Srđan Tunić

art historian, freelance curator, cultural manager and researcher

Dejan Golić: Tightrope Necessity, crteži/drawings, 2019-2021. (video)

Video i tekst o crtačkoj praksi Dejana Golića povodom izložbe “Tightrope Necessity, Crteži 2019-2021.” u galeriji Remont, Beograd / Video and text about Dejan Golić’s drawing practice as part of “Tightrope Necessity, drawings 2019-2021” exhibition at gallery Remont in Belgrade.

SR:

Naziv izložbe Tightrope Necessity tj. potreba ili neophodnost za hodanjem po razapetoj žici je nešto što mi je uvek bilo inspirativno kod umetnika, bez obzira na medijum u kojem rade. Ta vidljiva borba na platnu, papiru, podijumu, privlači publiku, hipnotiše je. Oni sami postaju učesnici u toj borbi. Krajnji ishod i nije bitan, bitan je taj proces u kojem je tanka linija između uspeha i neuspeha. I da postoji to nešto što te gura da ponovo kreneš od tačke A do tačke B, iznova i iznova. Sam proces mog crtanja i jeste u neku ruku kao hodanje po razapetoj žici; često se desi da prođu nedelje, pa i meseci dok crtež “ne proradi”. A kada proradi, nema stajanja dok se crtež ne završi.

Prve ideje za kaligrafski pristup crtanju dobio sam čitajući knjige Vilijama Barouza, američkog pisca Bit generacije. Kao neko ko je deo detinjstva proveo u Libiji i naučio da odlično vlada i arapskim i francuskim jezikom, a kasnije tokom višegodišnjeg života u Londonu usavršio i engleski, Barouzov koncept jezika i pisane reči kao virusa me je duboko zainteresovao. Imao sam nesreću da na samom početku građanskog rata u Jugoslaviji budem u vojsci, i da iz te perspektive postanem svestan totalnog raspada identiteta jedne zemlje. Barouzovo nepoverenje u jezik kao jedan od osnovnih vidova kontrole informacija putem mas-medija, se poklopilo sa nekim mojim tadašnjim razmišljanjima. Jedan od ponuđenih vidova odbrane, neka vrsta antivirusa od te agresije i od manipulisanja identiteta, je kut-ap metoda. Tu se tekst koristi, iseca i spaja kao kolaž. Kao vid odbrane ponudjeno je i korišćenje hijeroglifa na način na koji su ih koristili Stari Egipćani i Maje; čak i izmišljenih piktograma, a time izbegavajući društvene i psihološke uslovljenosti konvencionalnog jezika. U svojim knjigama Barouz je često spominjao i Brajona Gajsina, britanskog slikara i multimedijskog umetnika koji je i došao do otkrića kut-ap metode i čije su slike bile inspirisane japanskom i arapskom kaligrafijom.

Ceo taj Barouzov koncept jezika kao virusa mi je postala neka vrsta opsesije, ali se nije kanalisala u nešto opipljivo neko duže vreme. Prvi preokret se desio velikom izložbom kaligrafskih crteža Anri Mišoa u Whitechapel galeriji. On mi je uvek bio jedan od omiljenih pesnika, ali je njegov vid slikarskog izraza bio nešto do tada meni sasvim novo. Nizajući kaligrafske piktograme, Mišo je uspeo da transcenduje barijere i stvori neku vrstu vizuelne poezije. Ova izložba je pojačala moje proučavanje kaligrafije istoka i zapada, kao i razvitak kineskih piktograma i pisma uopšte. Poslednji kreativni “okidač “ bio je kupovina monografije Brajona Gajsina – Brion Gysin: Tuning into the Multimedia Age 2004-te godine. Bilo mi je fascinantno da saznam da je jedan tako reći zaboravljen umetnik bio pionir u toliko različitih medija – od kaligrafskih pulsirajućih slika i crteža, eksperimentalnih fotografskih i video radova, pa do zvučne poezije i korišćenja semplova i rudimentarnog programskog jezika, kao generatora slučajnih sekvenci za dobijanje permutovane poezije. Ali ono što je meni dalo zeleno svetlo je rečenica u jednom od njegovih tekstova – “Nađi svoj sopstveni simbol/znak!“. Prvi put mi je bilo jasno da sam našao svoj medijum izražavanja. Istog dana sam otišao i kupio kaligrafske četke, tuš i blok za crtanje.

