Guided by the strength of their talent and ambition to express themselves, with their big youthful curiosity to discover their own ways and by the wise decision to follow what they feel the trends of the epoch, Maja Obradovic and Marko Markovic convince us, in their own ways of course, with each of their exhibitions of their seriousness of their work and we can say of their approach to their work. They convince us of their artistic poetics that is carefully chosen, not easy at all and entirely consciously and choosyly articulated.
Young Belgrade artist Maja Obradovic attracted attention to her works by her very first exhibitions. What makes her distinguishable from her generation is the fact that she could not and did not want to keep silent about violence, sufferings and horrors of her childhood. Thus reading statements of the raped, wounded and humiliated women and listening to the testimonies of those who lost their nearest she decided to research, study and analyze the intimate world of the victims, their psychology, states of sub consciousness and stages of their pains primarily. She in her own way decided to set up a problem putting questions and not answering them, as there is actually no answer.
Divided identity of the 21th century man has no chance for a decent outcome. We can here remember Picasso’s words from Malraux cult book The Obsidian Head saying the following: “We should awake people and stir their comprehension of life. We should do unacceptable acts to make people furious. We should force them to understand they live in the horrible world which is not what they think it is”.
Maja Obradovic is aware of the importance of a moment and pulsing of time and the difficulty and seriousness, of the assignment set. With her drawings done on tails in combined techniques like India ink, pastel, crayon, water colors, inserted photographs or original objects like socks, fiber materials, straight pins, children’s applications, gloves or hands in relief and often and as if warning, this young artist creates a moving painting confession interwoven and revived memories in unusually brave and imaginable compositions. She discovers intimate world in its closhis with human bodies, more rarely in love and erotic touches of body or presentiments of a possible and different sensations. Those are bodies of deformed, curled up, injured, wounded, bent and extremely expressive firmed, human beings, before and mad and hysterical creatures now. Sometimes, those are bodies of close persons and sometimes of autobiographical characters. Human body is a fact an object of her attention, a central preoccupation of the artist and human sufferings and tragedy are her dominant theme. Body is a starting point of establishing some relations, it saves to posses and emanate the most intensive feelings. That is a body oppressed and overloaded with psychic, erotical and dramatic feelings and emotional intensity. That is a body that is tense, wounded, slaughtered, in bizarre poses, distorted, deformed, with morphological disproportions, with poor faces, frightened and astonished, longing for or foreboding what could have happened but did not. The body here is not treated as an “object of lust”, but as an inevitable factor of total and especially in human relations, those of violence against the body. Maja Obradovic places her victims in the shoes of an observer, thus surviving and running away from its own body looking for a salvation on and only way out. Her victim survives a horror by the testimony and remembrance and at the same time uses this painting language to scream and warn. Specific presence of red color that could always associate with blood and war, cutting, slaughtering and stabbing in soft tissue, with violent rope penetration is in any case the author’s intentional choice to have effects underlining also a certain ambivalence. “The red is a vulnerable beauty”, says Maja. “That is a color which cries and makes you joyful, happy and smiling”. It means pain and smile, horror and happiness, brutal reality, and uncertain hope for the better, tragedy and sufferings, but deliverance, too. The hand here is to remind of its detestable role. That is not a hand which creates, but one that strangles, is violent, kills, slaughters, scrapes, hits, pulls hair out, hurts and tortures a body.
Also, parts of a sentence are frequently incorporated into the very drawings. Those are written words emerging from red depths of a complex mind that courageous Maja Obradovic gets through sovereignly. Her drawing opus also includes drawings printed on a tail, and an application, an object or colors stressing drawing interventions are printed on a paper as a base behind the toil. We can often see vacuum objects, too. The overlapping of these two surfaces of different materials results in clear visual effects and complex painting creations.
In conclusion of this short review, we can state that this young painter does not create beauty in the sense of classic aesthetics. Her works bring excitement, and anxiety. They speak of excessive madness of the world in which rules and reason do not exist. As if a man is rushing to his own disaster with an increasing speed of his own. However, traces of hope can be found in some segments and those parts of red color which suggest that we have right to each and smallest joy in our limited and in most cases senseless lives. With her speech and expression, this young artist builds her little stone into a structure, which should mean a sense of existence.
