Fascinating pieces by Maja Ruznic. Here is a statement about this series from the artist.
In this new work, I look at how the woman’s body has historically been used in war as a site to assert power through rape and a vehicle for inter-generational trauma. Inspired by the writings of Julia Kristeva, I made paintings that explore the elements of war and violence that continue to ooze long after the violence has ended. Kristeva defines the abject as something that provokes disgust, a human reaction to a threatened breakdown in meaning caused by the loss of the distinction between subject and object or between self and other. Kristeva associates the abject with the eruption of the Real into our life–the Real being the materiality that shows us our own death. Her writing creates an opening for me to look at how women who have been raped in war carry guilt and shame for the rest of their lives and continue to be degraded by their communities. The figures in my narrative paintings are broken, defeated and dirty. Some of the figures have missing limbs and it is difficult to differentiate between the victim and the aggressor. I blur the line to show how in times of war, aggressors can become emotionally vacuous while before the war they were “healthy” men. Traumatic events usually leave both individuals–the victims as well as the aggressors emotionally scarred. Despite their embodied traumas, I have imbued these figures with a redemptive quality and given the abject within them a place to thrive.