Jelisaveta Rapaić

I will build a wall only to hide u inside

24/05 —22/06/2024

Jelisaveta Rapaić’s textile installations and space interventions are often characterized by the examination of ‘high-pressure contemporary culture anxieties’, such as wellness, wage making, mental health and womanhood, as well as individual and collective coping of the pressing issues. In this process, she is interested in the mechanisms by which we individually and collectively cope with current pressing issues, and the ways in which different systems of care are established and function.

With new textile works in the exhibition I will build a wall only to hide u inside, she presents a different chapter in her artistic practice and begins exploration of the discourse that has recently revolved around textile art, as well as her own ambivalent relationship to its role. Her research in material revolves around the question of whether textile art can transcend its historical associations and ever be fully understood as an empowering feminist practice. Textile art seems to be gaining more attention in the visual arts in recent years, but this raises the question of whether it can also be freed from the Western view of textile and fiber art as crafts, women's work or indigenous artistic practices in this new context. Through her work, the artist questions the ways in which the textile medium can be used to build new narratives and contexts, which she suggests by framing textiles in a deliberate and playful way that literally distinguishes them from craft and places them in the context of ‘institutionalised art'. In a distinctive manner, she also subtly weaves personal stories and feelings into the critical exploration of fiber art, which is potentiated in the space below, where she shares her thoughts through voice messages and sheds light on the process of creating the works.

The central motif of the wall, which represents a solid, enclosed form, is subverted by embroidering this motif in the soft textures of the textile medium, while also exploring the false sense of security we often associate with walls by subtly adding some of the personal motifs and helping tools. By playing with the double meanings of safe, stable, walls, which hide things that are precious to us, but also represent limiting structures, she also questions her own precarious position in the world, navigating through limiting patriarchal and traditional structures, and at the same time addresses her mixed feelings towards fiber art and the clichés associated with it.

By highlighting and hiding some of the distinctive elements in the exhibition space the artist is playing with double meanings, ambiguous definitions, secret spaces and safe corners, while confronting us with questions: what lies within these walls and how to disrupt the existing patterns and break free from these seemingly unbreakable structures?

Jelisaveta Rapaić (1997) is an artist and an independent curator from Belgrade. She has gained her Bachelor’s degree of design at the Textile Design department of the Faculty of Applied Arts, in Belgrade (2019) and her Master’s in Fine Arts at the studio VVV of Intermedia at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava (2021), during which she participated in a student exchange program at KASK & Conservatorium / School of Arts Gent (2020) at the Media Kunst and Performance studios and she took part at BAK (basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht) Summer Winter School in Bratislava (2019), WHW Akademija in Zagreb (2023) and is currently part of a temporary collective Question Me and Answer in Vienna (2024). At the beginning of the pandemic (2020) she opened a traveling pop-up hair salon where she offered hair-cutting therapy sessions in exchange for goods and services, titled We Are Open. After finishing her studies she took part at the Cite Internationale des Arts, artist residency in Paris (2021). Some of the exhibitions she took part in are Salon Jelisaveta: true hell comes from within, PAF Gallery, Olomouc (2023), Its Okay to Cry, Organ Vida Festival, UGM, Maribor (2023), Whoever Settles in a Perfect Home Will Have to Move, Glassbox Nord, Paris (2023), Dizzeyland, Medium Gallery, Bratislava (2022), My Tenderness Is My Biggest Weapon, Apart Collective, Bratislava (2022). Up until its recent abolishment, she worked as a public program curator and PR for Kunsthalle Bratislava where she has, more notably, curated The rotten smell is you (2023) and co-curated …and they lived… (2023)

Lara Mejač, kuratorka razstave

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