Self-Portrait: Text

The work Self-Portrait by Tijana Pakić-Feterman is a collection of twenty-one colour photographs which the artist took during 2000 and 2001. Besides the photographs that Pakić took herself, this work also contains some subsequently printed photographs from her family negatives, which were made during her early childhood in the mid 1970s.

Images from the Self-Portrait series show staged scenes based on dreams of both the artist herself and her twin sister Miljana. The dreams were interpreted in group psychoanalytic sessions and then set up as new photographic content. A new component which Tijana introduced into this series, that is, the appearance of Tijana’s and Miljana’s childhood photographs, as well as those which show them together with their older brother, serves here a visual stimulus for understanding a period of life that the artist does not remember. And it is particularly significant, because it simultaneously introduces another author of photographs into the structure of her work: her father.

The role of photography in this work is present in a very peculiar way. In contrast to the photographs taken by the artist herself, where Tijana illustrated images from her and her sisier’s dreams, the other photographs made from her old family negatives transform photography into an incentive to interpret the dreams which are illustrated with the new, authorial photographs.

The main thematic framework of the work Self-Portrait consists of the questions of twinship, past, experience and identity. By combining photographs which depict dreams and those which symbolise potential triggers for a possible understanding of dreams, a network of meanings is built around the relationships between photography and reality, photographs and memories, photographs and photographs. An additional confusion arises here when the observer is faced with the difficulty of discerning the differences in the sisters’ appearance, given their striking resemblance. Even an analytical observer, with a long experience of knowing the artist and her sister, will find him- or herself in the same problem as after the first meeting. The question is: Who is who here?

text: Ivan Petrović, as part of the exhibition Familiarity and Differences in Remont Gallery, Belgrade

September 2 – October 1, 2021