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Milanka Todic

Post-modern nostalgia

" The imaginary is that which tends to become real."
Guy Ernst Debord in his essay
Introduction into a Critique of Urban Geography

The photos from two series Face to Face and Not So Far Away (2006-2011) by the artistic couple diSTRUKTURA (Milica Milićević and Milan Bosnić) draw a spectator/observer with their digital and performance technique, and primarily with gigantic dimensions, into their singular world of virtual reality. Fathomless panoramas present themselves, like huge screens directed towards some other reality, before the observer’s eyes. While studying these photos, she/he is looking at wide open spaces like in a digital diorama. And if what has been looked at is being looked at again, who is holding the camera?
These enchanting, technologically impeccable prints convince the observer that one can step freely into that virtual world of digital image, someplace behind that shimmering photographic screen/mirror, just like many have already done it: a young couple firmly holding hands, lonely passers-by, noisy motorcyclists or sweet schoolchildren. The observer is demanded unconditionally to examine closely the far away horizons from the same position where other photographed protagonists, with their backs turned to her/him, have stood and done the same thing before her/him. Performance has always been a part of photographic process; let us mention staging and posing. However, here it is doubled and it equally counts on performing, i.e. creative, skills of both a model in the picture and an observer outside of it.
Encountering a compressed space, where there are neither clearly differentiated  foregrounds and backgrounds nor a preferential point of observing, so typical for illusive spaces of the traditional image-window picture, a new “sky” or, at least, a different world emerges before the observer’s eyes: reality of digital optics. Computer generated images imitate photographic language and style, but the observer has to know that they do not have a direct referential point in the real world. Their referential point roams around databases, states Batchen, because digital images are sings of some other signs. Therefore, it is clear to the observer at the very first glance that reality of digital photography does not incorporate physical materiality: in the binary world, people have virtual bodies, and geography possesses the hallucinatory structure of dream.

In the era of electronic images, a total image – the one that will block and even eclipse the real world completely in a metaphoric way - can be reconstructed over and over again, and the aforementioned photos by diSTRUCTURA demonstrate that completely. Through the entire history of photography, processes of representing have always comprised cutting, editing and lining up of visual sequences, thus building, in a split second, complex structures of motion mechanical images. diSTRUKTURA’s photos, limited by an autobiographical code, keep their uniqueness on one hand, and they are multiplied in series and electronically, on the other hand. They avoid limitation of a single and restricting frame by means of adopting a narrative structure of diptych, for the purpose of overcoming exclusivity of a single account and isolation of documentary disposition.  
   
Tension between one, any of the observer’s here and now and some other, undeniably precedent, here and now, in which striking landscapes by diSTRUKTURA have been photographed and then edited thanks to computer programmes, provoke in the observer an unpleasant feeling, a sensation of being uprooted from the world of her/his familiar reality, and even vertigo. Therefore, she/he has to look at the world of digital images from a different angle, because some completely unexpected dimensions of space and time are synthesised in them. To be exact, in the series Face to Face and Not So Far Away, there are patent disintegration and discontinuity between time zones as well as between conventional space co-ordinates. In them, like in analogue photography, time, a single moment, is fixed. However, time segments are manipulated inexorably in the postproduction. In a way, Face to Face and Not So Far Away reproduce the method of cinematography because they are based upon a staged reality and postproduction, but fragmented and fictionalised narration of commercials and advertising is detectable in them as well.

Because of Barthes’ Camera Lucida an important detail cannot be disregarded ever again: every single photo always represents the past. And even digital photography speaks of the past which, no matter what it was like, will not and cannot ever be reversed. But, at the very moment we are looking at a digital photo, it becomes a medium, our time capsule, a link or, even better, an imaginary bridge between what once was and what is now, and even what might be. There, between someone’s, for example photographer’s, once and our, the observer’s now, a vast abyss gapes open in space and time that only photography, like an extrasensory medium, can span. Like in a limbo, hovering between the past, present and future (and all of the future looks), photography is a privileged item which signalises transience of every act of observing, then every observer, and even existence in the long run.

