Jana Sterbak, ‘Cone on Hand’, 1979 / 96, Barbara Gross

About Jana Sterbak

Best recognized for her work Vanitas: Flesh dress for an albino anorectic (1987), a dress sewn from raw meat, Jana Sterbak forges conceptual, architectonic objects that encourage their wearers to experience bodily and out-of-body freedom. Drawn to notions of doubling, physicality, and self-awareness, she favors juxtapositions between vanity and decomposition as a reminder of human vulnerability. This is evident in her dress of raw meat, which is meant to rest on a hanger until it rots and deteriorates. Such wearable, cage-like constructions allude to technological and societal constraints and a quest for freedom beyond corporeality. Sterbak’s art is marked by a dark humor and absurdist themes likely influenced by her childhood in Prague and education under Marxist and Leninist systems as well as the work of such writers as Franz Kafka and Jaroslav Hasek.

Canadian, b. 1955, Prague, Czech Republic