Skok / Jump | Renata Poljak


Skok / Jump
Video work, 4 min, 2000

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The artist climbs a diving platform at the coast. She wears a bathing suit, cap and make-up. She walks along the springboard, back and forth, repeating in French, “Shall I jump or not, shall I jump or not...”,  then in Croatian, “If I jump all my make-up will be removed” and starts over to walk back and forth obsessively. Her sweat makes the color in her face drip.

…The projection on the screen that hangs in the aerial inter-space is also blue – the sea, the sky, and a lonely female figure walking nervously, high on the diving board. The original perplexity whether to dive into water or not is expressed in different languages, which elevates it into a higher level. Renata lives in France; however, in her native country migrations are mostly massive and brutal, and every experience of translocation/displacement is conceived as traumatic, disregarding the specific lifestyle that shapes it. There is a need to express the language trauma. The trivial outcome of narcissistic appearance endangered by the removal of make-up is deadly serious indeed. The dilemma is extremely important – “who am I and what do I want to be”, as it is expressed by Lucy Lippard in connection to the use of autobiography in the feminist art of the 70s. There is make-up involved, a classical feminist prop. But the make-up is also about appearance, about style, chains of denotators participating in the construction of gender that is not originally and naturally given. Perplexity turns into a problem, a “thing” that stands in our way, something that stops us from dying, as deduced by Vilém Flusser. In modern anthropology it is implicitly stated that one of the men’s highest capabilities is the ability to make decisions. The whole political discussion of modernity is about the question of freedom of decision-making…*

2000   VideoMedeja Award, Novi Sad, Serbia for Skok/Jump

— * N. Ilic, Falling into Circularity, in cat. Did she fall or was she pushed?, Zagreb, 2001