Visual Elegies

Visual Elegies by Maja Vodanovic

Bernard Olivier

In Vodanovic’s work, each painting can be seen as a historical construction, where characters and places, objects and texts evoke real events or imaginary occurrences. The motionless images are not snapshots from a camera, they are more like deliberate synthese, condensing in a two-dimensional frame a temporal perspective. The temporal perspective appears through four planes corresponding to four distinct moments of the artist’s experience.

The first moment is the moment of the represented scene. Vodanovic,s paintings often combine distinct scenes, juxtaposed in the pictorial field and related through visual analogies and metonymies. Generally the central scene can be read as the present time of the narrative. Arround it other places offer what could be possible anterior moments, explaining the main scene, or what could be an anticipation of future events whose origins lie in the central scene. Vodanovic’s theme of remembrance and anticipation, of souvenir and promise is incidentally represented in the collage of varius historical texts: old letters, official certificates, period publications.

The second moment is the moment of the painter’s production. Vodanovic’s painting results from a long elaboration where shapes are born from layering of washes, where the composition results from the progressive assembly of diverse elements. In the final result, the work appears in some places in progress, incomplete, offset by details where the technique is more polished and controlled, thus reflecting in the painting itself the process of creation.

The third moment occurs when one views the painting. Vodanovic,s works weave complex visual paths linking different shapes. Thes paths invite the gaze to explore and discover the scene, not only as an instantaneous ensemble, but as a cinematic sequence. It has long been part of the atist’s preoccupations to create this choreography of the gaze.

The fourth moment is the construcion of memory. Memory is produced by a constant and deliberate work of synthesis performed by our consciousness and our dreams. With this work, we are able to orient ourselves in the chaotic stream of our experience. This fundamental dimension of our existence is represented in the theme as well as in the manner of Vodanovic,s works.

These different moments are simultaneously present in the works of Vodanovic and they create, through a temporal perspective, a renewed continuity between a revived past and a repossesed present.