After Maja Bajevic graduated from the Ecole nationale superieure des beaux-arts, Paris, in 1996, she began making films, video installations, audio pieces, drawings, and performances. Central to her practice are the notion of identity and the presence—if not the absence—of women within the recent and current historical context, which she consistently references. As early as 1999, Bajevic has been making films in a programmatic way: she filmed a group of Bosnian women, survivors of the 1995 massacre and expulsions in Srebrenica, as they were working on an immense embroidered tarpaulin to be hung on the facade of the National Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo. By occupying a space in reconstruction, the artist transposes a typically feminine and domestic practice to a public place wounded by conflict.
In all of Bajevic’s work, especially her videos, we can see the element of collective performance and the notion of labor—whether social, manual, or artistic. The artist has recently introduced text into her works, as in her installations To be continued (2011) and We are the last ones of yesterday, but the first ones of tomorrow (2014), in particular through the use of slogans borrowed from the twentieth century and represented in such forms as archives, neon lights, sounds, and projections.
For the Biennale di Venezia, Bajevic presents a new work, The Unbelievable Lightness of Being, aiming to revive some traditional habits and practices as a last shield against the increasing homogenization in this era of globalization. In this work, she brings together the improbable encounter between ancestral practices, such as Bosnian embroidery, and the interconnected fluctuation of stock market indexes around the world. How does one translate material and immaterial? What value do we place on craftsmanship and other manual skills?