That’s why the fixed position of a woman, man, child or anonymous visitors of the flower fields around a nuclear industrial complex in the photos of diSTRUKTURA corresponds more to a mechanical alignment of chessmen on the chessboard or characters in video games than to a real and natural motion. Contemporary perception experience has to be expanded by another pair of eyes and with new insights which go beyond good old motion pictures. Observing only in one direction as well as linearity of perspective and perception are not harmonised any more in one manner. They are split and fragmented in cyberspaces. A digital image redirects, like a kaleidoscope, our gaze and brings it back, like a boomerang, into the hyper-dimensional space and time. If the photos by di(gital)Struktura have annulled  that well-known symbolic order of linear perspective, then the observer is expected to cross mentally from the second level onto the third one, then onto the fourth one – that is, onto a higher level. In short, that heterogenic and multidimensional frame of a digital image expects from us as observers to free ourselves from perception patterns and principles of the documentary in order to submerge into the areas of new ideas.       A barely visible cut in editing of the digital photos from the series Face to Face and Not So Far Away, i.e. mechanical lining up of material images as Deleuze states, is the first condition to fictionalize photography. Then the observer’s wishes come which are consciously, or rather unconsciously, being projected into an image during the process of observing, i.e. deciphering and shaping of an acceptable, clear message about an unknown, constructed, quasi-natural order which only seems to fit the conventional perception experiences. Both processes, one in terms of technique, the other in terms of meaning, essentially undermine the documentary and referential character of photography, and they transfer it into the domain of multidimensional projection, in the sphere of occurrences and miracles.    People in the photos by diSTRUKTURA are presented as silhouettes, gloomy and with their backs turned because, being so reduced into anonymous two-dimensional models, they will fit functionally and without any exception into the structure of a flat photographic screen open to accept new projections. They enter the scene later, like actors, thanks to sophisticated techniques of computer assemblages in order to recreate virtual reality before our very eyes. Those two-dimensional anthropomorphic representations spontaneously and quietly inhabit the photographed sceneries of Kairo, New Belgrade, Scandinavian woods and nuclear industrial areas as though they are emerging from nightmares. It seems that their reduced silhouettes represent a romanticist attempt to conquer and preserve the foothold of human existence in the real ephemerality.

New harmony of the fictitious, electronic and digital order is established successfully between that virtual man-silhouette and the composite world in the photos by diSTRUKTURA. In their digitalised wide spaces, virtual models live tranquilly, simulating realistic observers who contemplate the photographed illusionary world. However, philosophers persuade us there is no real world that would exist outside the representation, outside our cognition. But, true contents of the photos from the series Face to Face and Not So Far Away remain invisible because they are created by means of layering and editing time and space segments that differ entirely from one another. Playfulness of the form and contents in the photos by diSTRUKTURA is differentiated into a photographed moment x and its counterpart y. Different time and far-away space coordinates are synthesised around a powerful sense of presence and absence of an artificially generated human being. Between those two remote points, photography establishes its true meaning because no here and no now can be somewhere and once. In the virtual perspective of the series Face to Face and Not So Far Away, there is only that familiar nostalgia for photography which casts a light shade on digital precision of fictitious situations. The constructed visual narrative of a digital image is no longer photography. But, like photography, it allows the past to shift into the presence and to enter the future.

By Milanka Todić (art historian/professor of photography, University of Arts Belgrade)

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Mirjana Peitler

diSTRUKTURA
between Ecological Aesthetic and Aesthetical Ecology or Ecosophy of the Third Landscape

In his 1989 essay Les Trois Ecologies, Felix Guattari wrote that Environmental Ecology is inextricably linked to both Mental and Social Ecology. This means that the environmental problems shouldn’t and indeed can’t be observed apart from individual and social interactions. Men’s very position as both the observer and an actor in the world he lives in, calls for ways in which these two standpoints could be linked and understood.
 
As far back as Antique, humans were seen as intermediaries between Nature and Culture, and as such they must develop strategies and ways to make that connection functional. Aristotle differentiated between humans, their acting and objects that are a result of human acting and their relation to Nature and its set of laws. In his own opinion, one of human life goal’s lies in the possibility to use and change Nature, control it and perfect it. In a similar manner, Karl Friedrich Schinkel reflected about the synthesis of Nature, Culture and Society, in his theories developed in the 19th century. He stated that a cultural landscape precludes Nature as life’s source, Art as a product and Culture as the final result.

