Marta Jovanović (RS) The Beauty of Tight Binding

performance, 2016

Using the method of erotic practice known as Shibari (in Japanese “to tie”), Jovanović creates a durational performance piece investigating the space between performance art, guilt, sexuality, judgement, morality, aesthetics, crime and punishment and the possibility of ecstasy those elements bring together. Shibari originates in the Hojo-jutsu martial arts technique of binding captives and a form of torture practiced in Japan between 1400 and 1700. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the technique morphed into the erotic bondage discipline Kinbaku, translated as “the beauty of tight binding” from which the performance derives its name.

In collaboration with a popular local rigger (in BDSM* language Top), Jovanović (the model, in BDSM* language the Bottom) is restrained and hung in the gallery on display in an attempt to experience “an increased level of endorphins and other hormones, creating a trance-like experience for the bottom/model and an adrenaline rush for the Top/rigger.” Also “when a Shibari scene is performed with appropriate ambience, these effects are actually visible in the face of the model. The term “rope drunk” is sometimes affectionately used to describe the euphoric condition of the model after a Shibari experience. There is a collaboration between the Shibari artist (the rigger/Top) and the Shibari canvas (the model/bottom) to create a combination of effects including visual beauty, power exchange, helplessness, relaxation, and sub space and top space physiological experiences.”** The audience is invited to participate in the performance.

* BDSM is a variety of often erotic practices or roleplaying involving bondage, discipline, dominance and submission, sadomasochism, and other interpersonal dynamics.


Marta Jovanović (RS)

Marta Jovanović constructs scenarios in which she interrogates politics, identity, beauty, and sexuality. Her interdisciplinary practice is an invitation to disregard conventional notions of society and embrace a more democratic vision, free from all constraints. Jovanović received a bachelor of arts degree from Tulane University in 2001 after attending Scuola Lorenzo de Medici in Florence, Italy. Her works have been presented in solo and group exhibitions internationally. She participated as a speaker at Venice Agendas at the 55th Venice Biennial along with Joan Jonas and Hans Ulrich Obrist. In 2013, Dr. Kathy Battista wrote the book Marta Jovanović: Performing the self published by the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, of the City University of New York. In 2015, she founded Performance HUB, the platform for education on performance art in her native Belgrade.