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Barbara Vasić

I draw you a story – to tell you a story

6 - 17. March 2018.

On Tuesday, March 6th at 7 pm is opened the exhibition I draw you a story – to tell you a story by Serbian-Irish artist Barbara Vasić.

Storytelling is both ancient and also the current 'buzz' concept within the culture industry. While certain 'rules' of storytelling have long been discussed and debated in artistic circles, recent years have witnessed an explosion of interest beyond this realm. An article in Forbes magazine in 2016 declared that storytelling is "the new strategic imperative of business." It seems every product launch, every Ted talk, every political campaign must bring you on a ‘journey’. Alongside this growing appetite for narrative, any quick internet search will locate an increasing number of storytelling formulae 'guaranteed' to connect the artist/producer with their audience/customer. Serbian-Irish artist Barbara Vasic's tripartite exhibition sceptically engages with this limiting concept of storytelling both thematically and aesthetically. Our lives are not often experienced as a neat story – with a smooth transition through beginning, middle and end. Jack London's classic 1903 tale of a St Bernard-Scotch Shepherd's (Buck) journey from sedate, domesticated living in California to the harsh experience of the Yukon wilderness has entertained generations of children and adults. Thus the enduring success of The Call of the Wild could be reduced to its apparent structure as a classic archetypal tale of reconnecting with the natural world. Such a reading is to underestimate the importance of singular moments of intense fear, anger and love that Buck and the reader feels at numerous points within the text. The immersive style of Vasic's rendering of key moments in the tale, submerges the viewer into Buck's perspective. There is a narrative here, but there is also a strong recognition that in moments of particular intensity, the now reigns supreme. And the now, is often hectic, heart pumping and confusing. The point of view of a single, particular moment dominates. We are experiencing this moment in all its immediacy and importance – it is not merely a subset of some wider, settled story arc. Plato's myths are some of the most important foundational narratives underpinning western civilisation. Vasic's nine illustrations are created for an academic book of philosophy and printed deploying archival digital ink on traditional Japanese paper. They are drawings that are illustrative, but also capture the central elements from a selection of Plato's myths, rendering them into symbols, which can be regarded as pointers that offer independent reading. Finally the series Butterfly, is a modern myth created by the artist herself. Loosely deploying the structure of a storyboard, Vasic's tale is depicted using an expressive, personal style. Rather than merely building the architecture of a story, the series explores the validity of a certain level of abstraction in making single moments of action relatable to the viewer. The mysterious scene at the beginning, visually echoes work from the artist's last Belgrade show (In Search of Space 2012), but it also urges the viewer to recognise the uncanny, unknowable and chaotic realm that surrounds all our human stories. What eventually emerges is an everyday commuting scene, a journey most recognisable and banal. But then within this routine setting, the introduction of something ordinary has, however fleetingly, an extraordinary impact on our everyday. The butterfly's unexpected arrival moves the story forward. These are arrested moments in time. Of validity and consequence on their own, not merely as a succession of moments that accumulate as a 'story'. Moments that exist independently, moments that we passionately experience in the now – the powerful, individual, present moments that constitute the story of our lives.

(text written by David Lynch, Irish writer and journalist)

Barbara Vasić graduated from Faculty of Fine Arts, department of painting (Belgrade, 2000), production of interactive media (Dublin, 2002), master degree on virtual realities (Dublin, 2004). She had solo exhibitions in Belgrade (1995, 1996, 2005, 2012), and participated in many collective exhibitions (Serbia, Ireland, Armenia, France). She works in different media: drawing, illustration, animation, expanded media, and she realized three short films. She got a few awards in the field of fine arts.

Opening of the exhibition



Grafički kolektiv gallery, Obilićev venac 27, Belgrade
tel: +381.11.3285.923; tel/fax: +381.11.2627.785
working hours 11-20, saturday 10-16, closed on sunday