Set in a corner of Helmut-Zilk-Park, near Vienna main station in the tenth district, the artist Maruša Sagadin presents ‘B-GIRLS, GO!’, her newest public sculpture created for the local community to utilize and ‘wear’—much like a favourite comfortable sweatshirt, or in this case, literally as a lucky cap. While Sagadin’s work always wields humour to catalyse shared experiences, the title for this project speaks directly to her target audience—in particular, the countless female and non-binary youth gravely underrepresented in public art and urban identity.
‘B-Boys’ are male teenage hip-hop dancers and street artists whose shorthand name reinforces the deeply gendered dynamics present even in emerging culture. In contrast, Sagadin builds a brilliantly coloured, oversized metal baseball cap dedicated to all the B-Girls. It emphatically establishes a place of empowerment for everyone marginalised by hegemonic masculinity. Under the shade of Sagadin’s cap—the wooden floor of the site—all are encouraged to find quiet refuge, take pause, and express pride in themselves; within its shelter, one can keep secrets, imagine futures, or show off their talents. This freedom is a right belonging to both the individual and the neighbourhood.
Rather than memorialise teenage subculture as an historic moment or static model to follow, Sagadin recognises its perpetuation, knowing trends never stand still. Instead, she shines a warm light on youthful exuberance, providing a platform for its newest creations in every form: DJ sets, dances, picnics, conversations, even parties.
Like in her other sculptures, Sagadin communicates her desire for their useful function through jubilant hues with a rough-and-ready aesthetic, uniting pop-art sensibilities and situational intentions, proudly declaring that ‘B-GIRLS, GO!’ is not a statue—it is a playground.
Text: JL Murtaugh
Helmut-Zilk-Park, Ecke Antonie-Alt-Gasse/Alfred-Adler-Straße, 1100 Wien
*1978 in Ljubljana (SI), lives and works in Vienna (AT).
B-Girls, Go!Maruša Sagadin
21. Oktober 2018 bis Ende November 2019
We would like to thank the youth centre Arthaberbad & the youth centre Sonnwendviertel for their support in realising and communicating the project.