GSG at the 5th SMOQUA – Festival of Queer and Feminist Culture

In the fifth edition of SMOQUA, an international festival of queer and feminist culture organized by LORI in collaboration with Pariter Association and cultural organization GSG, GSG is presenting two projects by women artists who until now have not been known to the Croatian audience.

The first is an exhibition called “Deviant Women”, created by visual and live-art author Fenia Kotsoupoulou and scientist and social activist Aylwyn Walsh. The exhibition arises from research that is part of an ongoing project focusing on the history and practice of documenting female bodies, with the aim of questioning and redefining the standards of beauty. 

The second project that GSG brings to Smoqua is a book titled “Playing Monogamy”, by performer and writer Simon(e) van Saarloos, the chapter of which has been translated into Croatian particularly for this occasion. The work of Simon(e) van Saarloos is presented in a performative dialogue between van Saarloos and the Croatian writer and activist Mima Simić. 

Deviant Women 

Fragile Woman, Fenia Kotsopoulou

Fenia Kotsopoulou & Aylwyn Walsh

Solo exhibition, 7 October – 21 October, DeltaLab 

Exhibition opening: 7 October at 7 pm

Opening hours: working day 4 pm – 8 pm, Saturday 10 am – 1 pm, apart from Friday 9 October (12 pm – 8 pm) and Saturday 10 October (10 am – 6 pm)

A patient

A woman

A deviant woman

A woman, deviant

A hairy, deviant, woman

A delinquent, divergent, digressive, deplorable, disturbed, disordered, deranged, demented, distant, disputatious woman.

Deviant Women is a collection of works that explores photography, documentation and materials that testify to gender’s persistent norms. In the selected work, we have sought to bring historical practices into the present by questioning how ‘deviance’ in terms of gender is produced and reproduced in visual cultures. 

“We turned to Charcot’s archives of the Salpêtrière asylum in Iconographie photographique de la Salpêtrière and to the women he captured in silent screams. We looked to the images that indicate proof of women’s thin skin—the evidence of which is marked on their bodies as male scholars would inscribe words on their bare backs and watch the welts rise. This conflation of word and flesh and the repetitious nature of the experiments hints at the volume of women subjected to these tests; for whom being photographed was to be taxonimised as hysterical—documented and stored in archives testifying to madness.” 

– extract from Walsh & Kotsopoulou (2020)

Other works in the collection bring closer attention to hair, hairiness and the shame that plays out on bodies. Using portraiture of uncanny personae, the body and its materials are made strange. 

Fenia Kotsopoulou (GR/UK) is an award winning cross-disciplinary artist whose practice encompasses performance art, dance, video and photography. Recent work as dance performance artist, producer and visual practitioner have been shown at a wide array of festivals and art platforms, encompassing the fields of dance, experimental performance, video-art, live-art, such as: Venice Performance Art Week, Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, Athens Digital Art Festival and more. She teachers on the MA Performance Practices at ArtEZ University in Arnhem (NL).

Aylwyn Walsh (
SA/UK) is a scholar/artist/activist working on participation, cultures of collaboration and co-creation in contexts of violence and dispossession, including prisons, mental health settings and marginal communities in South Africa. She teaches at the University of Leeds, where she is Director of Post Graduate Research in Performance and Cultural Industries.   

More info:

Playing Monogamy 

Simon(e) van Saarloos, Playing Monogamy

Simon(e) van Saarloos

Performative dialogue with Mima Simić and booklet with a translated chapter of the book

8 October at 7 pm, Križanićeva 6a 

Link for the online conversation:

In a modern interpretation of the monogamy cult, “Playing Monogamy” by van Saarloos playfully deconstructs the ways this form of relationship is upheld in social conventions of the Western world. The book, written for uninformed audience, suggests an extended, polyamorous relation towards intimacy and sexuality as possible alternatives.  

“Playing Monogamy” was originally written in Dutch and published by De Bezige Bij, while the English version is published by Rotterdam-based Publication Studio. 

In “Het monogame drama“, translated into English under the title “Playing Monogamy”, Van Saarloos critiques monogamous living and false notions of safety, proposing a nonmonogamous love life and a different take on ownership and property. The book will be presented through performative dijalogue between Simon(e) van Saarloos (via Zoom) and writer, awarded film critic, translator and an LGBTIQ+ media activist Mima Simić, and a booklet with translated chapter into Croatian, Antifragile:Things That Gain from Disorder (designed by Ana Labudović).  

Simon(e) van Saarloos (USA / NL) is a writer and philosopher, regularly appearing on stage as a lecturer, interviewer and performer and curating collaborations between artists, activists and scholars. Their most recent book, “Herdenken herdacht” (translated in English and published by Publication Studio in 2022), engages with collective memory and embodied commemoration. Van Saarloos’ recent artistic projects include Cruising Gezi Park, an audio installation with Kübra Uzun about public space, surveillance, resistance and sex; and creating The Asterisk Conversations podcast. Together with Vincent van Velsen, they recently curated the exhibition at Het HEM, themed Abundance (Towards the end of the world as we know it. – Denise Ferreira da Silva).

Organisation: GSG

Program is supported by: Musagetes Foundation, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, Netherlands Letterenfonds

Thanks to: DeltaLab, MMSU Rijeka, Drugo more