Zorica Čolić

– a visual artist, born in Serbia (1977) and based in New York. She earned an M.F.A. in Electronic Integrated Arts at Alfred University (Alfred, NY), and a B.F.A. in Painting at The Academy of Arts (Novi Sad, Serbia). She studied a doctoral program in Theory of Art and Media at University of Arts, Belgrade. Čolić was a resident artist at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, International Summer Academy in Salzburg, among others.


I grew up in the former Yugoslavia, where my schooling began with a strong emphasis on nourishing the communist and socialist ideals of equality, brotherhood and unity of all people. Soon after, the country, its socialist politics and the ideology I grew up on, began to disintegrate. Me and my family, like everyone I knew, were very against the Socialist Party of Serbia during the 1990s. It wasn’t until I moved to the U.S.A. and confronted the (ills of) individualism and capitalism that I realized how much of a socialist I was. 

Living and being educated between these contrasting environments led to an interdisciplinary approach to my art practice that considers perspectives from critical theory, psychoanalysis and feminism. Working in a wide range of media, such as installation, video, sound, sculpture, text and collage, I unravel what it means to be “healthy” today; how politics, ideology and economy affect our bodies, our mental health and sexuality. I examine how our psychic life – attention, care, desire, anxiety, capacity to relate to others, etc. – has become involved in the production process, and therefore power relations12345. Who decides which feelings are appropriate, and which ones are points of weakness needing to be therapeutically eliminated or repressed in order to enhance efficiency and performance6?

One example is a “Black Wednesday” project, a site-specific installation in the financial trading room. It was a subtle subversion of stock market data and news where I added facts and misinformation about depression, mixed real news with statements about shifting moods, sometimes replaced indices by words such as “greed, eagerness, interest, desire,” and kept their values updating in real time789.

If I want to look for the source of my interest in the matters of the body and health, they perhaps come from my experiences with illness, death and problematic medical systems throughout my life, but I don’t see these as individual experiences. As Anne Boyer writes: “Disease is never neutral. Treatment never not ideological. Mortality never without its politics.”10 These issues are shared by many and it’s important to be able to politicize our pain, turn it into a source of knowledge, into something that connects us to other people11. Living in the United States brought more urgency to speak about these issues considering its based-on-profit medical system, fraught with mistreatments and corruption. The piece “I Feel…” addresses this through series of perfumes made of medications that are controversial yet widely prescribed and often abused. They are exhibited along with texts that compile the history and background stories about these pills12.

Regarding gender – I never felt connected to a normative viewpoint of a woman. My family wasn’t traditional nor patriarchal so growing up I didn’t feel the pressure of fulfilling such a role. I did feel connected to the feminist emancipatory movements and knew there was still a lot of work to be done13. I don’t find the current emphasis on identity politics very helpful and agree with psychoanalysts who criticize it, namely Alenka Zupančič. She claims that a recognized identity itself is not enough and that there is something about sexuality that is inherently problematic, “impossible”, and is not such simply because of external obstacles and prohibitions14. My initial need to deal with ‘feminist’ or ‘female’ issues in art151617, has evolved to address this more complex idea of gender and sexuality, and focus on our discomforting and ambiguous corporeality, revealed in pieces such as the videos “Cutaneous Vision”18 and ‘The Split.”19

While every art project of mine is visually different, they all intertwine research, critical theory, facts and humor to bring out the antagonisms around the topic I choose to talk about. The goal is to move beyond the personal, individual and local, and to reveal different perceptions of the human body and its health, insisting on the constant reflection and rethinking of the new categories of corporeality as a site of transformative political potential.

The text was written in collaboration with Dejan Vasić (2022).

