Paper Women, 1976-1977

Collage, 7 elements of various dimensions

In Iveković’s early work, she appears as the protagonist with the intent to explore the situation of women in our time and society. The works from this period accentuate the socio-political discourse of imagery of women, especially with regards to two institutions specialising in visual politics: the press and television. Iveković analyses how the media constructs identity and reveals how routines in our daily lives are affected by fashion, advertising and celebrity culture.

In the work Double Life, consisting in 62 pairs of photographs, she juxtaposes an image taken from an advertisement with a personal photograph showing striking parallels between the poses. The reading that emerges here lends an allegorical quality to both the public and the private image. The personal picture seems to accommodate the social codes and conventions of everyday life transmitted by the mass media. [1] She has also used images of newspaper crime reports or notices of missing young women such as in the work The Black File. The piece is presented as in a police file confronting missingperson notices from newspapers—containing the name and description of a missing young woman under a photograph— with erotic magazine portraits of young women, where the caption includes only the girl’s first name and age.

The series of photographs Paper Women consists of various reproductions of women taken from magazines, with Ivekovićs own interventions in the form of alterations or damage. Faces of female fashion models—archetypal women— are distorted, scratched, pierced and cut. This physical aggression creates a disturbing sense of unease and suggests that the seductiveness of these images rests upon their superficiality, exposing their objectified nature.

Besides exploring the structure and social-ideological implications of the mass media, in her many performances she also examines the performative structures of the art world in the form of an institutional critique. Her later work from the 1990s deals primarily with the collapse of socialist regimes and the consequences of the extension of capitalism and the market economy for living conditions, particularly those of women. The work of the last two decades has an added greater sense of political activism, yet the artist herself has increasingly retreated into the background, appearing less frequently in her own work or in her performances.

[1] Eiblmayr, Silvia Eiblmayr. ‘Personal Cuts’ Cuts, in Sanja Iveković, Vienna: Galerie im Taxispalais, 2001.

Technical details

Original title:
Paper Women
Registration number:
Iveković, Sanja
Date created:
Date acquired:
On loan
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
Object type:
Collage on paper
7 elements of various dimensions
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
© Sanja Ivekovic
It has accessibility resources:

Accessibility resources
Audio description

The MACBA Collection features Catalan, Spanish and international art and, although it includes works from the 1920s onwards, its primary focus is on the period between the 1960s and the present.

For more information on the work or the artist, please consult MACBA's Library. To request a loan of the work, please write to colleccio [at] macba.cat.

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Sanja Iveković "Paper Women", 1976-1977
Sanja Iveković "Paper Women", 1976-1977