Jasminka Končić / My daily life as wife and mother
„Woman is a being that dresses, blabbers, and undresses“
Jasminka Končić’s „My Daily Life (as Wife and Mother)“ is an integral part of questioning themes related to women’s nature and number of imposed life roles within the discourse of continuous labour, placed in the niche of traditionally untouchable prejudices. Such labour is sometimes paid, and sometimes not in this life-long performance. It is bizarre because (at least until now) all attempts of “liberating” women mostly resulted in increase, and not decrease in the quantity of their roles and duties. “My Daily Life (as Wife and Mother)” is dealing with honouring daily, frequently undervalued housekeeping work, essential to proper running of a household. It comprises three units.
The first one consists of section of documentary photographs, thematically divided into motifs representing household work (cleaning, cooking, and dish washing), with books, shoes and perfume bottles placed on the bases in front of them. They were bought as a compensation for performing the mentioned work, using money the author paradoxically paid herself at a professional domestic worker’s hourly wage for 76 weeks, during which she worked 4 days per week, 6 hours a day. This Dadaistic ridicule of canon using self-irony resulted in optimistic gathering of small life pleasures through objects identifying intimate personal nature. Focus shifted from thanatos to eros, from critique of almost static system of (non)values to the reflection of identity in constantly playful evasion.
The second one comprises clothes bought with the same money as the items above, so the space in which they are displayed becomes a wardrobe of a sort – a place of changing clothes and releasing of manifold interpretations; third exhibition unit is impregnated by stop-motion film projections with the aim to create a horror vacui atmosphere in the small room. This is achieved by piling up creased clothes. Pile gets smaller by ironing clothes; however, it is also constantly replenished with new contributions, so the feeling of suffocation because of the physical narrowness of the room and spiritual futility of the process is inevitable.
These three units are thematically rounded and upgraded by the artwork entitled “104 – S 36/38“, displayed in the final exhibition room. It is the evocation of the artist’s childhood memories and her mother’s role in it, created under the influence of her own motherhood experience, so it is an inverse situation. The author takes from her family photo album childhood photos of her wearing her favourite clothes (shirts, dresses and skirts) and resizes them from her child size of 104 to her today’s size of S 36/38. By doing so, she tries to keep touch with her past and connection to her mother who took great care about her clothes. Clothes that underwent size change become a place of emotional safe zone and identification, a space of memory.
„My Daily Life (as Wife and Mother)” is a retrospective and auto-referential intimate journal based on questions of female identity. It is also a deconstructive multimedia ambient and a repressive critique of a model normally accepted by society as its own reality and routine. However, Jasmina Končić’s approach does not have any pretensions of possessing new knowledge about fatalistic concept that includes artificial deployment of gender roles and their decomposition or reconstruction. The author rather encourages creating networks of new connections, affirming on a personal level the direct confrontation of all interested people with their own constructions related to the given theme. Starting from themselves as guests of their own memory.
Jasminka Končić was born on 9 September 1973 in Zagreb, Croatia. She earned a bachelor degree in graphic arts from The Academy of Fine Arts, University of Zagreb in 1997 under professor Miroslav Šutej. In 2012 she earned her master’s degree in sculpture under professor Alen Ožbolt from the The Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana in Slovenia; the master’s thesis titled Two-dimensional Textiles and Their Process of Transformation into Three-dimensional Sculptural Forms. Also that year, she started working towards her PhD degree in the field of fashion design at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering, University of Ljubljana; the doctoral thesis titled Clothing and the Language of Fashion in Contemporary Art. Since 2001 Jasminka Končić has been working at the Faculty of Textile Technology, University of Zagreb; first as a part-time and later as an undergraduate teaching assistant, and in 2011 she became an assistant professor at the Department of Textile and Clothing Design.
She teaches classes on fashion design and the design of fashion accessories. As an art student, Jasminka Končić was a founding member of an art group Daklelososi. It was founded in 1996 in Zagreb and staged fashion performances. She is an art manager of the Green Room gallery in Zabok, a member of the advisory board for the University of Zagreb’s art gallery TTF and also a member of The Croatian Association of Visual Artists (HDLU). For her artistic and pedagogic work, Jasminka Končić was awarded a number of times. She has been exhibiting independently and collectively at home and abroad since 1996.