advertisements. On the last snip of the scissors, a pair of athletes runs in the mountains, a colourful image of idyllic bodies in a healthy environment, the paroxysm of the highly conventional aspect of this televised presentation of Yugoslavia. Each cut allows a little more of the face to be seen, but resembles a wound connected to each moment of this media review. Once again, Sanja Ivekovic transcribes the process of the media's powerful influence on our personality. While each cut symbolises the wounding of an individual, it also represents one step further towards normality. As the official doctrine undertakes its brainwashing, the head appears, stripped of its mask of rebellion and anonymity. From the hidden face of a rebel to the conventional portrait, we are presented with the official history, which normalises the mind as it forms it.

Patricia Maincent