Fragility of Life
winner DENES Award , 2003
The prominent particularities of the young Macedonian engraver Slavica Janešlieva (1973) are the result of her intelligent and fantastic relation, but at the same time nostalgic towards her "existential milieu". It includes her domestic circle but also important and loved people from the past that continue being a basic element in her today's life. There are even the impulses coming from her "origin" to which, Janešlieva, refers in the emotional semantic key: she realizes their sharp synthesis through the use of models of the present artistic praxis in the shape of complex installations in which graphics and video recording get together with suggestive objects, with natural manifestations and sounds. But Janešieva knows - as in the graphic works shown - how to concentrate on the graphic expression apparently non-narrative: this refined "new informal" owes its minutely realized "non-talking" manufacture to the inventive use of the bark of wood.
Through this elitist and introvert process echoes the relation of Slavica Janělieva with the sacral spheres ("The Wooden Angel"), with the metaphorical expressions of her concept of Nature ('The wood", "The Forest", "Core"); all that is conveyed through a matched technique (bas-relief on wood, dry point, inlay, embossed stamp) as result of the high professional and technical culture.
(from catalogue "Matrix" - Trieste Contemporanea, 1999)
Narratives and the Blooming of Symbols
...only the images of my youth fascinate me... So it is not nostalgia for happy times, which rivets me to these photographs but something more complicated... When consideration ... treats the image as a detached being, makes it the object of an immediate pleasure, it no longer has anything to do with the reflection, however oneiric, of an identity; it torments and enthralls itself with a vision which is not morphological... but organic.
Slavica Janešlieva' s most recent series of prints, which, due to their binary structure, are entitled Narratives and Symbols, have been created in the period between 1998 and 2004. Although conceived on entirely different stylistic and thematic concepts they share a common feature which, in a very subtle way, manifests an obsessive presence of traces of time past.
After the initial reception of the differently modeled and performed series we as recipients start to look for details. The titles of the prints themselves refer to what manifests itself as their mutual distinction, i.e. the presence and the absence of (auto)referentiality, (auto)citation, narratives as well as to the artist's passion and pleasure in the act of experimenting with different kinds of graphic techniques. In the subtle combining, i.e. in the shading and harmonization of techniques, we sense the emanation of the artist's pleasure in the outcomes of her alchemy play. In Janšlieva's different discourses we detect the identical rhythm of the soft, sophisticated emotional melodic structure of the line which establishes a balance between the luxuriously intoned lyric and the relaxing, economical narrative continuity of both series.
The synchronized reception of Janešlieva' s prints, with the magic of their lyricism, their soft, warm lines, which since her early childhood continue their creative dreaming and hovering over the surface of the paper, fascinates us a priori. Through her dreaming and fantasies, or to use Klee's expression, by her "dreaming the line", in various chronological contexts we follow the gradual development, i.e. the growth and formation, of the artist's creative identity.
In her journey along the intimate family and personal routes, in her readings and interpretations of the stories embroidered in the manuscripts and their association with the fragmentary drawings from early childhood, as well as in her personal and family photo graphics, in their simulated old coating we do not only recognize the brightness of her own personal myth about childhood, but also the joy in and the nostalgia for our own, although shabby and intense, nevertheless constantly existing myth.
The structure of Slavica Janešlieva's myth poetic stories, spun and woven out of old letters, family photo-albums and children's drawings, places them on the pedestal of her current inventiveness. They signify the centr, the sacred places in which we recognize with joy the flourishing of the lines and, as Barthes says, "the blooming of symbols". The prints from the series Narratives are all a kind of testimony, a collection of multiplied fragments of family annals in which Janešlieva, through her own discourse and point of view, writes herself (in), imprints herself and reads herself. Through the concentrated emotion manifested by the colors and obscured photographs and drawings the artist at the same time becomes a narrator who guides us through the trajectory of both her own and our reminiscences. Gradually from one print to the next she subtly directs us towards an affirmation of our longing after the origin of the primary, long forgotten archaic virginity.
Retrospectively projecting, writing and dreaming herself through the play of citations and auto citations, Janešlieva suggests a subtle dialog on love, which expects from us a response with an identical emotion and identification of her desires with those of our own. The magic of Jane‰lieva's lyric textual weaving secures a further flourishing, a polisemy of the narration which inevitably emanates an unstable and constantly new, a changeable image of interpretation.
(Catalogue "Narratives and Symbols", National Gallery, Skopje, 2004)
07. 11. 2007 02:13:16
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