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THROUGH THE BINOCULARS OF THE GRAPHIC COLLECTIVE - MAPPING HISTORY


Lidija Antanasijević


During the previous four decades of her intensive creative career, Lidija Antanasijević has become a critically acclaimed and award-winning figure on both the local and international art scenes. Antanasijević is an example of an artist whose practice reflects a carefully nurtured and well-balanced relationship between creating within the expanded field of graphic media and upholding the traditional values of the Belgrade printmaking school. Since her debut and master's exhibition at the Graphic Collective in 1991, which heralded an exceptionally strong authorial emergence, this artist has been researching the problematic framework of identity through various media forms of graphicism, its powerful visualization, the condensed energy of linear and artistic expression, and a convincing visual style. In that same year, she settled in London and continued to create under different circumstances.
With faith in the suggestiveness and expressive properties of the printmaking medium, the author often uses dramatic contrasts in layering in the conceptualization and creation of her works in order to draw focus to the tensions within the human psyche and the unrest of the general existential and/or personal creative introspective discourse. "... she stepped into the zone of space in which her attention is focused on the discovery of certain states of mind… she expresses herself through a form in which the degree of completion is not important, she adopts the graphic matrix as a specific organism, the drama of the performance brought to an aggressive effect" - fragments from the critical reflection on this exhibition from January 1991. In the same year, her work was presented in the Graphic Collective in the exhibition entitled Seven Contemporary Serbian Printmakers, curated by Ljiljana Ćinkul.


                   

L. Antanasijević, portrait; L. Antanasijević, Untitled, 2006, woodcut, 75x49 cm, Great Seal Award; L. Antanasijević, Longing, combined technique, 53x39 cm

     

L. Antanasijević, 7:30, 1990, combined technique, 78x106 cm; L. Antanasijević, Twelve eggs, 1988, aquatint, 53x74 cm

 

L. Antanasijević, Nightmare, 1993, combined technique, 67.5x94 cm, Great Seal Award; L. Antanasijević, Inventory, 2014, etching/photogravure, 15x20 cm, Small Seal Award


Living in London, Lidija Antanasijević continues to exhibit regularly in her homeland - she became the laureate of the Great Seal of the Graphic Collective award in 1994 for the work entitled Nightmare, she exhibited independently at the Belgrade Cultural Center in 1996, and in 2004. her activist installation at the October Salon was well noticed.
With impeccable and sovereign mastery of the technical potential of printmaking, the artist easily sublimates (auto)reflexive messages and the nuanced sensibility of femininity into a diary entry, a part of which starts to include the experiences of a cultural nomad living in between Serbia and England. Similar poetic preoccupations are also present in the graphic installation In Silence, presented at the Graphic Collective in August/September 2009. A hand-printed woodcut measuring 3x2.60 meters, was conceived as an installation and an in situ work; the work dominates the space of the gallery, integrating into its energy potential the very ambiance of the space surrounded by paneling. Part of this conceptual and visual artistry is the graphic matrix itself, which is made of untreated boards, and the result of such a print is an emphasized expression and sculptural effect. In contrast to the rustic wooden matrix is the extremely fine Japanese paper (like for printing currency) on which the work is printed. Created in the silence of creative solitude in which place, time, origin and the ephemerality of the day are forgotten, with a touch of the subversive and even mystical, this work is also a kind of elixir of creative personality. "The Homoid, the only actor in the graphic frame In silence, is overwhelmed with ideas, probably confused thoughts, words; letters flow from his mouth, he spits them out like a Titan would his children. Liberation?...Virtual reality and personal language. But above all, an expressive code of communication." - as put in the foreword of the catalog. In the form of an imaginary interview with the artist, Ljiljana Ćinkul analyzed the iconographic and symbolic layers of this monumental installation, whose smaller fragments were scattered on the floor and walls of the gallery. The theme was, in the words of the printmaker herself, the desire, need and passion to express herself in the gap in which she lives, between two cultures and two languages (Cyrillic and Latin scripts are mixed, Serbian and English intertwined and come out simultaneously), between two different artistic styles of expression: fine arts-visual (Serbian) and verbal-visual (English). The metaphysical dimension of human consciousness and the real identity of being can be seen in the double image of the beautiful and the demonic.


           

           

     

Preparing the matrix and printing prints for the graphic installation In Silence (2008/2009, woodcut, 300x260 cm) in the studio of L. Antanasijević; installation of the work In Silence in St. Matthew's Church in West Kensington, London (photo: Zoran Veljković)


Lidija Antanasijević is the laureate of the Small Seal Award in 2014., for the work Inventory, a print in which, according to the jury's explanation, the dynamics of the drawing texture of the etching in conjunction with the frozen frame of the photogravure creates a visually strong whole, almost negating the impression of the format of the work. At the annual May Printmaking Exhibition in 2019, she was the only artist to present a video work - a static frame focused on the artist's hands in the process of preparing a printmaking matrix.
The creative processes of Lidija Antanasijević and the activities of the Graphic Collective on the contemporary scene are firmly connected to each other in the affirmation of graphics and the role of a mediator in the professional and friendly connection of artists and art centers around the world. One part of that creative dialogue is the joint presentation of the Graphic Collective Collection by Lidija Antanasijević and Biljana Vuković in 2009 in Xi'An, China. Along with 44 artists, theoreticians, critics and art historians from Europe, Asia and North America, she also participated in the online edition of the international symposium "Printmaking On/Beyond the Edge" which was presented on the website of the Graphic Collective in 2021.

Translation: Dunja Karanović


     

       

Installation and opening of the exhibition of L.Antanasijević In Silence/In Silence at the Graphic Collective Gallery, August 31, 2009 (the exhibition was opened by Ljiljana Ćinkul and Ivona Rajačić Barandovski); catalog of the exhibition


Lidija Antanasijević (1961. Belgrade) graduated in 1988 at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade, department of graphics, in the class of prof. Boško Karanović. At the same faculty, in 1991, she received her master's degree in the class of prof. Marko Krsmanović. She is the winner of numerous awards and recognitions (2022 Flourish Award for printmaking, Great Britain, 2019 Golden Pin for Graphics, ULUS Spring Exhibition, 2014 Small Seal and 1994 Great Seal of the Graphic Collective 1994...). Her works are in collections around the world - Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Museum of Chinese Graphics in Guanlan, Shenzhen; National Museum, Poznań; Museum of Contemporary Art, Shamalje... She exhibits regularly in Serbia and abroad. She is a member of ULUS. Since 1991, she lives and works in London. She became a member of Royal West of England Academy (RWA) in 2021.




 

 

 
 
 
 
   
Graphic Collective Gallery, Dragoslava Jovanovića 11, Belgrade, Weekdays 12 - 20h, Saturdays 12 - 17h, Sundays closed
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