1Image: Zorica Čolić “Loose Pump”, site-specific installation, neon signs in a high school gymnasium, courtesy of the artist.
2Image: Zorica Čolić "Work Or Pleasure”, flag (digital print on textile), 2019, courtesy of the artist.
3Image: Zorica Čolić "Work Or Pleasure”, flag, installation view at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina, Novi Sad, exhibition “We Cut Cables”, 2019, courtesy of the artist.
4Image: Zorica Čolić “(dis)orders”, installation view, neon signs of “psychological disorders” in colors of a color-coded threat system, boarded up windows, burnt clothes, suitcase, courtesy of the artist.
5Image: Zorica Čolić “(dis)orders”, detail of the installation view, ADD (attention deficit disorder) neon sign, suitcase, courtesy of the artist.
6Image and link: Zorica Čolić “Well-beings”, HD video and sound, courtesy of the artist. Link: vimeo.com/168692118.
7Image: Zorica Čolić “Black Wednesday” site-specific installation in the financial trading room, courtesy of the artist.
8Image: Zorica Čolić “Black Wednesday” site-specific installation in the financial trading room, courtesy of the artist.
9Image: Zorica Čolić “Black Wednesday” site-specific installation in the financial trading room, courtesy of the artist.
10Boyer, Anne. “The Undying: Pain, Vulnerability, Mortality, Medicine, Art, Time, Dreams, Data, Exhaustion, Cancer, and Care.” 123.
11Federici, Silvia. “Beyond the Periphery of the Skin: Rethinking, Remaking, and Reclaiming the Body in Contemporary Capitalism.” 126.
12Image: Zorica Čolić “I Feel… Happy, Allure, Wicked“, perfume bottles, ethanol mixed with medications (from left: Xanax, Viagra, Oxycontin), text, acrylic box, courtesy of the artist.
13I got interested in feminism sometime during my high school, probably because at that time I experienced more of those societal prejudices about what it “means” to be a woman.
14A simple argument she states is that the fact that “woman” has always been a legitimate sexual position or “identity” didn’t preclude all kinds of atrocities, injustices and discriminations being conducted against women. From: “Interview with Alenka Zupančič: Philosophy or Psychoanalysis? Yes, please!” Agon Hamza & Frank Ruda in: “Crisis & Critique Volume 6 / Issue 1”  crisiscritique.org/april2019/zupancic.pdf.
15Image: Zorica Čolić “Absent Minded”, gelatin silver prints, courtesy of the artist.
16Image: Zorica Čolić “Vogue”, hand-made collages, courtesy of the artist.
17Image: Zorica Čolić “Face Shifting”, hand-made collages, courtesy of the artist.
18Image and link: Zorica Čolić “Cutaneous Vision” HD video and sound, courtesy of the artist. Link: vimeo.com/421790770.
19Image and link: Zorica Čolić “The Split” HD video and sound, courtesy of the artist. Link: vimeo.com/693772741.

– je vizuelna umetnica, rođena u Srbiji (1977.) sa prebivalištem u Njujorku. Master diplomu iz oblasti elektronskih integrisanih umetnosti stekla je na Univerzitetu Alfred (Alfred, NY), a diplomu osnovnih studija na Akademiji umetnosti (Novi Sad, Srbija). Pohađala je doktorski program iz oblasti teorije umetnosti i medija na Univerzitetu umetnosti, Beograd. Čolić je bila učesnica rezidencijalnog programa Nezavisnih Studija Vitni Muzeja, Muzeja umetnosti u Bronksu, Međunarodne letnje akademije u Salcburgu, između ostalih.


Odrasla sam u bivšoj Jugoslaviji, u kojoj je moje školovanje započelo snažnim naglaskom na negovanju komunističkih i socijalističkih ideala jednakosti, bratstva i jedinstva svih ljudi. Ubrzo nakon toga, ta zemlja, sa svojom socijalističkom politikom i ideologijom na kojima sam odrasla, počela je da se raspada. Moja porodica i ja, kao i svi koje sam poznavala, bili su izrazito protiv Socijalističke partije Srbije tokom ’90-ih godina. Nisam shvatila koliko je socijalistička ideologija uticala na mene dok se nisam preselila u SAD i suočila se sa boljkama individualizma i kapitalizma.

