Performance Klub Fiskulturnik is a live art performance project, started in 2007 by interdisciplinary performance maker Lara Ritosa Roberts. Based on the idea of fiskulturnik – the New person – a cultured athletic worker imagined by the Soviet Constructivist Avant garde, the work of PK Fiskulturnik explores the relationship between ideology, physical exercise and the corporeal and visual heritage of ex-communist societies.
PK Fiskulturnik performances unearth corporeal aspects of ideology by revisiting communist physical rituals and the methods used to introduce them to the body, transforming physical exercises into artistic language. Revolutionary jargon, didactic body culture and the visual pomposity of mass rituals and monuments are presented to the contemporary viewer raising issues of compliance, alienation and belonging. Disguised as a blast from European communist past, PK Fiskulturnik calls everyone to radical self – improvement in the name of collective art and social happiness.
Since 2007, the work of PK Fiskulturnik has been showcased at many festivals, events and residencies across the UK & Europe, including Uniqlo Tate Late November at Tate Modern (2017), City of Women Festival, Ljubljana (2013), National Theatre Watch This Space Festival, London (2012), Whitstable Biennale (2012), Museum of Yugoslav History, Belgrade (2011), Late at Tate Britain (2010) and Create 09 – Adventures in Movement (2009).
Lara Ritosa Roberts is a visual and performance artist, lecturer and workshop leader. Born in Croatia, she has lived and worked in South London since 1994. She obtained an MA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, UAL in 2007, and has also studied sculpture (2001 – 2004: Camberwell College of Arts) and physical theatre and corporeal mime (1995 – 1999: Ecole de Mime Corporel Dramatique, London & Desmond Jones School of Mime & Physical Theatre, 1995).
In her interdisciplinary work Lara explores the relationship between ideology and the body with the aim of evoking a sense of fractured and displaced identity and provoking the viewing of the body as a cultural and political construct. She often refers to the visual heritage and seminal historical moments of her youth, such as socialist-realist aesthetics, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the disintegration of communism and the subsequent war in her homeland.
I’m re-appropriating the symbolic language found in the domain of public monuments, mass physical exercises and pageantry and juxtaposing it with the private and the everyday. The intended outcome is a personal narrative that raises questions around collective experience and individual encounters.
Exhibitions, performances and projects:
Phantom footsteps, solo exhibition in 2 parts at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Istria, Pula , Croatia
Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture, Croatia
‘Retrograde’, solo exhibition at ArtKIT, Maribor, Slovenia
Euro Yoga at the Exploding Cinema, London
Museum of Contemporary Art of Istria, Pula, Croatia
Uniqlo Tate Lates November, Tate Modern, London
Assembly of Disturbance festival curated by Test Department, Red Gallery, London
Festival Art Stays ‘Politic(s)’, Ptuj, Slovenia
INK (Istrian National Theatre), Pula, Croatia
KaLibar bestiVal & Vox Feminae festival, Zadar / Zagreb Croatia
Festival City of Women, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Arterija IV – Festival of Visual Arts, Novigrad, Croatia
Emergency 2012, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester
Bodies of Memory directed by Fiona Templeton, Tate Britain
Whitstable Biennale 2012
Gi20 festival, National Theatre & SIRF 2o12
Big Dance 2012, Pump House Gallery, London
Suffragette Slet 2012, Construction Gallery, London
Museum of Yugoslav History Belgrade, Serbia – Artist in residence
Slet 080311 – Flocking of Birds, curatorial and performance project featuring international female performance & video artists in celebration of the 100th International Women’s Day.
Transformation of Narrative in the Post-colonial Era, Goldsmiths College, UCL
Yugo yoga on Motovun Triglav, live art performance during 12th Motovun Film Festival, Croatia
Crossing Boundaries, Humanities, the Arts and the Impact of Cultural Globalisation conference, video performance, Roehampton University, London
Shards of Utopia, Late at Tate Britain event curated by Cecilia Wee, Tate Britain