Breakfast with the Head, 11’34”, color & sound, Belgrade 2003


link to the video

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Having started with one of Manet’s painting, let us begin by examining the work of Isidora Ficovic, which represents a reinscenation of sorts of Manet’s Breakfast on the Grass. In this video recording, two clothed men and a naked woman realize a tableau vivant; the situation approaches the original as much as possible, only the actual items of food refer to the sort of breakfast characteristic of these parts: burek (a kind of cheese pie, translator’s note) and yogurt.

Still, the result does not boil down to striving for humorous effect through mere repetition with a difference, but by positioning, by way of mimicry, a high-culture topic in the real world of among real tensions: sexual, historical, habitual, etc. Hence the incomprehensible appearance of an object in the foreground (the “head” of the title – Breakfast with a Head), whose role here appears to be similar to that of the skull in Hans Hollbein’s Ambassadors, that is, the role of anamorphosis, which Lacan presents to us in a famous text of his as a specific dimension in the field of vision, a dimension not related to the view as such but somehow connected to the function of a lack, an appearance of a phallic ghost.

by Branislav Dimitrijević

Production BELEF ’03.