On the other hand, Guattari critically examines the value and role of progress and states that scientific and technological development leads to the disruption of ecological balance and even destruction of life. He assumes that the Ecological crisis involves much more than environmental pollution – rather, it is a reflection of a social crisis. While on one hand the individual and collective, social and economic conditions are worsened, the mass media are producing a mass culture that slowly destroys all forms of individuality and otherness. This is accompanied by the incapability of social institutions and inadequacy of political action in facing and addressing such problems. Guattari sees an additional problem in the preservation of social structures and traditions. For that reason he argues for a new beginning, a fresh start that calls for rethinking all spheres of life. This new “composition” of social and individual behavior consists of Social, Mental and Environmental Ecology and Guattari names it “Ecosophy”.

The artistic duo diSTRUKTURA (Milica Milicevic and Milan Bosnic) represents an example of a new Social and Mental Ecology which is reflected in their very approach to art. Not only does their work reflect the mutual questioning and interaction that results in a characteristic and unique artistic poetics and expressions, but also their equal participation in envisioning, planning and even realizing their work.

By placing themselves in front of great cultural capitals of Cairo, Vienna, or in between sandy dunes and river canyons, diSTRUKTURA portrays the natural landscape in a rift between Culture and Nature-as-sublime, similar to the way that some 18th and 19th century artists did.
History has repeatedly documented Man’s attempt to return to Nature and reinvent the bonds that were torn, particularly in times of rapid technological progress when the initial euphoria diverges and transforms into a set of its opposing feelings. Today, it is no different and the 21st century, after the industrial and technological revolution, brings a new digital revolution and an information boom that results in perhaps the greatest alienation of Man, both from Nature and from one another. By acting on this and calling for others to participate in their representations of Nature and landscape, diSTRUKTURA is once again attempting to point out to and re-establish the torn bonds between humans and Nature. But the artistic duo does this without calling for and indulging in nostalgia. Instead, they carefully select their motifs, e.g. place of action (nuclear power-plant Krsko) and through these motifs they emphasize the social and political dimensions of the relationship.

Their canvases, painted in the tradition of landscape painting, as well as their photographs, by a simple change in motifs and/or perspectives – become a reflection of the actual moment and modern day life. Accordingly, we can find in their work motifs of ‘pure’ nature that is ‘damaged’ by pixels associated with digital pictures. The work of diSTRUKTURA is not an escape into romantic landscapes such as those familiar to us from Caspar Friedrich’s paintings; they allow for a multidimensional interpretation and are read as commentaries of today’s political, economic and technological life conditions. The artists also offer a new view of Nature, it’s new interpretation that they name “The Third Landscape” and in which they see the possibility of a new (self)consciousness towards environment.

After the failure of 1960’s ecological utopias, artists today are finding more subtle methods and ways to reflect the relationship of Human and Nature and are using a more Guattarian approach in a wider context. In a similar approach, diSTRUKTURA is aware of their inability to change the factual state, but what they can do is to act as a ‘seismograph’, to point out to the alienation of Man from his | her different environments and even as a catalyst and a creator of a new, wider dialogue frame and a space in which an artist can communicate with his environment.

What is particularly interesting in the work of diSTRUKTURA is that they often show us motifs that are very familiar to us, and through this they portray and comment on the time in which we live, in which a reproduction of reality is somehow even more perfect and more real to us than the ‘real thing’. The technical possibilities and modern readings of paintings/images, together with today’s cultural system greatly influence our consciousness and work to form our idea and perception of reality. Some of their works are relying on and using our perceptual habits, showing us ‘simple’ images that by small interventions to the motifs become a critical reflection of reality. And they leave it up to the recipient to discover if and to what extent one can learn from this.

Our natural surroundings, the nature of our everyday life, pseudo-nature, substitute nature or synthetic nature; all these different ‘natures’ or parts of Nature are reflections and parts of our Culture. Whether we like or dislike these ‘mutations’, the fact remains that they all form a new, modern and wider idea of Nature. We no longer strive to create and produce copies of Nature, but are constructing Nature in accordance with our needs. In some of their works, diSTRUKTURA utilizes unique constructs or ‘optical tricks’ that, at least for a moment, confuse us and leave us wondering if it is an intentional intervention or a coincidental one.

Working between ‘desperate’ ecologists and melancholic romantics, diSTRUKTURA makes their theme not only the changes IN the Nature but also the changes OF Nature by raising questions of how and what we perceive Nature to be. By using aesthetic interventions, they call for us to question and perhaps redefine our relationship towards Nature. Their acceptance of certain changes is by no means an acceptance of the resulting state, and through their portrayal of certain changes from the last decades, and their creation of a ‘Third Landscape’, they strive for new ways of understanding processes and changes. For them, predicting future environmental changes seems a senseless or at least a task with very limited value. Instead, the question that diSTRUKTURA poses is how long it takes for the changes in our environment to change the way we think? They care not only whether their work is observed but also HOW it is observed. With no intention of setting new theories, they use traditional art forms such as painting, drawing and photography, together with historical and cultural contexts embedded in their work, to allow the recipient to become aware of the time in which he lives, but also his historical and cultural heritage.  

