Women as a sign

Text by Biljana Vukotić / Curator at Museum of Applied Arts, Belgrade, Serbia

From the catalog/exhibition" A women Artist" at the Museum of applied Arts, Belgrade/ nov 2012-jan2013

Valentina Savić belongs to a number of international 
ceramists who, during 1990’s, entered the realm 
of sculpture and design and rebound 
the elements of 
certain major art movements, such as Dadaism, surrealism, 
pop art, new realism, conceptual art, entered 
Belgrade art scene at the beginning of the new millennium. 
The circumstances that were essential for her 
artistic growth, what defined her, were a visit to Dali’s 
museum in Figueras, her specialization in Paris.

 Milk 2009 / photo Vlada Popović

Milk 2009
earthenware, wood 250 x 50 x 50 cm
photo Vlada Popović

She notes down, and then works out and analyzes
her ideas for months, or for years, until the right time
comes for their materialization, that is the moment in
which the first ideas get together, fit into one another
and gain their justification. The realization itself happens
quickly. In the process of creation the conception
of the work is reduced to longer lasting media: metal,
wood, plastic, performance, video, poster.

The yearlong  conceptual experimentation with,
and interdisciplinary contemplation of various art
phenomena represent Valentina Savić ‘s contribution
to new positioning of female artists who, with their
actions in various cultural and artistic regions became
visible, tearing down stereotypes of civic ideology established
by the “naturally” divided identities of man
and woman. In other words, Valentina Savić is, with
her clear artistic and theoretically argumented attitude,
both sign and icon of new Belgrade ceramic scene, as
Marina Gržinić wrote. Women as a sign, as noted by
Griselda Pollock, defines social order, if the sign is, she
wrote, wrongly used it can threaten the established
order. “This formulation enables us to recognize, at the
same time, the centrality and the critical value of the
representation of woman in patriarchal culture”,1 and
allows the insight into the radical potential of its analysis
and subversion.
The conceptually conceived radical turn in
Valentina Savić ‘s work happened at their individual
conceptual multimedia exhibition in 2003. There she
exhibited porcelain sculpture Cube or Valentina which
is composed of multiplicated cubes whose spaces she
fills with the prints of her own body’s parts made in

Valentina 2003
Cube 2003

 The sculpture Cube thus became for her
at the same time a symbol and question of her own
identity, and breaking the boundaries between private
and public space. In exhibiting the parts of her body
she tried to mark the private personal space. The constant
dialectic between the personal and the public,
the interior and exterior which begins with this work
will become one of the main characteristic of her later
artistic research.

At her MA exhibition The Contemporary Ornaments
and Ceramics in Cultural center District, which functioned
in Museum of Applied Art (2007), she showed a
sophisticated porcelain installation in which Valentina
Savić dealt with ornament in architectural, artistic and
phenomenal senses.

Gate   2007

 The installation comprises individual
sculptures: Cube, Window, Gate and Center. With
these works and with the her careful consideration of
the postmodern treatment of the contemporary ornament,
the artist boldly enters the realms of “sculpture
and design”.

Window 2007

Soon after this exhibition, there came a huge turn
in her work. In the cycle titled Consumation, she begun
to explore our relationship towards expenditure, and
the possibility of consumerism in the contemporary
 Milk 2009

 What is offered at the market – Powder Case,
 what is allowed – Milk
 and what is imposed on – Skittles
the contemporary human being to use, followed by
questioning of the value from the perspective of the
contemporary society.

 Wings of desire, 2011 photo Vlada Popović

Installation Wings of Desire from the Museum’s collection
2011 purchased at the
16th Ceramics Biennial Belgrade (2011), belongs to the
cycle titled Consumation. It was made in porcelain and
was decorated with black engobe and transparent glaze.
Its composition consists of two printed forex round
plates and 30 porcelain parts. The first plate carries 28
porcelain wings, in black engobe, in various nuances –
from black, to dark and light gray, to white. Parts of the
composition are lined in such way to form a cone, from
the darkest hues at the bottom, to grey in the middle
and white on top. On the other plate there are two porcelain
breasts, with transparent glaze on top of them.
Each porcelain part is molded: the molds of real objects
were made and they cannot be repeated. This work was
exhibited at The Ceramic Biennial Manises, in Spain,
2011, and at The Ceramic Biennial Belgrade, 2011.

The concept of the Wings of Desire can be read in
various ways, and the main idea was about the relationship
between art and crime which occurred on June 11,
1981, in France.

The same crime inspired the Stranglers for their
song La folie loved by the generations of 1980’s. As
Valentina Savić notes herself, “We artists are also part
of the imposed information and images which we store
and think that we transform the social images into personal
archetypes.” On the other hand, the work can be
read as well as a part of her subversive creations from
cycles Milk and Powder Case.

The title of Wings of Desire originates from Wim
Wenders’ film Wings of Desire, and it allows us to read it
in various ways, which enter the field of human spirituality,
and in this work it takes over also a new sense that
is clearly reflected in the subtitle Angelopathie, which
also reflects upon the subject of the sacred, spiritual
purity and sins. If it is, however, looked at from the positions
of the initial information, the work is disturbing,

Biljana Vukotic
Curator at Museum of Applied Arts