Born in Cuba of Yugoslav parents she is a Mexican national since 1956.
Vida Yovanovich has dedicated most of her photographic research to the exploration in the identity and the life of women. Her work is introspective and intimate. She not only deals with the physical passing of time, but refers also, to the emotional weaknesses that we as human beings suffer. Solitude, abandonment and rejection are constant themes in her work.
Her tenacity and patience have enabled her to come close to emotionally difficult surroundings, and the manner in which she handles these themes is profound and intense.
Since 1983 she has participated in over one hundred exhibitions worldwide. She has had solo exhibitions in Mexico, Spain, South Africa, Austria, France, Cuba, Serbia and the United States.
Her body of work titled Cárcel de los sueños (Prison of dreams) is a strong and moving encounter with old age and death. The exhibition traveled extensively, and the book under the same title was edited in 1997, with a brilliant introduction by Elena Poniatowska.
Her project on women in prison under de title Resonant solitudes and 27 years, 8 months, 14 days, deals with among other questions, the very thin line which exists between those who are imprisoned and those who are free. The presentation in the form of an installation succeeds in surrounding the spectator and making him a part of the work itself.
Vera, my mother, involves a photographic encounter with various unknown women who by their age and local surrounding could very well be her mother. Through this work, she intends to recuperate that long gone person and continues the emotional process she has worked on during the past years, at the same time bringing together the pieces of her family history.
Scream in silence/Memory fades, is her most recent work, of which it is written, “situated in a place of absence and the phantom of a memory, Vida Yovanovich summons up in the present, not only the poetic character of the past and her own childhood memories, but also reclaims the political power of history in the present”. No name, exhibited at the Ateneo Español de México, inscribes the reflective memory and the conception of violence: an imprint inscribed in the air. In Listen, Museo Memoria y Tolerancia, the image reflects upon the tenuous line between freedom in the present, oppression and captivity of the past in a future that still seems uncertain.
She has received many testimonials of recognition of which the following are particularly noted: fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation (New York), First Prize Anthropological Photography (Mexico), Prize, Casa de las Americas (Cuba), and member of the Mexican National Artist Organization (Mexico).
Her work can be found in the collections of: the Fine Arts Museum in Houston, Texas; the Mexican Center for Photography in Mexico; Casa de las Americas, Havana, Cuba; The Ron Margolis Art Collection, USA; the Fine Arts Museum in Buenos Aires, Argentina; the Applied Arts Museum in Belgrade, Serbia; the Contemporary Art Museum in Zapopan, Guadalajara, among others.
An important characteristic in the work of Vida Yovanovich is the manner in which she is able to integrate photography and installation. This is accomplished very effectively in her exhibitions: “Up front” (1997); “Spent time” (1998); “Resonant solitudes” (2004); “Abyss of absence” (2005); “27 years, 8 months, 14 days” (2008); and, “Scream in silence/Memory fades” (2014).
“Yovanovich does not take her work lightly. Her projects go much above a simple product for exhibition or publication, they are vital commitments, experiences that change the life of the photographer and that of the one being photographed, thus their strength”. Monica Mayer