Art in General resident artist Renata Poljak is a Paris-based video artist originally from Split, Croatia. Her work explores the dramatic political upheaval and violence the Balkan region has undergone since the early 1990s, and the ramifications of those changes in the lives of émigrés throughout Western Europe. Poljak’s videos and installations often combine staged and even fantastical situations with documentation of real-life misunderstandings and misuses of power.
Her filmic explorations meld autobiographical incidents—her experience as a woman in the former Yugoslavia and in France, for example—and scenarios reflecting the social and political consequences of Croatia’s move from socialism to free market capitalism. With subjects ranging from the memorialization of the Holocaust to the trauma of post-civil war Serbio-Croatian relations, Poljak’s work investigates how transitional political and economic moments can reignite brutal social customs with deleterious effects for women and ethnic or religious minorities.
Renata Poljak was born in Split, Croatia. She received her undergraduate degree from the Arts Academy in Split, and received her post-graduate degree from the École Régionale des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, France. She has been awarded residencies in San Francisco, Vienna, and Paris. Poljak’s work has been shown internationally and has received numerous awards including the Golden Black Box Short Award at the Balkan Black Box Festival in Berlin, and the Annual Award of Women’s Art Center Electra in Zagreb, Croatia.
The Eastern European Residency Exchange is made possible by the Trust for Mutual Understanding. Additional support is provided by the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation.