Mari Jo Ribas

Mari Jo Ribas spent two months October and November 2019 in Belgrade as part of Artist in Residency Exchange between Belgrade Artist in Residence and Homesession Barcelona, Spain, with the support of Institut Ramon LLull.

MariJo is an artist from Palma, Balearic Islands. Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Barcelona University (2006), Erasmus in the Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach, Frankfurt, Postgraduate in Design, Art, and Society, Elisava University (2008) and Master in Artistic Productions and Research, Barcelona University (2010). Since 2003 she has participated in group projects and exhibitions in Spain, Portugal, Germany, Netherlands, Bulgaria or Great Britain. Her practice borns from research and narration. In Belgrade, she did two pieces based in the folk textile culture, one inspired in the wendar wedding dresses, and the other on the local embroidery, referring to that works to the women labor force and to the identity as a currency value.

Curtain, 2019
Provenance: Belgrade
Sculpture of metal, cloth and coins
Two meters high and approximately 40 cm in diameter

Curtain, is a sculptural piece with a metal structure in the shape of a partisan star, made of cloth covered with dinars, Serbian coins of legal tender. I am making this work based on the gender dresses, originally from eastern Bosnia, bridal gowns covered with coins, the dowry that the same wife wore on the day of the ceremony. Some of these early 20th century dresses are preserved in the Ethnographic Museum in Belgrade. The coins collected are from local art agents, who told me that they had kilos of coins accumulated at home since due to their low value it did not make sense to change them in the bank.
The Serbian currency has been the fourth to suffer the highest inflation in the world, its worst period was between 1993 and 1994, when it was estimated that the inflation rate reached 65% daily and at which time Slobodan Milosevic financed his war campaigns through the indiscriminate printing of money.

Penelope, 2019
Provenance: Belgrade
Embroidered fabric 60×74 cm

Penelope is an embroidered fabric on which I draw the three different borders of the former Yugoslavia during the 20th century, the Monarchy (1918-1941), the Second World War (1941-1945) and the Republic (1945-1991).

Textile work was one of the main occupations of the emancipation celebrations of women during the republic. Through their incorporation in factories and role as an iconic force of social and political body, compelled to lift the nation after repeated war conflicts. This position – defined by the division of genders – was equivalent or very similar to that of other capitalist systems, since manual and feminized work was also lower paid in these industrial sectors, such as textiles or tobacco.
The decision to work on canvas arose as an unintended reaction when I arrived at the room in which I would stay during my two months in Belgrade. I was greeted by two antique, industrial sewing machines that inspired this work.