Katalin Ladik

Katalin Ladik is a poet, actress, visual artist and performer. She began publishing her poems in Hungarian at the end of the 1960s, and she acted in Hungarian radio plays (1963–1977) and at the theatre of Novi Sad until 1992—at which point she moved to Budapest, where she lives today. The beginning of her activities in the visual arts is connected with her poetry performances. As part of her work on stretching the limits of poetry, she researched its phonic and visual possibilities and eventually concluded that the written word was not enough for her. In her interpretations of her poetry and texts, therefore, she would strive to perform in the sense of fictional narrativity and recognizable ritual allusions. That was how she first linked together her interests in archaic and avant-garde elements in music and art. As a woman author who uses her naked body in performance, she appropriated the montage principle in image and sound, emphasizing the relationship between voice and body in order to experience the physical aspects of the voice. And in a way that was critical and subversive, she exhibited her eroticized body in order to express her determination to behave honestly and freely in art and life. That, during the early 1970s, was a sign of liberalisation, a specific transgression of the “public” and the “private,” and it most certainly implied shifting the boundaries of freedom.

Since her work was multimedia in character, the beginning of the 1970s saw her participating in the visual arts, theatre and music scenes in connection with organizations including the Youth Platform (Tribina mladih) in Novi Sad, the theatre Atelje 212 in Belgrade, the Extended Media Festival (April Meetings) (Festival proširenih medija, Aprilski susreti), and the Avant-Garde Music Biennial and Genre Film Festival in Zagreb. She exhibited at visual poetry festivals (Utrecht, Amsterdam, etc.), participated in the “mail art” movement, and she also—owing to her expressive, self-reflexive and feminist performances—became widely known outside the gallery scene. She belonged to the “new art practice” and was a member of the conceptual group Bosch and Bosch from Vojvodina. She is one of the original protagonists of body art and performance in former Yugoslavia, and her role has been emphatically emancipatory. Her recent performances are described by Miško Šuvaković, author of the study Moć žene – Katalin Ladik (The Power of Woman – Katalin Ladik), as postmodern performances of the spectacle.




1942, Novi Sad / RS, at that time Jugoslavija

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  • Photo: Adam Sakovy