22 November, 2003

By Kosta Bogdanovic


Forms of contemporary interpretations or reinterpreta- tions of artistic, as well as any other, experience, given ‘in honour of’ or for another reason, presuppose a significantly freer adoption of ideas, so as to include the artist as directly as possible in the trends of rapidly changing conventions and categories of value. The classic understanding of a gained experience, as the possibility to create newness, comprises a motto in the word lemma (Greek for taken) which presupposes, especially in philosophy, the act of taking what is good and what can be good for others. Contemporary reinterpretation and the adoption of existing ideas and experiences in the spirit of postmodernism, does not refer so much to what is good as to what is ’trendy’, especially in art. The more time has passed since the innovative phenomena in art at the beginning of the 20th century, and since those which were shocking in their day, the more the language and expression of modern and contemporary art become conventional before new aspects of visual perception, offered by contemporary visual mediators and the world of contemporary technical virtuality. Painting ’still’ using classical means and materials gradually warns of the essence of the ’anthropological constant’ in the theory of visual culture, referring to the status of certain permanent conventions and values which are not liable to change and are deeply rooted as a feature of the self of a human being and mankind, such as love, a sense of justice, the need to create with the use hands, and other typically human characteristics of man.

Recent paintings by Goran Jureša bear all the attributes of classical-modern and contemporary expression, judging both by the manner in which they are created and by the recognizable manifestation of their visual semiotic quality and effect. The very first encounter with his newer paintings and drawings creates the impression-reflection about an established attitude towards the creators of abstract expressionism, such as Franz Kline, Helen Frankenthaler, Adolf Gottlieb and others. However, memories of these artists are quickly abandoned as one goes deeper into the problematics of wider meanings, where Jureša finds his starting point.

Since he is an artist who invariably approaches a painting with the need to first see a concrete thing or a well-known image, which he addresses in a painterly manner, in the recent series of his paintings and drawings one notices traces of certain articulations in the linear-sign structure, which he does not feel obliged to maintain while working. Some hardly recognizable letters, or traces of music signs, especially in drawings, create a basis for a ’more intimate conception’ only to leave everything, especially in paintings, to total improvisation in the form of a carefree game of discovering the unkown. In such an ingenious play of ’mismatches’ (nothing matches anything else), the ongoing process is one of wandering and mutual search for building up, until a rightly perceived moment when ’the game is no more’.

Thereby the principle is imposed of uniqueness in the given shapes, their differences in similarity forming a specific world of the reflective signification of the streams and meaning of everyday actuality, in the form of suddenly serious pictorial infantility in which the visual mode bears the seal of mature experience of the observer and translator of the seen and understood being and world in the general sense of the speed of duration and uncertainty of existence. In that sense, recent works by Goran Jureša cannot be associated only with comparative and retroactive phenomena in the art world as the suggestiveness of this kind of tendency towards engagement in his latest paintings and drawings is more of a symbolical indicator of the pace of reality in the time present. That kind of interpretation of visually symbolized states in the recent works of this young artist brings him closer to the world of engaged artists than to certain post-expressionist poetics in recent art.

What significantly contributes to this sugestiveness is the manner and means of creating these paintings and drawings, recognizable from the traces left by applying paint on canvass or paper with the palm or fingers. It is a process of directly imprinting pigment (oil paint and oil pastel) on the surface.

Such a work method also creates striking symbolism of the signification of the overall living of reality. Strokes with heavy and uneven contours as a state in existence, the form of which is indistinct, or heavy stains made by the palm, are suggestively connotative in the approximate meaning ’In naked life I have nothing but myself’.

This does not necessarily signify an artist’s statement about himself, but can certainly mean ’in the name of the majority’. In this way, the apparent infantility is looking for a starting point in innocent immediacy, and the state of translating the painted form into significations of real life streams can be found in forms of an exclusively artistic provenance.

Thus, the world of Jureša’s painting in this phase is completed with a contour in what remains of the field of vision of the canvass or paper as a symbolically sufficient entity which keeps the gathered forms, as a visual metaphor signifying instability and uncertainty determined by everyday life. Therefore the recent works of this artist cannot be understood without the necessary level of empathy with the destinies of decomposed, fragmented coloured shapes which ’reluctantly consent to the spatially limited coexistence’ in the field of vision of space and pictorial substance applied with bare hands.

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