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THROUGH THE BINOCULARS OF THE GRAPHIC COLLECTIVE - MAPPING HISTORY


Nevenka Stojsavljević


Since her first solo exhibition at the Graphic Collective in 1979, the process of creative changes in the work of Nevenka Stojsavljević has flowed logically and gradually over the decades in the natural exploration of artistic means, focusing mainly on printmaking in the first stages of her artistic career. The diversity of collaged compositions and the idea of transferring a factographic fragment, both typical for her early works, were over time replaced by more concentrated graphic imagery that invokes ideal horizons of light. The changes and tension in the works did not subside, it was just that the focal point shifted from the figurative-associative to the associative-abstract, so that today, towards the ideals of existential essence and preservation of integrity, she realized a sophisticated form of geometrical aesthetics.
Her aspiration towards the phenomenon of poetic sublimation is emphasized by the titles of the series "Silver" (2000), "Sublimation" (2006) or "Linear Planes" (2003-2017), which range from printmaking to mixed media on paper. Clearly, there are no radical cuts in the poetic discourse, but in the mature phase the model of creative vision has been changed; according to the developed geometric scheme, the plan of optical fictions balances the emotional and rational levels, encouraging, also, the thinking about the inner autonomy and the laws of creative logic, the historical artistic influences and traditions, ideals, conventional idioms, and systems of self/defense.


                   

N. Stojsavljević, portrait;
N. Stojsavljević, Me?, 1978, aquatint, 7954 cm;
N. Stojsavljević, Memory, 1982, mixed media, 78x53 cm.

         

N. Stojsavljević, Uniforms, 1985, mixed media, 56x78 cm;
N. Stojsavljević, Like rain, 1989, combined technique, 78x44 cm.

                   

N. Stojsavljević, Pure Thought, 1992, linocut, 67.5x106 cm, Great Seal Award 1993;
N. Stojsavljević, Peacefully, 1996, linocut, 100x70 cm;
N. Stojsavljević, Law of the Trinity, 2017, silkscreen, 75x55 cm.


Obviously, a special excitement emerged from the inner contemplation nuanced through the immediate release of creative impulses, spontaneity, intuition, measure, balance, and the artist’s efforts to overcome material and spiritual dependence on conventions that tend to burden artists’ individual styles with particular mannerisms. Accumulated experience and the impulsive creative climate of the 1990s gave a new quality to Nevenka Stojsavljević's printmaking practice. Spaces of convincing expressiveness, the quality of the surface, and the powerful effect of its vibrancy, the light and intensity of the line, the texture of the strokes that saturate the graphic tissue, the interplay of black, gray, and white; an atmosphere of poetic rhythmicity reminiscent of the sound of a repetitive musical number – all found their place in Stojsavljević’s works. The concentrated graphic quality that emanates ideal horizons of light has been transferred into an artistic register of geometrized situations in which the dominant construction of vertical strips, their broken and continued flow, their stacking and overlapping in the frame of a labyrinth affirm order, formal discipline, and its fragmentary and schematic nature. Likewise, the relatively small number of projected elements is inversely proportional to their visual effect.
Referring to the "Sublimation" series, we wrote: "From the point of view of the spatial definition of the harmonized compositional structure, materiality and rhythm of composition emerge, and the space-light problem can be elaborated as a phenomenon of geometrical space:cosmic space/light, the Cartesian system and the artistic score, more precisely their connection with mathematics and music, which is talked about a lot in the genesis of geometric abstraction (Mondrian, Albers, Bauhaus...). Recycling the experience of historical avant-gardes is a common process and its re/interpretation a legitimate phenomenon."
Stojsavljević’s creative continuity and sincere dedication to sharpening the creative idea have been showcased at selected exhibitions, and their positive critical reviews have led to numerous awards/recognitions. The jury consisting Nebojša Radojev, Bogdan Kršić and Vladimir Rozić, awarded her the Great Seal in 1993 for the linogravure "Pure Thought" , and elaborated thus: "The awarded work is distinguished by its monumentality, purity and the power of graphic expression. The author is focused on building black-and-white rhythmic structures, similar to fragments of architectural environments, which are emancipated from the visible and represent graphic-plastic liberation."
Since her first solo exhibition (1979), throughout the decades, the tension in Nevenka Stojavljević's work has not subsided, she has managed to avoid developing a particular mannerism, and her predominant affirmation in the Belgrade graphic circle over the past decades has been expanded by her concentration on the medium of drawing/painting. She exhibited at the Graphic Collective in 1985 and 2000, and the concept of large-format works, often composed in diptych and polyptych units, corresponded to the new visual units of art treatment, tackling the vibrations and refractions of light, air and water.


               

Catalogs of Nevenka Stojsavljević's exhibitions at the Graphic Collective in 1979, 1985, 2000.


The mature phase of Nevenka Stojsavljević’s life and artistic career is marked by a search for conceptual and visual essence, and the selection of works from the "Linear planes" series, which was recently exhibited in Belgrade, highlighted the constant process in which she balances the emotional and rational levels, with an iconic value as part of the thinking process about internal autonomy and the laws of creative logic. Using natron paper as a base (unbleached sulfate cellulose with a brown tone), the noble material is included in the reduced color register and the harmony of gold and silver; the harmonious visual composition is emphasized by accents of saturated red, ochre, blue, white, black pigments, creating an atmosphere of poetic rhythm close to a musical phrase. Within the given system, this concentrated graphic aesthetic is directly related to the reflection of light and the quality of its gradation. Ljiljana Slijepčević wrote about the established balance between the poetic ethereality of the space and the rational "mathematical" harmony of the constructive scheme. Marcuse's idea that the realm of freedom is beyond mimesis finds its confirmation in the work of this artist.

Translation: Dunja Karanović



Nevenka Stojsavljević (1953. Velika Popina) graduated in 1977 from the Academy of Applied Arts in Belgrade, class of prof. Božidar Džmerković, and she received her master's degree in 1980 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade, class of prof. Boško Karanović. Since 1979, she has exhibited independently and at collective exhibitions in the country and abroad (Belgrade, Oslo, Tokyo, Galicia, Prague...). Awards/selection: Golden pin at the International Biennale of Graphics Dry Point, Užice, 1995; ULUS Golden Pin, 1996. She was a professor at the School of Fine and Applied Arts in Belgrade.


 

 

 
 
 
 
   
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