Mateja Rusak was born in 1989 in Varaždin where she completed the elementary school and the graphic design high school. In 2013 she graduated with MA in Art Education from the Academy of Applied Arts in the class of Professor Jasna Šikanja. Since 2014 she’s been working as a fine arts and design teacher at a secondary vocational school in Varaždin. She is a member of The Croatian Association of Visual Artists in Varaždin since 2015. Her works have been exhibited at five solo shows and over 20 group shows in Croatia and abroad. For the series of photographs titled Water Game in 2012 she won Viktor Hreljanović award at the international photography show The Third Element. The same year she received the Plate for Achievement from the University of Rijeka. She participated in 15th and 16th International Graphic Art Workshops in 2016 and 2017 on Architecture and History of the City of Celje, for which she was awarded a commendation for developing visual culture of youth. At the Winter Art Colony in Karlovac she ran an art workshop. During 2017, 2018 and 2019 she mentored the school students who won the awards at the Croatian and international art competitions in Slovenia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Romania, India, Belarus and Bulgaria.
WOMEN ABOUT WOMEN, touring
Serbia - Montenegro - Croatia - Slovenia - North Macedonia
This exhibition gathers twenty-five female visual artists from the region of Western Balkans, that is territories of Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia and North Macedonia. Through liaison of female curators and female artists we raise awareness of the female angle of observation and reaction to reality, in the creativity field of life. In direct contact with artistic processes, living creative energy, the role of us curators is in the process of the observation, gathering, capturing the present and documenting it. The two exhibitions „Women about women“ (touring and residential), both in real and virtual spaces, in the physical reality and virtual reality will be testimony of that. Why woman? Because only a woman knows what and how she feels. Why about woman? Because a woman is a subject not an object. Why art? Because it is closest to the truth. Why region? Because of the need to network. Why project? To testify of present and carry the message. The topic of women is not new. Throughout the history of art, women have been and remain an inexhaustible motif. The inspiration of a woman in a specific way carries antipodes and rests somewhere on the line between borderline feelings towards her. Woman is a living organism and the best witness of our existence. Time flows and thoughts change, and so does the role of women in society. This exhibition is dedicated to the topic of women, yet by women. It raises the question from the inside to the outside, about of her inner states of being. That is why it is an immediate and concrete, raw theme that opens up to the observer in direct communication. It is not a close form of one’s vision but a moment of expressing a woman’s emotion in the process. Noting that the topic of women is very present in the art now, the artistic need to express women as active participants, and not the subject of worship or hatred, beauty or ugliness, lust or fear, this exhibition seeks to affirm the new context of observation from reality, not just from theory. Focusing on the above, it aims to provide insight into the female aspects of creativity today, to testify and document the present and activate the question of the extent to which the role of women in art is shaped by society and vice versa, how society affects women’s creativity. We are witnesses that there have always been women who appear as individuals and leave an indelible mark in history and society, and this exhibition carries a message from the present. Exhibition „Women about women“ is a part of the international project with multiple activities, implying the direct connection between art and social reality. The project starts from art because art is closest to the truth and most open to the experience and further communication. The selection of artists clearly indicates a combination of different forms of artistic expression from the same basis – the echo of the inner female being and the need to release the power she carries within herself, something as artistically shaped moan, scream, thoughts from which the idea was borned and formed the concept. In accordance with contemporary trends and new media the artists express themselves in a unique way in various media, from painting and drawing, through photography and sculpture forms and sculpture installation, videos to performance. Heterogeneity of visual expression is an inevitable phenomenon of the modern age, as well as the diversity of media in which or with which they are expressed. In addition to the media, diversity is also visible in different approach to the women’s identities in contemporary art, from forms through abstraction to the feminist artistic practices. This exhibition tends to give some answers to that. This first of two exhibitions Woman about woman includes artists pre-selected by non-institutional curators with years of experiences of curating practice from Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Croatia and Slovenia. The selection for the future second exhibition will happen via the open call and will include more territory from European Union. Biljana Jotić, art director and initiator Selectors: Biljana Jotić, Serbia Sonja Švec Španjol, Croatia Nela Gligorović, Montenegro Anamarija Stibij Šajn, Slovenia Shquipe Mehmeti, North Macedonia