Galleries Photography: Vanja Buchanan: Birds of Paradise

Photo collage series The birds of heaven (Birds of paradise) Was created during the epidemic, when the artist Bhanja Bukan, Suddenly trapped inside her home, began to reconsider questions about the social structure of gender, the meaning of motherhood, and the role of women in a home. Buchanan’s collages show women floating in the imaginary environment of urban nature and show abstract moments on the table – the long-term boundaries of kitchen space, the result of a home routine and household chores. At the same time, they are also a personal reflection of a woman’s role as a housewife and primary caregiver.

All over the world, women are stuck in the daily routine of household. In the eyes of the artist, this unpaid labor transforms them into invisible bodies, serving and caring only for the existence of others. [1] Sylvia Federiki, a feminist activist, writes about domestic work: “It is important to recognize that when we talk about domestic work, we are not talking about work like any other work, but the most ubiquitous manipulation and the most subtle violence capitalism. Ever committed a crime against any part of the working class. A [2] In his influential essay, written in 1975, Federiki argues that housework unpaid reinforces the notion that housework is not work. Work. This suffix is ​​further reinforced by the presentation of domestic work as a natural, unavoidable and satisfying activity, which is primarily intended for the female sex. “We are all housewives because, no matter where we are, we always have more work to do, more fear to press our demands and less pressure to satisfy them. […]. [3] This is the semblance of women as ‘natural’ domestic workers, Buan addresses in his latest series of photo collages, where he transfers women from the kitchen to the ideal environment of nature.

In his work, Buchanan often combines human imagery with fictional landscapes. Inside The birds of heavenHowever, nature takes on a completely symbolic role, which is no longer the focus. She created her collages by photographing and then photographing women in the created natural environment, imaginary oasis and gardens, where they seem to be floating out of space and time. Buan described it as the first step in freeing women from captivity in the domestic environment and establishing them in the place of utopian independence. However, the author quickly realized that he had inadvertently merged the two entities, often subject to idealization and productivation, such as the female body and nature. The birds of the heavens, like the female form, have a definite identity for them and are defined by their meanings of beauty and externality, even if these markers are created by an ethnocentric view of nature – the birds of the heavens certainly do not live in “heaven”. . Nature, like women, is often the victim of attempts to dominate the logic of capital. For this reason, Buan divides the series into two parts – the first features the female body in the natural environment, floating like a bird in the sky, and the second, where the women are “assigned to the workers at the table, centered around any family.”

Buan commented on the complex social situation with subtlety and humor, revealing only the balanced relationship between women and household chores. Birds of Paradise does not represent trauma or remorse, but reconsiders worldly moments, such as preparing food or pausing briefly at the kitchen table. Buchanan women have been stripped of their personalities, they are no longer autonomous. Instead, they are presented as a group of working hands, reducing their existence and work to a home kitchen space. Just as the “bird of heaven” belongs to a fictional “heaven”, so women are forced to do housework indiscriminately. Through hand photographs of corpses and the formation of imaginary communities in the natural environment, the artist creates a utopian scenario to avoid the role that society assigns to us.

By exhibition text: Hannah Seferin

Bhanja Bukan (1973) A Slovenian freelance photographer who lives and works in Berlin, Germany. After his formative years, after graduating from The Hague’s Royal Academy of Arts, he developed his own artistic style, focusing on representation and the relationship between man and nature. Her distinctive photographic approach has earned her several international awards and nominations. Its main exhibits include Kunthaus Win (Austria), Lentos Kunstmuseum (Austria), Benaki Museum (Greece), Lishui Museum of Art (China), Caf Art Museum Beijing (China), Museum of Modern Art in Banjavia and Banjavia , Festivals such as Circulation Paris, Biel Photo Festival, Athens Photo Festival, Solar Photo Festival, Month of Photography Los Angeles, Leica Gallery Wetzler, Getty Images Gallery London, Poznan Photo Biennial and major European art fairs.

Bhanja Bukan: Birds of Paradise
Until June 24, 2022
Gallery photography
Levstikov trg 7
Lublajana / Sloveniza

[1] Women in Western Europe lost their right to be employed in lucrative jobs in the 16th and 17th centuries, when they gradually declined to the role of housemaids, when crafts or other forms of production were devalued and unpaid, or profits were made. Swami. . See Silvia Federici, Caliban and the Witch (New York: Autonomedia, 2004), 92-100.

[2] Sylvia Federiki, “Wages for Housework (1975)”, The Zero Point Revolution. Housework, Reproduction, and the Feminist Struggle (New York: PM Press, 2012), 28.

[3] Ibid., 36.

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