Explore the female gaze with this ex-Yugoslav artist

Explore the female gaze with this ex-Yugoslav artist

9 March 2018

Dragana Jurišić is an ex-Yugoslav artist based in Ireland whose photobook YU: The Lost Country was previously featured on The Calvert Journal’s selection of the best photobooks from the New East. She also has an Instagram account where she posts photos and thoughts on her work process and projects.

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Jurišić‘s latest project is called My Own Unknown, in which different chapters address various stories and issues. In the chapter titled 100 Muses Jurišić challenges the cliche of male artists producing images of a nude female muse by exploring the female gaze and giving agency to the hypothetical muse: she lets her to decide how she is presented in the image and gives her props that she can use to model.

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“Women in these photographs directed themselves; they also chose the image that would represent them. The power relationship between an artist and a muse seems primarily to be one of exploitation. The female muse is often seen as passive. And I did not want this to happen with my project. When the 100 women came forward to be photographed nude, I made sure they became active agents in the process and took their representation into their own hands. This is very important in the Irish context. Here we are in 2018, in a first world country in which women are denied their basic human rights to choose. Once we get pregnant, our bodies no longer belong to us but to the state; our reproductive choices are taken away from us. 100 Muses tries in some small way to readdress these and other power issues,” she writes.

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My Own Unknown exhibition is currently on at the Gallery of Photography, Ireland until 25th March. YU: The Lost Country is on at the Glucksman Museum until 11 March, and another edition is opening on 30 March in Noorderlicht Gallery in Holland.