Exhibition

 

Utisnuto / Imprinted

 PREDRAG TODOROVIĆ-Imprinted

Although at first glance it invokes concepts of informalism, primary and analytical, the cycle titled “Imprinted” by Predrag Todorović is better approached by leaving these and other known determinants aside. Because ever visual piece of art, regardless of whether it is more visual art or conceptual by its nature – and Todorović’s are both – offers itself first and foremost through the perception that, however much devoid of innocence rather dependent on existing knowledge, nonetheless it has the task of once again coming into contact with the unknown. Readiness, therefore, to view something as if it is being seen for the first time, that experience and awareness open up to something that is something else and different from that which is known and acquainted with, is the basic ethical and ontological prerequisite for understanding art; and precisely when it appears that things are obvious, one should approach them as if they aren’t. In short, that as if is the only way to understand what in art is actually artificial, that is, that which is artificial.
One way of activating the perception of that as if of an art piece, that is, its artificial being, is to look more carefully at the way it originated in terms of execution. In the case of Todorović’s works, which we can conditionally call paintings-reliefs, this way, with the aid of some technical knowledge may be quite unequivocally reconstructed from the direct results. After he decides on the materials and procedures he will use, the artist randomly, without excessive aesthetic desire or predilection, arranges the subject situation with the aid of nylon of various characteristics and quality on the floor. Then he pours a gypsum-lime mass on it, which he binds to the canvas with the help of masonry net, which he lays down as the final layer; fastened to the frame, the gypsum dries and hardens. The final appearance of the painting-relief is achieved by the complete or partial removal of the nylon, whereby the gypsum falls off here and there, revealing the “later” layers of the painting-relief, while in the parts where it has remained, the surface bears the traces of the original, arranged situation.
This seemingly simple procedure significantly defines the pieces in this series, not only in terms of visual art, rather also conceptually. Unlike paintings and even reliefs that arise in a conventional way, which imply that something is added to a two-dimensional plane, Todorović’s paintings-reliefs originate in reverse – three-dimensional reality is added to the plane as its final extension. While on a conventional painting the plane represents the ontological basis of imaginary reality, which is conceived in accordance with two-dimensional laws, in Todorović's paintings-reliefs the plane can only be imagined as an imaginary category, as a speculative derivative of the actual reality. Furthermore, with this procedure Predrag Todorović minimalizes the intentionality of artistic intervention – removing himself as the direct causer of visual content,or intervening at the level preceding the final result,Todorović creates a situation in which the paintings-reliefs, as far as possible, directly accept reality without the intercession of the artist's will.The painting-relief thus arises literally relying on reality, quite the opposite of the Cartesian principle of the ocularocentric worldview, as it were simulating blindness, reducing the perception to touch, blind adherence to eventual reality, which on this occasion is embodied asa fact of forceful action on something that may have been straight, smooth and integral, and now it is bent, wrinkled and torn apart. The role of the subject as the actor of the event in such a set constellation has not disappeared, however it is integrated into an unnamed event that escapes rational control and exceeds the limits of understanding.
All this is evident on the design level: the raw surface that emerges by mere copying of a seemingly completely insignificant, random structure on an equally insignificant and banal gypsum substrate,does not reveal at first glance any idea except passive acceptance, the suffering of a state of things entirely outside the field of the painting – acquiring circumstances that neither arise from it, nor arrive to it with purpose. In the shapes it is possible, of course, to observe universal relations – changes, repetition, variations – as otherwise chaos would prevail, however the symbolic autonomy of these relations is truly minimal – the paintings-reliefs only represent themselves, as artistically interesting, however fragmentary parts of a comprehensive event, pars pro totoreality that escapes the representative power of the painting.
And it is precisely in this way experiences are imprinted in the subconscious; that which is stored in it are neither whole events nor meaningful and valuable content, rather peripheral remnants, tatters of reality that remain after the work of the memory does its thing, stimulating the senses whose reasons have no essential connection to the memorised event. And precisely when we don’t expect it, these impressions will search us out –called forth by some association, awakened by some daily sensation, they will provoke a pleasant or uneasy feeling, an emotional conglomerate that the memory has difficulty analysing, that is, breaking down into factors acceptable to the conscious I. Here somewhere too it would be good to search for the meaning of the title adorning the entire exhibition; that which is by its significance is irretrievable is “imprinted”, that which cannot be influenced, that which cannot be deleted or rationalised. In moving through these levels of experience, art has a certain advantage, but also a limited one–only insofar as it appears like the unconscious according to its symbolic constitution – which allows for more noise, more ambiguities and unknowns. Therefore, Todorović’s paintings-reliefs also have an undoubtable therapeutic value: their meaning or symbolic purpose is not based on the harmony of shapes or clarity of the show, rather on the bare fact that they are accessible to the senses; given that they function as a concrete ending, the subject outcome of the process that directly precedes it, or better said as remnants of an absent event whose limits or psychological causes are unknown – the fact that it is possible to actually see them or touch them is enough of a consolation that the question about what is actually going on here is set aside for the time being.

Ivana Mance
    

 
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