Življenje i edukacija u ovim različitim sredinama doveli su do interdisciplinarnog pristupa mom stvaralaštvu, koji uzima u obzir gledišta kritičke teorije, psihoanalize i feminizma. Radeći u različitim medijima, poput instalacije, video zapisa, zvuka, skulpture, teksta i kolaža, istražujem šta to znači biti „zdrav“ u današnje vreme; kako politika, ideologija i ekonomija utiču na naša tela, naše mentalno zdravlje i seksualnost. Interesuje me kako je naš psihički život – pažnja, nega, uživanje, anksioznost, sposobnost povezivanja sa drugima, itd. – postao uključen u proces proizvodnje i, stoga, odnosa moći12345. Ko odlučuje koja su osećanja prikladna, a koja su odraz slabosti, koja treba eliminisati ili potisnuti terapeutskim putem kako bi se pojačala efikasnost i radne sposobnosti6.

Primer je projekat „Crna sreda“, instalacija in situ u prostoru za finansijsko trgovanje. Bila je to suptilna sabotaža podataka i vesti sa berze u kojoj sam dodavala činjenice i lažne informacije o depresiji, mešala stvarne vesti sa izjavama o promenljivom raspoloženju, ponegde zamenila registre rečima kao što su „pohlepa, žudnja, interes, želja“, dok su se njihove vrednosti menjale u realnom vremenu789.

Ako bih želela da potražim izvor mog interesovanja za pitanja tela i zdravlja, možda bih ih pronašla u sopstvenim iskustvima sa bolešću, smrću i problematičnim zdravstvenim sistemom, međutim ne vidim ih kao iskustva pojedinca. Kao što piše En Bojer: „Bolest nikad nije neutralna. Tretman nikad nije odvojen od ideologije. Smrtnost nikad bez svoje politike.“10 Ove probleme dele mnogi i važno politizovati naš bol, pretvoriti ga u izvor znanja, u nešto što nas povezuje sa drugim ljudima11. Život u Sjedinjenim američkim državama me je dodatno podstakao da govorim o ovim problemima, uzevši u obzir tamošnji zdravstveni sistem, zasnovan na ostvarivanju profita, bremenit nebrigom i korupcijom. Projekat „Osećam se…“ skreće pažnju na ovaj problem. Čini ga kolekcija parfema napravljenih od lekova, koji su, iako kontroverznog statusa, naširoko prepisivani i često zloupotrebljavani. Izloženi su zajedno sa tekstovima koji obuhvataju istoriju, činjenice i lične priče o ovim lekovima12.

Kad je reč o rodu – normativno stanovište o tome šta je žena mi nikada nije bilo blisko. Moja porodica nije bilia ni tradicionalna niti patrijarhalna, tako da tokom odrastanja nisam osećala pritisak ostvarivanja takve uloge. Ali se jesam osećala povezanom sa feminističkim emancipatorskim pokretima i znala sam da ima još puno posla da se obavi13. Ne mislim da je trenutni naglasak na politici identiteta naročito koristan i slažem se sa psihoanalitičarima koji ga kritikuju, naime Alenkom Zupančič. Ona tvrdi da prepoznati identitet sam po sebi nije dovoljan i da postoji nešto kod seksualnosti što je inherentno problematično, „nemoguće“, i nije tako jednostavno zbog spoljnih prepreka i zabrana14. Moja ranija potreba da se bavim „feminističkim“ ili „ženskim“ problemima u umetnosti151617, razvila se u pravcu istraživanja ove složenije ideje roda i seksualnosti i fokusa na našu neugodnu i ambivalentnu telesnu realnost, otkrivenu u delima kao što su video radovi „Potkožni vid“18 i „Rascep“19.

Iako se svi moji umetnički projekti vizuelno razlikuju, kroz svaki od njih se prepliću istraživanje, kritička teorija, činjenice i humor, kako bih istakla antagonizme oko teme o kojoj sam izabrala da govorim. Cilj je da zakoračim van granica ličnog, individualnog i lokalnog i otkrijem različita gledišta na ljudsko telo i njegovo zdravlje, insistirajući na neprekidnom promišljanju i ponovnom osmišljavanju novih kategorija telesne realnosti kao mesta sa politčkim potencijalom za transformaciju. 

