Ana Čigon primarily addresses questions about social values and, within these, the issue of gender – the socially conditioned division of gender roles, gender-based behavior, gender-based differences, and so on.
She is interested in the hidden causal layers that lead to the production of the myths and stereotypes connected with these issues. /…/ In her work she tries to shed light on things in society that have been covered up or suppressed. To do so, she starts with concrete, for the most part unspectacular, but meaningful life situations, which she then visualizes, turns around, and interrogates. She plays with their established meanings and translates them into alternative solutions, as she has also done in her most recent project, Translations 1, which represents a continuation of her work to date.
Čigon’s latest project differs somewhat from her other works in its explicitly conceptual structure. On this occasion, however, Čigon has decided to address the viewer directly using only the manipulative power of a form of the mass media, namely, magazines. Thus she has conceived Translations 1 on the model of today’s women’s and men’s magazines. She selected a few of the most notorious, and most influential, publications found in Slovenia /…/ To achieve a new balance of comparisons, she conceived and “published” new variations of one women’s and one men’s magazine both consisting of 40 pages of text, pictures and also a few advertising pages. Her purpose was to make a great amount of hidden stereotypes in text and pictures in this kind of magazines, visible.
The method she used to show this is “translation”. She took the articles that she found in women’s magazines and put them into the new men’s magazine and vice versa. She also replaced all the female names with male name and corrected the text where it was necessary. Similarly she proceeded whit pictures – where there was a picture of a woman in the magazine, she replaced it with a man etc.
Both of the new developed magazines work in two phases: the initially predictable look of the official magazines (or rather Čigon’s copies) retroactively triggers the viewer’s recognition of the “truth” and the trick.