Drawing on Arthur Danto's hypothesis that there is nothing in a work of art itself that makes it a work of art in reliable and self-comprehensible terms, that is that art appears in a context only after that context has enabled it to appear as such, I shall try to outline the contextual circumstances that conduced to these drawings and this exhibition in a few and, I hope, precise strokes. Needless to say, Danto took the world of art to mean more than just a network of artistic institutions. However, if we take as our starting point the hypothesis that that this network and individual artistic institutions are both a product of knowledge in the fields of art and culture and theoretical insights, that is a broader social and cultural context generating the foundation for the infrastructure of artistic institutions, then the consideration of the ‘narrowed down’ context becomes a legitimate act.
The framework for Rajko Ivanišević's, Igor Stefanović's and Marija Felker's drawings has been provided by the curriculum of the Drawing Department in the Fine Arts Section of the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad . The drawings on display were done out of the classroom, within the so-called small drawing course under Professor Jelena Trpković for second-year students last school-year. Alongside its chief classes teaching and disciplining the eye and hand of the draughtsman, the Drawing Department cultivates also the small drawing. These classes are conceived so as to offer the students more freedom to “discover their own poetic and script” (Jelena Trpković) and mostly mean drawing and noting down different everyday situations within and without the Academy. In other words, by openly encouraging the individuality in the pursuit of “its own poetic” or so-called authentic expression, the small drawing offers room for the cultivation and manifestation of differences. In this case the difference derives not only from the elementary difference based on the “script” but also from the chosen chief subject of study at the Academy (Ivanišević studies sculpture, Stefanović has opted for print and Felker studies painting), gender, origin, previous education. If we look at the formal characteristics of their drawings, we see that each one of these three students cultivates the line suited to the chosen chief subject. The rather narrative and soft, fluid line of Ivanišević describes the volume, mass, form (as well as the atmosphere of the captured scene). Stefanović’s line is firm, of uneven intensity, interrupted, relying exclusively on the effects it produces itself whilst describing dense and fragmented scenes. And finally, Felker applies hatching and combined techniques to create painting-like drawings. As Jelena Trpković notes, Ivanišević’s and Stefanović’s drawings are “all talk and garrulous”, concerned with various topics, whilst Marija Felker’s drawings are “bizarre” and “mute”.
A work of art is not (and should not be) a simple reflection of its contextual circumstances and tends (or should tend) rather to anticipate new contexts whilst the measure of the irreducibility of a work to the context is the measure of its ability to overcome the contextual determinism, i.e. its emancipation. In other words, the emancipation from the contextual determinism is also where the difference (in the sense of Derrida’s notion of différance) is manifested and acts as the confirmation of the ultimate mobility and conditionality of meaning. In that sense these drawings are interesting precisely because they confirm the thesis that art is possible only under certain conditions and that, unless it is to become ‘imprisoned’, fixed in an unchanging (or barely changing) discourse, it must be subject to change. Only then can it be different.
Rajko Ivanišević was born in 1983 in Mostar where he finished the secondary school of fine arts. He is now in his third year at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad studying sculpture with Professor Tomislav Todorović and drawing with Professor Jelena Trpković. He has participated in several exhibitions.
Marija Felker was born in 1984 in Niš, where she finished the secondary school of arts. She is now in the third year at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad studying painting with Professor Jovan Rakičić and drawing with Professor Jelena Trpković. She has participated in several exhibitions.
Igor Stefanović was born in 1984 in Šabac where he finished the school of creative crafts. He is now in his third year at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad studying print with Professor Radovan Jandrić and drawing with Professor Jelena Trpković. He has participated in several exhibitions.