Tekst je napisan u saradnji sa Dejanom Vasićem (2022.).

1Slika: Zorica Čolić, portretna fotografija, 2018, ljubaznošću umetnice.
2Slika: Zorica Čolić „Labava pumpa“, instalacija in situ, neonski znaci u srednjoškolskoj sali za fizičko, 2010, ljubaznošću umetnice.
3Slika: Zorica Čolić „Rad ili zadovoljstvo“, zastava (digitalni otisak na tekstilu), 2019, ljubaznošću umetnice.
4Slika: Zorica Čolić “(dis)orders”, pogled na instalaciju, neonski znaci „psiholoških poremećaja“ u bojama koloritnog sistema za određivanje stepena pretnje, daskama pokriveni prozori, spaljena odeća, kofer, 2007-08, ljubaznošću umetnice.
5Slika: Zorica Čolić “(dis)orders”, pogled na instalaciju, neonski znaci „psiholoških poremećaja“ u bojama koloritnog sistema za određivanje stepena pretnje, daskama pokriveni prozori, spaljena odeća, kofer, 2007-08, ljubaznošću umetnice.
6Slika: Zorica Čolić “(dis)orders”, pogled na instalaciju, neonski znaci „psiholoških poremećaja“ u bojama koloritnog sistema za određivanje stepena pretnje, daskama pokriveni prozori, spaljena odeća, kofer, 2007-08, ljubaznošću umetnice.
7Slika i link: Zorica Čolić "Well-beings", HD video i zvuk, 2015-16, ljubaznošću umetnice. Link: vimeo.com/168692118.
8Slika: Zorica Čolić „Crna sreda“ instalacija in situ u prostoru za finansijsko trgovanje, 2008, ljubaznošću umetnice.
9Slika: Zorica Čolić „Crna sreda“ instalacija in situ u prostoru za finansijsko trgovanje, 2008, ljubaznošću umetnice.
10Slika: Zorica Čolić „Crna sreda“ instalacija in situ u prostoru za finansijsko trgovanje, ljubaznošću umetnice.
11Bojer, En. Neumirući: bol, ranjivost, smrtnost, medicina, umetnost, vreme, snovi, podaci, iscrpljenost, rak i nega.“ str. 123. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Njujork, SAD, 2019.
12Federiči, Silvija. „Izvan granica kože: ponovno promišljanje, kreiranje i osvajanje tela u savremenom kapitalizmu.“ 126. PM Press, Oakland, SAD, 2020.
13Slika: Zorica Čolić “I Feel… Happy, Allure, Wicked“, (s leva: ksanaks, vijagra, oxycontin), tekst, akrilna kutija, 2017-22, ljubaznošću umetnice.
14Za feminizam sam se zainteresovala negde tokom srednje škole, verovatno zbog toga što sam u tom periodu iskusila više društvenih predrasuda o tome šta „znači“ biti žena.
15Prost argument, koji ona navodi, kaže da činjenica da je „žena“ oduvek bila legitimna seksualna pozicija ili „identitet“ nije predupredila sprovođenje svih mogućih vidova svireposti, nepravde i diskriminacije protiv žena. Iz: „Razgovor sa Alenkom Zupančič: filozofija ili psihoanaliza? Da, molim!“ Agon Hamza & Frenk Ruda u : „Kriza i kritika 6 / izdanje 1“ crisiscritique.org/april2019/zupancic.pdf.
16Slika: Zorica Čolić „Odsutnost“, crno bela fotografija, 2005, ljubaznošću umetnice.
17Slika: Zorica Čolić „Vogue“ ručno pravljeni kolaži, 2010-16, ljubaznošću umetnice.
18Slika: Zorica Čolić "Face Shifting", kolaži, 2002-08, ljubaznošću umetnice.
19Slika i link: Zorica Čolić „Potkožni vid“ HD video i zvuk, 2020-21, ljubaznošću umetnice. Link: vimeo.com/421790770.
20Slika i link: Zorica Čolić „Rascep“ HD video i zvuk, 2022, ljubaznošću umetnice. Link: vimeo.com/693772741.