Moji prvi kaligrafski pokušaji su bili nezgrapni i nezadovoljavajući. Trebalo mi je vremena da pravilno koristim kaligrafsku četku i da je prilagodim svom načinu crtanja. U početku su ti kaligrafski eksperimenti podsećali na nadrealnu i ranu apstraktnu umetnost XX veka i postojala je naznaka figurativnosti u vidu fantastičnih bića i zvezdanih konstelacija. Povratkom u Srbiju 2007. taj stil se zadržao sve do 2013, kada je i nastao – po meni – prvi zadovoljavajući crtež. Posle dužeg traganja najzad mi je uspelo da kroz medijum kaligrafije kao umetničke forme između crtanja i pisanja počnem da beležim ono što se ne može objasniti rečima – emocije, sićušne impresije, koje se nagomilavaju u toku jednog ili više dana, u nekom udaljenom kutku svesti. Čin crtanja je postao vrsta meditacije, u kojoj celim telom pravim seizmičke zapise fizičke i psihičke energije trenutka. U ovoj drugoj fazi, piktogrami su se nizali logično, mogli su da se čitaju vodoravno ili horizontalno. Uskoro uvodim mrežu kao podlogu za piktograme/simbole kao racionalnu grafičku komponentu. To ima dvostruki cilj – da fiksira apstraktne oblike i posluži kao interaktivno polje po kome se oni kreću, plešu i stimulišu vizuelni doživljaj. Kolorit je minimalan i on prvi utiče na percepciju. Ta interakcija između intuitivnog (boja, gest) i racionalnog (mreža) predstavlja osnovu mog umetničkog procesa u tom momentu. Nizanjem ličnih, uvek različitih, piktograma uvodi se vremenska dimenzija i posmatrač se poziva da ‘čita’ crtež. Svi crteži nose isti naziv – TXT/SMBLS čime se izbegava čak i sugerisanje mogućeg čitanja. Iščitavanje je u konstantnom fluksu, evoluira, menja se i unikatno je za svaku osobu. Svakim ponovljenim iščitavanjem i dešifrovanjem dolazi se do novih otkrića.

Posle prvih izložbi, krajem 2016-te godine nastavio sam u ovom pravcu, ali je došlo i do unutrašnjeg prezasićenja, nezadovoljstva. Osetio sam da mi crtež stagnira, da ne evoluira i da upadam u manir. Po inerciji sam crtao i povremeno pravio duže pauze. Krajem 2019-te proučavajući nedavne crteže primetio sam da je postepeno dolazilo do spontanog grupisanja simbola. To mi je dalo ideju da sve simbole zgusnem preko celog papira. I tada je krenula ova nova faza. Simboli su počeli da se zgušnjavaju u skupine/grozdove, delimično nezavisni, ali ipak uklopljeni u širu celinu. Ljudi mi govore da ih najviše podsećaju na nekakve bitke iz srednjevekovnih minijatura ili možda čak ljudi na plaži. Sve zavisi kako kome radi intuicija i proces asocijacija u tom trenutku. Ja ne volim nikada da tumačim radove baš iz tog razloga, zato što želim da im oni sami daju značenje. Na kraju krajeva, to značenje se menja i za mene samog, tokom vremena primećujem nove “zaplete”, kombinacije elemenata i veze sa mojom okolinom, životom i razmišljanjima.

Od 2013. godine – kada nastaje prvi crtež kojim sam zadovoljan – postajem i deo fotografskog kolektiva Belgrade Raw. U tom trenutku vidim rad na ova dva polja – crtežima i fotografiji – kao spoj nekakvih suprotnosti, ili možda čak balans različitosti, koji teku nekako uporedno, bez ukrštanja. Ili sam tako mislio dok nije nastupila pandemija korona virusa 2020. Iako sam u tim novonastalim uslovima težio da se više posvetim crtanju, nedostajala mi je fotografija koja je ipak bila više vezana za neki spoljašnji svet, arhitekturu, ljude, koncerte, pronađene predmete i slično. Malo uplašen, a malo i oprezan, u trenutku kada se o virusu još nije toliko znalo, počeo sam sa noćnim šetnjama pustim delovima Novog Beograda fotografišući parkove, zapuštene delove grada sa prirodom, peščare, ostatke ljudskih aktivnosti. Neka vrsta komunikacije sa živom i neživom prirodom.

U istom tom trenutku nastaju aktuelni crteži koje sam prvi put izložio u Remontu. Pod utiskom novih fotografskih iskustava, crtež je počeo da mutira, sve više uz piktograme i simbole iskaču figurativne reprezentacije biljaka, životinja i ljudi. Primećujem i da na nekim crtežima simbole zaokružujem. Podsetilo me je na formu kartuša kod egipatskih hijeroglifa kao i na kineske i japanske pečate. To mi daje ideju da neke simbole izolujem i da im dam poseban značaj. Polako se menja i pristup crtežu. Do tada je sve nastajalo intuitivno i u jednom dahu. Sada sam počeo da planiram crtež, počevši od podloge i dizajniranja oblačića za simbole, do samog crtanja simbola. Prvo radim preliminarne crteže, kao neka vrsta vežbe, zagrevanja. Onda isecam uspele simbole i lepim ih na poseban papir, praveći neku vrstu kolekcije simbola. Te uspele simbole precrtavam na pripremljenu podlogu. Kada prekopiram jedan ili dva simbola u prethodno određeni prostor/oblačić, oko njega intuitivno nastanu novi. I tako dok se ne završi ceo crtež.

EN

The exhibition name Tightrope Necessity, i.e. a need or necessity to walk along a tightrope is something I always found inspirational in artists, regardless of their chosen medium. When the fight for balance is visibly presented on a canvas, paper or stage, it attracts public, hypnotizes it. They become participants in that battle. The end result is not important, what is important is the process characterized by a thin line between success and failure. That there is something making you move from point A to point B, time and time again. My drawing process is somewhat like walking on a tightrope; often it takes weeks for a drawing to “start working”. But when it does, there is no stopping until the drawing is completed.

The first ideas for calligraphic approach to drawing came to me while I was reading books by William S. Burroughs. Since I’d spent part of my childhood in Libya, where I learnt Arabic and French language, and perfected my English whilst living in London for many years, I found deeply fascinating Burroughs’ concept of language and written word being a virus. At the beginning of civil war in Yugoslavia, I witnessed firsthand a complete collapse of one country’s identity. Burroughs’ mistrust of language as one of the basic forms of information control through mass media, matched some of my own thoughts at the time. One of possible solutions is a cut-up method, acting as some sort of anti-virus protection from aggression and identity manipulation. It involves using, cutting and joining a text just like a collage. Another option is usage of hieroglyphs, in a same way ancient Egyptians and Mayans did; as well as newly invented pictograms, in order to avoid social and psychological conditioning of a conventional language.

This Burroughs’ concept of language as a virus became some sort of obsession of mine but hasn’t transformed into anything tangible for some time. The first shift happened upon seeing an exhibition of calligraphy drawings by Henry Michaux at the Whitechapel Gallery. He has always been one of my favourite poets, but his artistic expression as a painter was something completely new to me. By creating calligraphy pictograms, Michaux transcends barriers and produces a sort of visual poetry. This exhibition pushed me deeper into my studies of Eastern and Western calligraphies, as well as development of Chinese pictograms and writing systems in general. The last creative trigger was a purchase of a monograph on Brion Gysin, a British painter and multi-media artist who invented cut-up method and whose paintings were inspired by Japanese and Arabic calligraphy. It was fascinating to learn that the nearly forgotten artist had been a pioneer in variety of media. But what left deep and lasting impression on me was a single sentence in his writings – Find your own symbol/sign! For the first time, I knew I had found my own way of expressing myself. I went to buy calligraphy brushes, ink and a drawing pad on the same day.

My first tries at calligraphy were clumsy and unsatisfactory. It took time and practice to correctly use calligraphy brush and to adapt it to my own way of drawing. In the beginning those calligraphy experiments were reminiscent of surreal and early abstract art of the 20th century, and there was a touch of figurative art in terms of fantastic creatures and star constellations. I worked in that style after I had returned to live in Serbia in 2007, right until year 2013, when in my opinion, I created first satisfactory drawing. Using calligraphy as an art form between drawing and writing, I have finally managed to capture what can’t be explained by words – emotions and miniature impressions, that accumulate over a period of time in some far corner of consciousness. The act of drawing has become a form of meditation, in which I make seismic records of instant physical and mental energy with my whole body. In this second working phase, pictograms are laid logically, therefore readable both horizontally and vertically. Soon after, I have introduced a grid as backdrop for pictograms/symbols, acting as a rational graphic component. The grid has a double purpose – to anchor abstract forms and act as an interactive field for their movement, dance, as well as visual experience stimulation. Colour scheme is minimal, and is first to influence a perception. This interaction between intuitive (colour, gesture) and rational (grid) is basis of my artistic expression at that point in time. By placing personal, always different pictograms, I am introducing a dimension of time and inviting viewers invited to “read” a drawing. All drawings are named the same – TXT/SMBLS, thus avoiding even a suggestion of possible reading. Reading is in a constant flux, it evolves, changes and is unique to each viewer. Every repeated reading and deciphering brings about new discoveries.

After first exhibitions, I continued working in the same manner, but at the end of 2016 I acknowledged internal creative fatigue and discontent. I felt my drawings were somewhat stagnant and not evolving. Although I continued to draw out of habit, I started taking longer breaks between sessions. Whilst examining my recent works at the end of 2019, I have noticed gradual and spontaneous groupings of symbols in my drawings, which sparked the beginning of a new phase in my work. I am starting to group symbols into clusters or formations, which are partially independent, but still part of the whole. People say they remind them of battles depicted in medieval miniatures or even people relaxing on beaches. It depends on where intuition and associations process leads each viewer at that particular moment. That is why I don’t like interpreting my work, I want viewers to find meaning for themselves. In the end, interpretation evolves for myself as well; after a while, I discover new “plots”, combination of elements and their connection to my surroundings, life and thoughts.

In 2013 – the same year when I produced the first drawing I was happy with, I joined photo collective Belgrade Raw. At that time, I saw my creative output in these two fields – drawings and photography – as union of opposites, or maybe even balance of opposites, that exist parallel to each other, never connecting. That was my thinking until Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. Although in the new circumstances I tried to work more on my drawings, I missed photography which was connected to the outside world, architecture, people, concerts, found objects and similar. At the time when not much was known about the virus, a little bit afraid and cautious, I was going on nightly walks around New Belgrade, taking photographs of parks, neglected areas where nature had taken over, sandy terrains, remnants of human activity. As if establishing some sort of communication with living and inanimate nature.

