Performance / Installation / Audio

You make a good coffee, you are ready for marriage... Do you want to stop by for a coffee? ...Come on, woman, make us some coffee!

In this work, commissioned by gallery U10 for the exhibition 'Under your gaze', Maja Simišić uses the kitchen as her space and coffee brewing as a method of expression. She puts herself in the position of a housewife who, as a phenomenon has throughout history to this day, been hypersexualized, and at the same time completely sexually repressed. Relying on the theoretical work of Silvia Federici, the artist explores the space between extreme sexualization, (and what is its opposite) as well as the kitchen, which is part of the home that causes positive emotions of pleasure in preparing a delicious meal, but also frustration when someone does not know how to use it. The kitchen carries with it a dichotomy of pleasure and oppression. Those two narratives alternate from second to second in this work. The kitchen is the epicenter of women's existence, and the sentence "A woman's place is in the kitchen" can be heard unironically even today. This is precisely why the artist turns to this haunted space of our female ancestors, and instead of running away from such an outdated and sexist narrative, she places herself in the role of the housewife. This work also problematizes the concept of home, kitchen, and housewife as concepts of private and inaccessible to the view of the outside world and opens the door in which they now become public.

During the performance, the artist is preparing cappuccino and creates choreography with the audio which is Vivaldi's Nisi Dominus. At some point mixed with the classical music, you can hear a crescendo of male orgasm. At the same moment, she is frothing the milk with a hand-manipulated milk foamer culminating until the moment the male voice cums. The milk frother and the movement connected to it show a latent parallel to a real human hand job. Therefore depicting two male pleasures at the same time: making coffee and making him cum, but without him even being there.

Text Bojana Jovanović, curator Jovana Trifuljesko

Protest / Performance / Installation

2021, 2022, 
on-going until I get married
‘Wifey4Lifey’ is part of my ongoing long-term project called Diaspora Dream. The dream is to come to the west and get married. Living the good life. I have Serbian citizenship, and Serbia is not part of the European Union. That means that after I graduated from my Bachelor's studies in the summer/autumn of 2021 my student visa stopped and I had to get another visa to stay in the Netherlands. On the 15th of September, I applied for the 'Orientation year visa'. As the start of the visa is counted from the date you apply for it, my 365 days started on the 15th of September 2021. Every day leaves me fewer and fewer days until my visa runs out, and as the name of the visa suggests this visa is made to give non-EU students an extra year to think and figure out if they want to stay in the Netherlands and then apply for another visa. For example, find work, start another study or get married. Those are the three basic options. Marriage would be the choice with the biggest perks. Therefore I organized my wedding on the 15th of June 2022 at Museumplein in Rotterdam, with the position of the groom being open, inviting individuals from the public to propose to me.

The rules and regulations about visa requirements made me wonder; am I as a non-EU female more worthy within the institution of marriage than just as a person on my own?

Premier of ‘Wifey4Lifey’ mockumentary at Dutch Design Week [22nd - 31st of October in Eindhoven, NL]

Photographs by Eden Calgie

Video / Research / Public Discourse

2022, on-going 
'Can long fake nails be an anti-capitalist/pro-restivist tool in the everyday practice of modern beauty standards?'

Since January 2022 The Nail Project has been a method developed to deal with the topic of  'Fake acrylic nails as an anti-capitalist/pro-restivist tool in the everyday practice of modern beauty standards'. The beginning of the project is rooted in my own experience, based on the particular judgment and disgust I’ve had with beauty practices and hyper femininity seen in mass media (instagram, youtube beauty tutorials, fashion magazines …). These pink priced models that are being branded as a way of self care. Investing money and time in your appearance are becoming a new norm women need to live up to. This particular burden of investing in yourself is characteristic for the contemporary female experience.

In my artistic practice I often use the methodology of 'restroying' which, in a nutshell, is a way that I deal with subjects that frustrate me or I disagree with. I take these social phenomenons and play with them until they turn into something new, something I like. Therefore, I took fake nails as something I really did not like and tried to develop it into something more graspable for myself. Usually that method includes a lot of humor, but as well as genuinity.

1. The Brief: The slang term "fit check" and hashtag #FitCheck are ways to highlight one's outfit, usually on social media.

2. Restivism = resting as a mean of activism; an anti-capitalistic action

Performance / Audio / Video

The third and last performance of this series, was performed at The Grey Space In The Middle in the Hague. I used lyrics of the rap song 'Biseri iz blata' (eng. Pearls from the mud) by the Serbian rapper Coby. The installation was based on a video projection of my grandpa's garden and gate. In the video my dad is opening the gate. Another part of the installation was a mirror on which I wrote the song's lyrics with lipstick. In this performance, I reflected on the intersectionality of me as a female from the Balkans leaving my home country and the empty houses that are left behind as our elders die and the youth leaves.