Between unity, within opposites
by Josipa Bubaš
Bifurcation, interweaving and intertwining, layers of Yes and layers of No, what we see and what we feel, what is and /or what is not, head and viscera, mind and body – those are the elements of the art games played by Ivana Ognjanovac. The dance between the extremes becomes a communication rather than a struggle of opposites, whilst the artist consistently and organically opens spaces within which the two become one. Accordingly, in her works there are no straight lines, no strictly separated forms. The work consists of opposites that coexist, complement each other, come together and develop, always in a natural quiver, common vibration, resonance, more of an impulse than of a meaning. The smallest elements of expression, the words Yes and No written with a marker or a ballpoint pen constitute a form by creating layers and layers of contrast, more or less transparent. Intertwining lines of circularly written words, together make a noise of interlaced letters devoid of meaning, creating a field dressed in the form of pulsing self-portraits.
Head or viscera, mind or body, depending on the point of view, are just one aspect of communication between the opposites, of the intertwining of vibrations, of the creation of oneness out of differences. This pulsating field of mind and body is the main distinctive motif that the artist spreads throughout the gallery. In the series ‘One’ they are enlarged, placed on the walls, facing up or down, always keeping the same form, while the tonal gradation is achieved by overlapping layers. Plunging inward, into the essence of the organic, the artist with an almost meditative approach finds and /or creates the basic elements that expand and develop, suggesting an expansion of impulses. To these impulses she gives ambiguous shapes composed of meanings that are being transformed within themselves, reflecting the ongoing game of dichotomies, as well as their interdependence.
The tendency towards the organic, the natural and the physical is visible in the act of spreading the soil over the floor of the gallery in the work ‘Seedlings’. In this work she uses the motif of the womb/head again. Red and blue works, one of which symbolizes earth and fire and the other water and air, are set on the soiled ground and arranged in rows of same motifs in different colors. Just like delezhen rhizomes, constantly branching and forming in an open and direct contact with reality, in constant motion and interwebbing, Seedlings by Ivana Ognjanovac make a branched structure in which the individual elements are only parts of the process, stages in the transformation, in the merging and the interwebbing, the noise of mixed colors, letters and meanings that have lost a fixed position and thereby the domination over the process, turning sense into just a sliding point during the transformation. By turning the gallery floor into soiled ground, the artist transforms the conventional space into an organic structure in which the ground breaths together with the works, suggesting the pulsing of the field, being in a constant state of transition between Yes and No, between inside and outside, between womb and mind, immersing into a state of continuous becoming, in which the opposites are not mutually refuted but jointly create.
‘Germs’ are smaller drawings arranged irregularly on the gallery walls. Formed on the same principle as ‘Seedlings’, they set up a communication by dissolving the form, expanding the impulse, interweaving the meanings. By expansion strategy the author, with this exhibition creates an ambient in which she transforms the regular and the straight into the curved and the organic, thereby softening the fixed gallery space.
Inside of the womb and the head, the red and the blue, behind Yes and No a space with no meaning opens up, a space underneath the words, underneath the conventional. The author consistently and thoroughly indulges into sensory, non-verbal and experiential plunging inside, which is in line with the logic of contradictions that leads outwards from the inside. Thus by peeping inside the self, meaning gets transformed into impulse, into a field that tends to change and expand. Between polarities arises a space of open possibilities, where every moment is a new decision and every move of the pen a new breath. Ivana Ognjanovac patiently opens this space to highlight the continuous existing in the in-between, in which it is possible to integrate the reality that, reduced to its smallest particles, creates a continuous vibrating tissue of ostensible contradictions.
(Essay is published in the exhibition catalogue, Ivana Ognjanovac ''ONE'' at Prica Gallery, Samobor 2013)