The research and art production which I realized during my residency stay in Malta engaged in crucial issues relating to the transitory nature of migration and exile as a universal state of human condition in this day and age: the notion of inclusion and exclusion, borders, conflict and safety, communication and alienation, the notion of home and isolation.
I approached RC residency program in Malta as a one-off opportunity to engage in a poetic exploration of those issues through my own experience of a temporary residency stay, inhabiting an unfamiliar place, in a context of a transient home. Through video, photography and performance I conducted a recording of my brief migration to the island of Malta as to reflect on an ephemeral experience that a temporary migrant staying adjourned in a foreign place might encounter. The materials and settings, which I found, already in place in my domestic environment in Malta become a stage from which the work unfolded and where the personal and social boundaries were tested. The work, still in progress, will ultimately attempt to create an intimate portrait of an individual in flux, moving through an emotional space of migration and uncertainty in this moment in time.
THE VIEW FROM THE ROOFTOP
FOLLOW THE SIGNS
LIGHT AT THE END
ON THE EDGE AND OVER THE WALL (video stills)
EXITING (video stills)
Vessna Perunovich works with issues around home, displacement the notions of mobility and boundaries. Perunovich’s work constantly brings to forefront her own position on the borders of identity in its multiple formations (social, political, personal, cultural and so on). Born and educated in Former Yugoslavia, Perunovich moved to Toronto Canada in the late 1980s. Her artistic practice reflects the multifaceted nature of her diasporic experience; it is interdisciplinary, performative, and often transitory in form and content. The artist’s body and her personal experiences are always the point of reference for an aesthetics that operates intuitively, and practice that challenges one’s capability to move beyond barriers imposed by spaces, institutions, ideologies, or body’s own limitations.
Vessna Perunovich has exhibited at international biennials in Cuba, Albania, England, Portugal, Yugoslavia and Greece and attended international residencies in Berlin Germany, Bursa Turkey, Banff Canada, New York USA, Beijing China and Zejtun Malta. Her interdisciplinary survey exhibitions Borderless and Emblems of Enigma have recently toured at prestigious public galleries and museums across Canada, and Europe. Exhibiting venues abroad include Museum of National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan, Contemporary Art Republic of Srpska, Banja Luka, Bosnia& Herzegovina, Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina, Novi Sad Serbia, Cultural Centre of Belgrade Serbia, Slovak National Gallery, Bratislava Slovakia. In Canada Perunovich has shown her work at the Art Gallery of Mississauga, Cambridge Galleries, Art Gallery of Peterborough, Kelowna Art Gallery and The Canadian Textile Museum among many others. Vessna Perunovich is a recipient of T.F.V.A. (Toronto Friends of Visual Arts) award in 2005, and a Chalmers Development Grant, as well as numerous, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council Grants over the years. Her work is part of many collections in Canada and Europe including the US Embassy in Belgrade, Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina, Cultural Centre of Belgrade, Serbia, Art Gallery of Hamilton and Art Gallery of Guelph in Canada and many others. Vessna Perunovich is an Artistic Director for FAT (Fashion Art Toronto (2005-2018). She is represented by Angell Gallery in Toronto.
Vessna Perunovich gratefully acknowledges support of the Canada Council for the Arts – Arts Abroad Residency Grant.