International Biennial of Contemporary Art Ljubljana,
23 June - 24 September 2000
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Cankarjev Dom
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Maja Bajević
  *1967, lives in Sarajevo

Women at Work, 1999, video, 25 min.
(documentation of action)

The video film Women at Work is the story of a five-day artistic action. The action was carried out during the renewal of the National Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo, as a part of a series of projects called Under Construction, which has used the scaffolding around the exhibition space. It was performed by five refugee women. For five days, each one wove her own pattern on a net that covered or was stretched over the scaffolding. The camera follows them during the day and at night when they work under the lamplight. The women took over the gallery and combined the recent history of Bosnia and Herzegovina with the history held in the gallery itself. With their work they also established a link between the man's work on the scaffolding and typical women's handicraft. The handicraft symbolises the revival of the home and the conquering of new space in a typical female manner. Maja Bajevia observed that this was something that many women refugees did when they arrived in a completely new environment. An interesting moment in the story occurs when a female observer asks the camera operator what will happen with the handiwork once the action is completed. She is not completely satisfied by the answer that it will probably be cut out of the net, because she believes that these works should be exhibited in a gallery context, as they are handcrafted documents of a certain time, made in a new context. The observer is stopped dead in her tracks only when she is told that these are handcrafted works precisely because they are an integral part of the action and not in their own right.

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