Milica Tomic: Serbian Performance Artist
Works and lives in Belgrade as visual artist, primarily video, film, photography, performance, action, light and sound installation, web projects, discussions etc.Tomic's work centres on issues of political violence, nationality and identity, with particular attention to the tensions between personal experience and media constructed images.
"If we want to grasp the signiﬁcance of Milica Tomic´s art, it will be important for us to focus on her artistic procedures. The model of reasoning which Tomic develops for her work is the key: it lends general validity to the topics and content she dealswith, thus transcending the respective political occasion and pointing to both past and future. (...) Tomic does not comment from a seemingly neutral "correct" viewpoint, looking inside from the outside, but turns herself into part of the scenario so as to trigger an analytical process from this unstable position that is always also rooted in the imaginary."Quoted by Silvia Eiblmayr, introduction to the catalogue "Milica Tomic", Galerie im Taxispalais, Innsbruck, Austria
In her video work ”I am Milica Tomic” (1998/99), which was also adapted for the internet, the artist deals with the question of her identity through such statements as, ”I am a Serb and Othodox Christian”. She opposes the demand to be part of the ”sane” population and decides to speak publicly from the position of the injured in order to reveal the trauma underlying certain contructions of identity. Tomic stands before us in a white slip; she is radiantly beautiful with a heavenly glow about her. The sentence ”I am Milica Tomic – I am Serbian” is followed suit by the statement ”I am Milica Tomic – I am Korean” or ”-I am Norwegian,” etc. She repeats this 65 times, substituting different languages and nations each time. I am Austrian, I am American, and so on. With each sentence a new wound appears, so that by the time she finishes, she is completely covered in blood-spounting gashes. After all 65 recitations, everything closes up, her body is intact once more, and the whole thing starts all over again. Exploring the nature and the emergence of identity, Tomic creates a host of conceivable identities which stand in for an imagined society of pluralities. Through this imaginative gesture, the artist calls into question the borderlines between the circumscribed spaces of national and religious belonging and the recent spectre of globalized individual experience.
In her video work ”xy – reconstruction of the crime” (1997), she refers directly to the beginning of the war in Yugoslavia and to the violation of Human Rights by Serbian police. In her symbolic reconstruction, the artist shows the 40 people who were shot by Serbian police in Kosovo in March 1989 while demonstrating against the abrogation of Kosovo´s autonomy. Tomic points to the fundamental problem of reconstructing a crime and discusses the interrelation between a reality co-produced by the media and fiction.
Source: ME Contemporary (Copenhagen): http://www.mecontemporary.com/artists/milica-tomic/info.htm.
In conjunction with the exhibition Global Feminisms, feminist artists from more than fifty countries discussed or performed their works in the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art Forum. These artist talks took place during the Center's opening weekend March 23-25, 2007. Video courtesy of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation.