Dark Star

The newest opus of work by Simonida Rajčević comprises of an ambitious installation which counts some 150 drawings. The artist transforms the space into a dark galaxy, containing a myriad  of rapidly executed freehand drawings, each accompanied with a short text. Every piece focuses on  a particular impression that touched upon Rajčević's life, whether it be film, music, popular culture, other fellow artists or friends and lovers.

Upon entering the space one is immersed into the work, quite literally, since the gallery floor is covered in a thin layer of rubber onto which Rajčević has drawn and written with oil markers.. As one walks through the gallery, while deciphering the words and shapes on the floor there is a sensation of leaving a personal mark on the oeuvre with the weigh of our own body. “Installation art … differs from traditional media (sculpture, painting, photography, video) in that it addresses the viewer directly as a literal presence in the space. … installation art presupposes an embodied viewer whose senses of touch, smell and sound are as heightened as their sense of vision”³. Rajčević is showing us two main tactics of contemporary installation art and its aim for interactivity: first, the short texts within the drawings, where a nonlinear narrative offers the viewer an active effort to interpret the quotes; second, the immersive and acoustic components of the installation.

The drawings displayed together create a sensory overload, glowing on the dark surface. Every piece (70cm x 110cm) is executed on black plastic trash bags, mostly in white oil markers, with rare moments of color. Each drawing constitutes a chapter that had an impact on Rajčević at some point in time. A big source of inspiration continues to be the work of the British playwright, Sarah Kane, whose themes mainly deal with pain, redemptive love and sexual desire — both physical and psychological. One of the drawings carries a semi abstract representation of a nude body, accompanied by the following text from Kane's play 4.48 Psychosis: “You allow this state of desperate absurdity. You allow it.” Much of the text from this play reads as the day-book of a psychotic subject, or a conversation between patient and psychiatrist. Kane wrote that she was attracted to the stage because "theatre has no memory, which makes it the most existential of the arts...I keep coming back in the hope that someone in a darkened room somewhere will show me an image that burns itself into my mind."².

There is no doubt that the human figure is a central theme; whether it be solitary subjects, couples making love or parents holding their children. Rajčević develops a visual vocabulary representing various bodies in postures which allude to certain relationships. The artist acts as a silent observer that questions the rhythms of anatomies in different scenarios and what those signify. Rajčević reminds us that art comes from a place called life which comes with beauty, abuse, tenderness and fear. Through different grouping and sub groupings of drawings she constructs a ballad bringing our attention to names like: Alan Ginsberg, Olivera Katarina, Dash Snow, Samuel Beckett, Kurt Cobain, Milena Marković, Jelena Dobričić. By intercepting quotes into the drawings such as “Moments like this never last” or “Now I can't be sure of anything black is white and cold is heat for what I worshiped stole my love away” Rajčević leaves space for multiple interpretations and an opportunity for the viewer to go into a reverie.

A star is visible in the night sky, yet the most prominent ones on the celestial sphere are grouped into constellations such as Aquarius, Aries and Pegasus. For most of its life, a star shines releasing energy that traverses the star's interior and then radiates into outer space. Simonida Rajčević creates her own groupings of stars which shine on the dark plastic surface of the gallery space illustrating universal themes of love, rejection, pain, sexuality and death.

Boško Bošković

1 Bishop, Claire. Installation art : a critical history. Tate, London. 2005. str. 6.
2 Article Guardian 13 August 1998.

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