Three Examples of Contemporary Graphic Experiment
Danja Tekić‘s lithographies are characterised by large, simple geometric shapes, precise, clear contours and wide colour surfaces, sometimes monotonously covered with hatching. Simple forms and linear approach emphasise the two-dimensionality of the composition and provoke the observer to have a purely visual experience. Danja Tekić is occupied with the idea of tautology – Ludwig Wittgenstein in Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus says that “tautology allows every possible state of affairs; It does not represent a picture of reality but leaves to reality a whole – infinite – logical space.” The research and the display of this whole – infinite – logical space represent the artist’s modus operandi. Danja Tekić says that her graphics “should be seen as fine art fragments that do not represent an expression of something random or subjectivity but leave to an observer a whole – infinite – logical space for discovering the subjective order of the world. A pure, simple artistic structure can be understood as a universal archetypal symbol of the order of the world. “
Danja’s artworks speak the language of abstraction and represent autoreferential forms, without any hint or allusion to the outside world. By depriving her work of all the surpluses, she urges the observer to move his perception to a higher level of consciousness. By frequently playing with the structure of the grid in the concept of her artworks, she presents before us the idea of variability. The artworks of Danja Tekić are reexamining the traditional principle of presenting and perceiving graphics as a medium, because Danja does not experiment only with the structure, but also with the manner of presenting her graphics – some of them are printed traditionally, on paper, others are put in light boxes, or printed directly on a Medium Density Fiber out of which she produces simple geometric three-dimensional forms (in this case – cubes).
Structure IV was conceived as a result of mathematical, linguistic and semiotic principles’ application on a work of art; the composition consists of twenty-five cubes (modules), dimensions 30x30x30cm, made of Medium Density Fiberboards. Different structural elements were printed on each side of the cubes in the silk screen technique (six side of a cube – six different structures). The dimensions of the composition are variable and depend on the method the modules are arranged. None of the formed patterns represents a final or correct visual solution since no solution is more accurate than the others. Visual information remains unchanged, only their mutual relationship changes. In this way, any resulting compositional solution represents only the starting point for further combining of the presented visual content.
A specific object (cube as a module) builds a non-specific, variable composition – the graphics printed on the sides of the cube are not displayed separately, but are placed among other graphic prints from the same series. The position of the cube (module) within the composition and the position of the cube’s side regarding the cube space orientation, can be changed, resulting in new compositional structures that arise as a result of playing with the children’s stacking blocks, but there are no predefined images to match here. The emphasis is on the combinatorial process and the concept (the cubes can be arranged into 6×25! different ways), not on the completed artwork.
Danja says that her future doctoral dissertation Ars Combinatoria as a Method of Visual Speculation deals with the research of the graphic media’s boundaries, Structuralism and Poststructuralism theories’ actualization through contemporary art and methodology of composing an open artwork.
Within his graphics from the series “Bonds”, Andro Banovac resents stains – the mysterious entities of condensed or grouped paint surfaces. Stains protract or “stretch”, they move apart, but they always remain connected by a tenuous link that can, but not necessarily, brake, or reach out with their threads to something beyond the composition, that we cannot see, striving to establish a new connection, a new relationship.
The carefully designed compositional solutions of Banovac’s graphics were reduced to the basic elements in his first prints; in the later ones, the artist overwhelmed them with information and different layers of reading. A two-dimensional space organisation characterises all of the graphics. In the initial prints of this series, the artist uses only one graphic plate and one graphic technique, while later on, he combines several plates and various techniques for the same graphic sheet, which results in different structure layers. The earlier Andro Banovac’s artworks are simpler both in form and composition; the artist consciously moves toward the reduction, the background is simple, clear. In the beginning, the compositional balance was essential for the artist, but later he changed the concept of composition and aimed for deliberate disharmony. Stains represent the reminiscence of the organic world; they were created as a result of a graphic experimenting through which the artist explores the formal structure, but also his subconsciousness. Art historian Marija Stipišić Vuković stated that Andro Banovac’s graphics “at the same time represent works of spontaneous inspiration and master play, in which conscious and unconscious merge into a harmonious unity. “Bonds” were created by transforming the external, visual and inner, emotional incentives into a free abstract and suggestive form. His artistic expression goes toward metaphorical, symbolic, unexamined, only indicated. “
The artworks, created under the influence of the subconscious, represent the microcosm, the artist’s personal microworld. The colour on Banovac’s compositions has the role of painting the state of the spirit (connection, loneliness, loss, mortality, the mystery of life), while the abstractness of the composition leads the spectator to go into reflection deeper than when observing a realistic presentation. The artist says that the title Bonds has a dual meaning because it refers to formal relations within the composition, the issue of harmony and balance, but also the need to distort that balance. Bonds represent the connection between the spiritual and the material; They point to sociological relations, but also to the formal relations of the composition’s elements. As a metaphor of society, graphics represent the artist’s social milieu, isolation or connection.
The visual gestalt that Andro Banovac presents before us connects forms in the tense anticipation and reflects the artist’s reaction to the world and the society we are living in.
Slavko Luković‘s landscapes consist of coloured fields, lines and geometric shapes by which Luković envisages his vision of rural areas. With very few references to the traditional landscape, the artist presents abstracted images of his environment. He represents the sky with interlaced geometric shapes of different shades of blue, while the soil is defined by a few lines that separate green, yellow and earth-colored surfaces. Pastel colour tones and uniform, consistent colouring tranquillize the playfulness of compositions’ lines and shapes and contribute to the harmoniousness of the visual presentation. There is an evident thematic and poetic connection with the opus of Stojan Ćelić. The artist declares that his goal is to achieve a personal vision of a modern landscape. The witty titles of Luković’s graphics originate from old folk songs and of our poetic giants’ description of nature – Jovan Dučić, Aleksa Šantić, and Jovan Jovanović Zmaj.
Luković presents landscapes through a combination of coloured fields reconsidering in this way the boundaries between figurative and abstract art. Abstract painting completely transforms the landscape presentation manner, taking a landscape only as a starting point of creating artwork. Like many contemporary artists, Luković does not portray the landscape through a literal, mimetic similarity, but through associations to his artistic elements – shapes and colours, but also a subjective experience.
Luković’s associative landscapes depict the artist’s automatic response to the present sensual experience. The associative landscape represents all the associations contained in memory that affect the way a person perceives an outer reality. Association as a psychological process of creating mental connections between senses, feelings, ideas or memories regarding similarity, contrast and closeness, presents a comparison of past experiences and reflections with the current sensual experience. The person recognises and provides the present with a context by comparing it with the already experienced, with the past. Mountains and meadows might associate a farmer of fieldwork, but a city man might associate it with a beautiful day spent in nature on a picnic or the unpleasantness and pain due to an insect sting. The associations of each person are completely individual and marked with his previous experiences. Luković’s landscapes are playful, calm and peaceful.
Luković’s guiding idea is that the landscape concept contains a vast number of intriguing perspectives waiting to be explored.
All three artists presented at the exhibition Three Examples of Contemporary Graphic Experiment reject the anthropomorphic basis of traditional art and tend to present a dualistic relationship between subject and object. Their artworks expose the “presence” of the object and support the abstract idea that art should have its own reality, rather than imitate the apparent.