The puppet: Space and animation

Sandra Nikač
Doctoral Dissertation Artwork

23 - 24 June 2023

The puppet: Space and animation

June 23rd and 24th 2023

Performances at 17h and 19h

Sandra Nikač, Doctoral Dissertation Artwork

Mentor: Dr Radivoje Dinulović

Doctoral Academic Studies of Scene Design

Chair of Applied Arts in Architecture and Design

Department of Architecture and Urban Planning

Faculty of Technical Sciences, University of Novi Sad


(Re)animate is a multimedia performative exhibition connecting the (stage) puppet and the (human) heart. It examines the relationship between the process of emotional repair and bringing a puppet to life.

Bringing a puppet to life refers to the practice of puppeteering – animating the puppet in a theatre context – onstage, in front of an audience. This is when an inanimate object is (temporarily) perceived as being alive.

This project examines the heart through its biological and physiological characteristics, as well as a metaphor for a (broken, fragile, healed) emotional center of a human being.

The interconnecting points between (literal and symbolic) bringing a puppet and a heart to life represent the poetic basis of the doctoral artwork (connection, touch, rhythm, breath, etc).  

The (reanimation of the) heart is researched through both the visual and the performative potential of four aspects of puppet theatre: marionette, robot, shadow, and the body. The final format of the doctoral artwork has four segments which are treated as an exhibition/spatial installation. A one-woman puppet show by the author is an integral part of the artwork.


Puppet makers: Darko Ivanović, Sandra Nikač

Robot construction: Bojan Kostić

Video editing: Milica Kačar

Assistents:  Ana Pinter and Milica Kačar


Sandra Nikač (Belgrade, 1987) is a puppet and set designer. She has a BA degree in set design from the Faculty of Applied Arts (2012) as well as a BA in Art History from the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade (2013). She graduated from Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff in 2015 (MA Theatre Design, specialist pathway in puppetry).

She worked as a puppet, set and costume designer in theatres in Serbia and abroad (Little Theatre Duško Radović, Puppet Theatre Pinokio, Juozo Miltinio Dramos Teatras, opera of the Serbian National Theatre, PULSE Theatre Lazarevac, Threepenny Company).

She’s also active in the field of drawing. Her works were exhibited in several group exhibitions (special mention at International Biennial of Miniature Art in Gornji Milanovac, finalist of OSTEN Biennial of Drawing, Skopje). First solo exhibition was held in December 2022, in Small Gallery ULUPUDS.

She collaborates with magazines Scena and Threads.


Author of the photographs: Tanja Drobnjak