At the same time I was producing drawings exhibited for the first time at the Remont gallery. Under the influence of newly acquired photography experiences, my drawings have started to transform, and more and more figurative representation of plants, animals and people are appearing next to pictograms. I am noticing that some symbols are circled in. It reminds me of cartouche form of Egyptian hieroglyphs, as well as Chinese and Japanese seals, which sparks an idea to isolate some symbols and give them a special meaning. Slowly my approach to drawing changes too. Until that moment, I used to create purely intuitively and in one go. Now I am beginning to plan drawing, starting with background and designing outlined sections for symbols. My first step is to work on preliminary drawings, as a practice or warm-up. Successful symbols are cut out and adhered to a separate paper, thus creating some sort of a symbol collection. Collected symbols are redrawn on previously prepared background. Once I redraw one or two symbols in a designated area, the rest of them appear around intuitively. And this goes on until that drawing is completed.

Info:

Video: Stevan Lung. Muzika/Music: Manja Ristić, Celestial Saute by Apoxode (c) copyright 2021. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0) license. Ft: Admiral Bob, Ivan Chew, Siobhan Dakay. Tekst/text: Dejan Golić. Redaktura teksta/text editing: Srđan Tunić.


Više o samoj izložbi/More about the exhibition:

Izložba obuhvata pedesetak crteža različitih formata rađenih tušem koji su nastajali u periodu 2019-2021. Izloženi radovi predstavljaju presek Golićevog dugogodišnjeg, kontinuiranog preispitivanja mogućih načina na koji se jezik može osloboditi odnosa dominacija i kolonizacije unutar društva i dostići apstraktno, ali univerzalno značenje. U tom procesu istraživanja koristi se kaligrafskim tehnikama, a kao rezultat nastaju složene mreže intuitivnih simbola koji se kreću oko/ka/na granici između savremene kaligrafije i likovne apstrakcije.

Marija Radoš, Nezavisna umetnička asocijacija Remont

Umetnička kritika u doba groznice postmodernosti redukovana je na sukob znanja i fetišizma. Ako pretenduje da bude znanje, jezik mora krenuti iz akademske polemičke pozicije argumenta. Svaki odgovor je automatski. Raspravljamo svoju ideološku poziciju bez obzira na upućenost, ili potrebu, pre nego što smo išta izgovorili. Iskustveno znanje, znanje koje je teško saopštivo, najčešće ostaje na marginama likovne scene i tretira se kao primitivno. Crteži Dejana Golića grozničavo traže zapis bez reči, sadržan u odnosima i ritmu elemenata. On stvara jezik koji nije samo ljudski, manje konkretan, ali i manje zarobljen u odnose dominacije. Taj jezik ume da sluša i angažovan je onoliko koliko angažuje. U službi reprezentacije i apstrakcije istovremeno, ne pristaje da bira perspektivu, niti želi da je stvara. Kao alat hijerarhije, privremeno je ukida, uvodeći nas u stanje izmeštenosti u kom se ništa ne poriče i ništa se ne servira. Uhvaćeni u mrežu implicitnih simbola povezanih zajedničkim gestom, suočeni smo sa zavodljivim i zagonetnim porukama koje otvaraju vrata za novo. Nepotrebno je da to novo bude jasno, poručuje Golić, dovoljno je što je jasno da ćemo u njemu učestvovati ravnopravno i zajednički, živeći u svetu, a ne iznad ili izvan njega. Istorijski trenutak je disciplinu i fokus Dejana Golića obogatio haosom i eksplozijom, koji nas snažnije izbacuju iz ravnoteže statusa kvo. I novi radovi pričaju o solidarnosti, skromnosti i neophodnoj dubokoj promišljenosti kojoj se mora pokloniti vreme, ali konstatuju urgentno stanje (kog smo svi bolno svesni). Svaki potez je pažljiv, jer je svačiji uticaj važan. Ova kartografija relacionizma opominje da svest i nežnost zahtevaju jedno drugo i da je ta logika jedini modus opstanka koji imamo na raspolaganju.

Aleksandar Jevtić

Dizajn izložbe/Exhbition design: Jelena Macanović. Program podržali/Supoorted by: Foundation for Arts Initiatives & Ministarstvo kulture i informisanja RS.

Pratite Dejana na/Fellow Dejan at: IG, FB.

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