Sanja Pahoki <em>How to lift me up</em> 2022; giclée prints. Courtesy of Sarah Scout Presents, Melbourne<br/>
© Sanja Pahoki and Sarah Scout Presents, Melbourne

Sanja Pahoki

Sanja Pahoki
(b. 1965, Osijek, Croatia. Lives and works in Melbourne)

Sanja Pahoki uses photography, neon, video and text to make nuanced observations on everyday life. Her practice frequently explores the nature of the self and the role of anxiety, with individual works constituting elements of a broader self-portrait in documenting the artist’s relationships with those close to her – in particular, her family.

For Melbourne Now, Pahoki is displaying an installation of new and recent works, including the photographic series How to Lift Me Up, 2022, above which will be displayed Mum walking in Deer Park, 2022, a 41-minute video work that depicts the artist’s mother walking in the Melbourne suburb of Deer Park, but also towards the exit sign of the gallery. Nearby, a new flashing neon work, Exit sign (Falling), 2023, cascades towards the horizontal row of framed images below it, arranged like a safety net for both the neon figures and the subject of the video amid a vibrant yellow backdrop. Inspired by the Laurie Anderson song ‘Walking and Falling’ (1982) and Roland Barthes’s description of the punctum in Camera Lucida (1980), the collection of works explores what it means to find oneself wounded by the gaze of another.

Pahoki completed a PhD at Monash University in 2018. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology and Philosophy) from the University of Melbourne and completed a BFA (Honours) in 2000 and an MFA in 2006 at the Victorian College of the Arts. 

Pahoki’s work has been widely exhibited nationally, including at the Heide Museum of Modern Art; Centre for Contemporary Photography; Gertrude Contemporary; Perth Institute of Contemporary Art; Plimsoll Gallery, Hobart; Australian Centre for Photography; University of Technology Sydney; Queensland University of Technology; and internationally in Tokyo, Shanghai, Vienna, Berlin, Paris and Rotterdam. Recent solo exhibitions have been held at Monash University, Melbourne (2018); Superdeals, Brussels (2017); 55 Sydenham Road, Sydney (2017); TCB Inc, Melbourne (2017); and Dudspace, Melbourne (2014). Pahoki was a committee member of Kings Artist-Run Initiative (2004–07), a Studio Artist at Gertrude Contemporary (2007–09) and is currently an artistic director associate at BLINDSIDE Gallery, Melbourne. She has undertaken a number of residencies including in Brussels, Reykjavik and Helsinki. Pahoki is currently Head of Photography at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne.