Unending Interiors

Mirjana Vodopija


Thanks to numerous noted solo exhibitions and participations in group exhibitions and manifestations, including also a joint exhibition with Damir Babić in the Museum of Fine Arts in Split in 2015, Mirjana Vodopija asserted her reputation as one of the most distinctive media artist in the eyes of the public and experts. Thereby, in relation to such art practice based on the contemporary digital technology, Vodopija's printmaking and drawing skills, that essentially, and not just by education, mark her artistryin key criteria of clarity, imaginativeness and technical perfection, remained in the background, even to those who have been collaborating with her for a long time. Therefore, the Unending interiors (Beskonačneunutrašnjosti) in the Kula Gallery reminds us welcomingly of and brings us back to the roots of Vodopija's artistry, presenting new variations of synergy of analogue visual art disciplines with their digital counterparts, she used to realize her latest drawing and print cycles. Quite certainly, a circle of proceedings and procedures that mark formal phases of the artist's oeuvre is closed by their fusion into a new formal unity.
After all, Mirjana Vodopija belongs to the generation of artists thatpromoted contamination of visual art disciplines and media art as the standard visual language of contemporary art practice of the times in the nineties. For her generation, continuous testingof their artpractice, and shifting the limits of expression in execution of diverse variations of personal artistic aspirations, was a self-understandable way of conduct.Thus, pursuing her interest in macro and micro cosmic dimensions of the reality beyond the trendy formal, contextual and/or technological preferences of the currentpractice, Mirjana Vodopija achieved inexhaustible diversity of her oeuvre.Some of its best known highpoints are levitating modular objects and their luminescent variations, as well asworksexploring light itself and its co-relation with nature and the living world in general, or the human daily life in particular. The phrase "and there was light" connects the spiritual and scientific views of the reality, while the entire richness of the perceptible world opened to the human cognitive apparatus in its inexhaustibility by photonsis more than a sufficient motive ofinspiration and artistic creation. Vodopija is not engaged in a critical analysis of the reality, she celebrates it from the humanistic point of view in all ofitsliving manifestations and rhythms, which impliesoneness withthe natural, cosmic order of the reality and hedonism of human existence basedon the equivalence of everything living under the skies,including permanent human responsibility for their earthly survival. I believe that these are summarily indicated principles upon which it is possible to claim that all digitally recorded, modified, assembled and upgraded, and, thus, virtual landscapes Vodopija has been creating in the recent years are actually the visualizations of her inner world. In other words, they aresome kind of interiorsand not exteriors, as we might have been misguided by our eyes. That fact is also indicated by the very title of this exhibition.
The drawings and graphics exhibited in the Kula Gallery are another clear confirmation of the above statements. The compositions executed in both selected techniques include the forms drawn by the artist's hand and the digitally recorded landscape which most often dissipates in light. The drawing segmentof the exhibition is simpler in its execution. The landscapesare inkjetprinted photographs on paper, mounted on plywood or, more rarely, on a metal plate. On them, the artistdraws shapes of small imaginary beings that at one momentconverge towards the plant world, and at another towards the animal kingdom. These areentire populations of tiny, airy halflings revealed onlyto the artist’s insight. We were acquainted with these beings thatinhabit and unify the visible world as merry ethereal spirits in Mirjana Vodopija’s drawings ofsome thirty years ago, in which their universe bereaved of gravity completely filled the surface of the compositions in hundreds of unrepeatable variations. The outlines and forms of these fairy-tale beings are executed by automatic drawing in direct outpour of the artist's unconscious imagery. Some of the compositions mounted on plywood are intentionally torn, revealing the wooden background and making it their integral part. It isa somewhat mechanical signal warning us not to stay on the surface of things, but to direct our thoughts towards the essential causes of a creative act.
The prints are technically more complex, sincein their execution several printmaking techniques -namely,etching, aquatint and drypoint, are intertwined. Digital recordings of the landscapes are transferred to the plate followed by other procedures, such as drawing of omnipresent small creatures by the classical printmaking technique, and scraping off for the shady, dark parts of the composition. The specific quality of the prints comes from the usage of the exceptionally thin, transparent paper. The artist has chosen such paper because,upon folding of the imprint in half into the final dimension of the work, its transparency enables one to see the shapes of the other half of the imprint through the surface one is looking at. Fine filtering of light through layers of paper adds the depth to the composition,enhances the softness of shapes and, simply, contributes to the magic of the overall impression. Of course, prints are set hanging free in space, so that the views are opened through both halves of the imprint.
Exhibited bodies of workarean intuitive retrospection that connects two thematic and technical cycles divided by timeand, as always, the applied method eludes any of the customary definitions. It is simply Mirjana Vodopija in her creative infinity.

Branko Franceschi

Galerija kula
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