By some concurrence of circumstances, through new program concepts and new projects of young fine arts artists, Marko Markovic started his first creative interventions in the Chaos Gallery. Besides some group performances within the cycles of Progressive Hopes and Real Presence manifestations under the supervision of Biljana Tomic and Dobrila Denegri recently, this young sculptor had a noticeable solo show of his drawings on the very walls of the Gallery together with his geometric objects and simplified sculptural forms. This, time, however, Marko does not show his works done directly onto the walls. As the second laureate of the Award for Drawings, he has this time prepared a video presentation of all his works so far in the country and abroad. This video records are of special value as his drawings done directly on walls with a graphite pencils are not all saved, as for example those in former rooms of the Chaos Gallery. Those drawings on the outer walls of a church in Graz where this young artist spent some time within a residential program are of special interest. The project is named as the Announcement of the Two Sculptures because those drawings show transformed forms from an archeological site near Gratz are done in the place where two tombs stones are supposed to be placed. However, one drawing of big dimensions on a wooden panel will be exhibited this time and it comes from the series of works on human body, in this case the nose, a respiratory organ that has a visible and imaginary part.
What characterizes Marko is a certain analytics, abstractness, not intrusive but detailed created idea. He patiently studies ideal forms, which is undoubtedly primary for the sculpture. He makes comparisons, composes, multiplies and creates a form as a new body and then transforms those new bodies form a drawing into a sculptural form, takes them from two dimensional to three dimensional state reaching in this way ideal artistic solutions, as he determines it. Marko considers one detail taken from nature, as for example an ear, a part of human body, which has its visible, and it’s invisible inner part. He gets an independent and new form of the year by linking left and right and gets out a spiral as a basic geometrical form. By replacing plans he builds up different structures and makes combinations that on two-dimensional level create a drawing and in three dimensions a developed form of a sculpture. But, this is not the end of the story. He is most interested in the inner sight of mind’s creations from which he draws his already shaped forms done with perfection which are neither pure abstraction nor geometric forms but imaginary presentations composed of several elements, some eight or six elements of human body like the head, torso, two arms and two legs which make a certain structure. The point is always in the materialization of idea, and artificial forms which lead to the finalization of the idea. As said by Biljana Tomic ”Through his drawing, sculpture and medium, the artist visualizes the invisible areas of physical and biological nature and nature in general”.
The drawings of Marko Markovic, done in al secco, with graphite leads on the walls of galleries, monasteries, other public places and private villas, remain as always exciting, beautiful and special painting, drawings to remember, even as video records only. The creation method he has chosen opens his door to the contemporary world of painting and fresh and more interesting artistic practice.
Supported by the Award for Drawing of our eminent academician Vladimir Velickovic, those two young creators undoubtedly deserve our trust and with their diligence, persistence, serious approach an giving as in return this beautiful, well thought-out and high-quality exhibition of drawings in the Chaos Gallery at the end of this calendar year.
Translated by Maja Zauner
Maja Obradovic was born in Belgrade on july 19 1983. As a student of the generation she finished The School of design in Belgrade, in 2001. She finished the Faculty of Fine Arts, Department for Painting, Class of Professor Jovan Sivacki. After the end of her regular studies (2007), she started her Ph.D. studies (2008). Had several group exhibitions in Belgrade, and several solo exhibitions: in Germany (2008), and a year after she exhibited twice in Belgrade. She is the winner of the award of the Faculty of Fine Arts - "Ljubica Sokic, Painter and ALU Professor",Belgrade, 2004/05, Great Academy award "Rista i Beta Vukanovic, The Painters", (2006/2007), and first award for drawing from the foundation of “Vladimir Velickovic" (2008), etc.
Member of ULUS since 2008.
Member of ULUS since 2008.
Marko Markovic was born in Belgrade, on July 17. He graduated at The Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade Class of Professor Mrdjan Bajic, in 2008. He is now studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, Class of Professor Heimo Zobernig. He had several group exhibitions within the projects of Real Presence and Progressive Hopes in Belgrade, Rivoli (Italy) and Singapore, and also had two solo exhibitions in The Chaos Gallery (2008) and Youth Hall (2009). He has so far been awarded twice for sculpture (FLU) and twice for the drawing on wall, (Award for Drawing “Vladimir Velickovic”), (2008). This year, he has residentially stayed in Graz for advanced studies.