Just as Bill McKibben, in his book The End of Nature (1990), talked about the disappearance of Nature from traditional paintings, so too is diSTRUKTURA and their paintings of ‘The Third Landscape’ pointing in the same direction. Nature is a symbol of life and as such includes mankind. This is precisely why we need new metaphors that reflect the complexities of biological, technical and the social being. One of the main questions here is what will happen with our understanding of Nature and how will it find its way into the differing realities. If we are searching for a new way of understanding Nature (and Nature is forever changing), we need to create such an understanding that will become a new reference point for all people.
But what kind of Nature do we want and what does diSTRUKTURA think about this?
That humans require Nature is not a question, but what kind of Nature? As a cultural model, a vision, an idea or a ‘real’ thing that’s ‘out there’? –works of diSTRUKTURA raise these and a set of related questions. But the answers must be searched by the observer, alone.

Mirjana Peitler, (curator of MedienKunst Labor of KunstHaus Graz)
2010. for the exhibition Introduction to the Third Landscape at Nova Gallery 27.05 - 2706.2010)

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diSTRUKTURA interview - JOINT (AD)VENTURE

Objektiv Magazine 13.03.2010.( available in Serbianonly)

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Jelena Krivokapić

diSTRUKTURA: becoming a part of a new nature


Since romanticism, the landscape has been seen as the prime object of artist’s contemplation and the inauguration of the landscape fragment into the notion of the “all encompassing one” or into the construction of a timeless ideal order represents a significant moment in the art history. Starting with the modernist notions of Cezanne, on to Malevich and Mondrian, up to the post war representatives of the sublime in painting, not only has the notion of the landscape as an object of isolated contemplation evolved but it has become a painting genre whose task is to complete the aesthetic transformation of our attitude towards the world. The position of the landscape fragment in the future project of modernist painting will all the more be occupied not by the representations of concrete spaces but by the virtual space of relations established between the subject and the object of contemplation, the stand the spectator and the artist take towards this ultimate transcendentality of the experience of being-a-part-of-nature or becoming-a-part-of-a-new-nature. The artist couple, Milićević-Bosnić, who named a series of their joint projects diSTRUKTURA, attempts to reconstruct the historically variable idea of the viewer gradually initiated and emancipated in the reception and then in the transmission of his/her own experience of the landscape. Their exploration of painting and photography starts by appropriating a whole repertoire of poetic gestures taken from the tradition of the romantic landscape painting, primarily the works of Caspar Friedrich David that thematize the figure and the position of the spectator in the landscape itself. The presence of the figure in the paintings of the German romantic painter, the figure whose gaze is directed towards the endless horizon and with a back turned to the viewer, has been interpreted as an enigmatic gesture of isolation and flight of the depicted figure from reality as well as a simultaneous invitation to the actual spectator for a subsequent identification and dislocation toward a timeless imagery of the painting close to the reality of dreams and the metaphysical.

The cycle of photographs Face to Face made by the artistic couple Bosnić-Milićević, literally replicates this romanticized topography of the spectator who is directly confronted with the sublime and amazing scenes of a post-industrial landscape. The contemporary artist’s attention is directed towards the exotic architecture of Cairo, abandoned coal mines, the housing estates of New Belgrade or at the nuclear power plants. The place previously occupied by the isolated romanticized subject and the allegoric representation of the landscape is now occupied by a couple of individuals, our contemporaries and active participants whose presence in this first act of fragmentation of nature shows the spectators’ awareness has risen when faced with the sole object of their contemplation: a genuine object of admiration that generates everything sacred and at the same time: awareness of being participants responsible for its deterioration.

Using the conventionally shown planes of a spacious horizon which continually confront the viewers, as well as the inversive perspective of  continual mirroring through the gaze of the other, this cycle of photographs somewhat advocates a utopia that calls for a melancholic empathy with the image (of the world). One that would still connect all the participants in the contemplation chain into a unique linear regime of time – presenting now and here in relation to some future or past time and there. However, in this opus the concept of the landscape and especially the urban landscape is seen as a spacious phenomenon of a social reality and its rituals that is always elaborated anew, where “the classic anthropomorphic figure of the contemplation of the landscape” is constantly disappearing or being modified through the endless fragmentation of a computer modified experience of the world. The informatics era at the beginning of the 21st century has already completely eradicated the possibility for perceiving the active time of movement in space or dislocation in meditation as here and there, or now and then, transmigrating the conventional time-place planes into series of simultaneous and overwhelming here. The painting cycle Metropolises reminds us that we are constantly forced to seek replacement for this nostalgic idea of a classical horizon in the numeric perspective of the information network. The landscape fragments seen in this group of pieces were created by using the new digital image syntaxes, developed simultaneously with the syntaxes of the classical painting. The landscape fragment is developed within the parallel campaign of circular (aeronautic) views, with the dynamically pointed perspectives towards the urban metropolis and the images planes of flat computer animation, a kind of live streaming intimate sensations on the urban environment. The web world of multiplied gazes offers diverse virtual worlds reframed in the projection of their endless dislocation from any conventionally perceived measure of time and space.

The cycle of drawings and installations titled Rolling City, reveals the perspective of the gaze by a specific spacious unfolding of the plans of aeronautic maps or by a time defined movement of the imaginary subject through the cyber web. From the meticulously recreated flat scheme of sections and intersections plans of the city of New York, arise the planimetric projections of their corporative architecture as a unique simulation of natural growth of urban nature at work. Made as a unique homage to New York, apologetic of building constructionalism and this utopia “a stopover place”, this cycle at the same time deals with delicate gradations of framing and reframing of buildings as spacious cells with live traces of vanished human habitats, as it redirects the sliding and detached gaze from the abstract building schemes to personalized sections and intimist aspects.

The project diSTRUKTURA establishes a plane of new meanings and codifies the relations between the spectator and the landscape as the object of his/her contemplation. The position of the spectator in the works of this artist couple launches a whole new discourse on the duplication of roles, on one hand of the subject seen as the creator who always transcends the nature of the image in a new way and on the other hand the subject seen as an active participant who affects this endless, operative, measurable and utilitarian fragmentation of the image of nature. Only by opening the issue of a changeable relationship between the spectator and the artist towards the transcendency of this becoming-part-of-nature experience, is it possible to create new visions of landscapes or new syntaxes of the language of painting.

Jelena Krivokapic (curator of "Belgrade" Gallery, Belgrade) text for diSTRUKTURA solo exhibition URBAN UTOPIE in Gallery Belgrade 2009

Matija Plevnik

diSTRUKTURA: URBAN UTOPIA

The common denominator of the drawings of the creative couple diSTRUCTURA from the opus URBAN UTOPIAS is the depiction of an urbane unit of the megalopolis of New York which, because of its minimalist formal origins which are closely associated to architectural (urban) plans, but they exceeds them in the same time. The constants in the drawings are geometric shapes, fragility and sovereignty so we can search for the details of reminiscence in the drawing of Paul Klee and his principle of combining of the objects.

The important factors in the perception of the opus of the drawings is dialogical/discursiveness of the installation itself.  On one side is a topographically accurate depiction of Manhattan (East Coast Land) as a concluded urban tissue, whilst on the other side the individual cells are portrayed as a counterweight (Endless World of Appearances). From the urban quagmire derives a constant reciprocal projection on the individual elements which are isolated from the urban quagmire while in the same time the individual drawings create a new meaning and a new entity. Because of that there is a constant redefinition of the position of the spectator. The dialogical aspect doesn’t end there. It is present on multiple levels which compliment, follow, build up and in some places even oppose each other. When the individual structures get taken out of the context, they gain portrait like qualities and become more intimate thus losing their neutrality and gaining a new context, as well as content. Only by the process of isolation can we become aware of the essence and the narrative force of the individual objects.
Like the silent chroniclers, the creators have successfully captured the spirit of time and the document of space: all the depicted urban elements of New York mirror the power of corporations, the triumph of a technocratic society and devotedly follow the statement of Louis Sullivan: " form ever follows function”.

With their special installation (Rolling City) the creators establish an interesting relation between the static and the dynamic and with that they paraphrase the slogan of New York – The city that never sleeps. In their artistic statement and creative process diSTRUKTURA is even more radical. They strip the capital of capitalism of its mythical status with cyclical human involvement between the holy and the worldly on the frailty of the balance between nature and people or using the words of the philosopher Paolo Virn: between the natural surroundings and postfordistical human environment.
Because of that approach their micro (macro) world possesses a touch of homeliness and confidentiality. All that brings the spectator to the center of the activity, the exploration of the creative couple diSTRUCTURA – the relation between the man and his surroundings/ world and the involvement of the position of the personal in the public (collective) space.

Matija Plevnik (owner of Plewnik-Kronkowska Gallery in Celje, Slovenia) diSTRUKTURA URBAN UTOPIA catalogue, Gallery "Beograd", 01.06 - 15.06.2009
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Urban Utopia/exhibition catalogue

Memento mori or: remember your mortality, remember you will die, remember your death…
(On series of photographs “Face to Face” and “Not So Far Away” by diSTRUKTURA)
By Danijela Purešević


"Respice post te! Hominem te esse memento!" ("Look behind you! Remember that you are but a man!")—by Tertullian from “Apologeticus”.  Said a slave watching a Roman emperor parade the streets of Rome after a triumphant victory and reminded of ephemeral nature of glory and human mortality. 

In the series of photographs “Face to Face“and “Not So Far Away“ by author duo diSTRUKTURA, the gaze of the protagonists’ in the captured scenes is directed in front of them, toward the warning place, as it is suggested to the viewer to look in the same direction, and then in all other directions, as a riminder of mortality and passing.

In contrast to Memento mori—reminesence of death and mortality, for centuries present in artistic compositions (above all, as descrete warning details:  a scull, a wisp of smoke from recently blown cande, wilted flowers, fruit starting to rot, etc.), in „Face to Face“ and „Not So Far Away“ every sign of human deed noticable in the landscape attains the Memento mori warning.

Every single work in these two closely  related series of photographs follows a similar pattern—as (neo)romantic, idalized landscape of simetrical and calm composition, where the figures always have their backs turned to the viewer, both the man and the woman (the diSTRUKTURA author duo) who hold hands as Adam and Eve after their primordial sin, or as children, where in many segments the language is basic, suggestive and cheap used in various machanisms of propaganda:  from religious, political, agitprop to modern marketing. 

All photographed landscapes show greater or smaller degree of human intervention, be it in Serbia, Slovenia, Finland, Egypt, Austria...  Each photograph is a documentary note of the real, or proped in real space.  And despite their ominous and dramatic essence, these seens are formulated as alluring and atractive to the viewer. 

A large segment of world artistic production deals with destructive, deviant, menacing and apocalyptic aspects of modern civilization, formulating the artistic approach on tautological principles.  In „Face to Face“ and „Not So Far Away“, hinting the civilisational critisism, diSTRUKTURA chooses a different lexic strategy, creating its own Memento mori (anti)postcards fitting for the current age of „turist extasy“, the state of massive human movement, the feeling of  global belonging, all-planetery wandering, where an individual increasingly looses the sense of belonging to a certain teritorry, but also the feeling of responsibility towards his own surroundings, or the Earth.

Danijela Puresevic (art historian/art critic, Belgrade) text for Face to Face catalogue, exhibition in Photon Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia 2009.


Miha Colner

Monumental Landscapes


In their artistic work group diSTRUKTURA (Milan Bosnić and Milica Milićević) is turning into various directions in approaches conditional with the use of artistic medium and meaning concept of particular project. In their collaborative projects – they are both working also as individuals – broad spectrum of actual social topics is brought to public, created with numerous artistic tools and in various media. Although universally or personally confessional deep inside, the projects are not about narrative due to narrative alone, but each work is irrevocably connected and partly confined with its artistic and formal value. In this sense painting series titled Urban Utopia, socially critical public project We are Living in a Beautiful Wourld, video work Providers and formally and contently related photographic series: Face to Face and Not So Far Away.

In last few years photographic line of work and to this adopted artistic production was emphasized as exceptionally important. Through this firmly conceived conceptual basis is presented, always in tight relation and correlation with deliberated artistic form. Although the group consists out of two artists – painters in their basic education – field of photographic production established their recognizable aesthetic, which is effectively reflected in photographic project Face to Face.  This is continued, mobile and open formation in constant process which intuitively and on the basis their own intimate experiences registers and creates own conceal narrative through in advance made confessional concept. In its conceptual and formal basis and cardinal field of ideas group diSTRUKTURA is moving amongst historical period of romantic painting and perfectionism of contemporary landscape photography. In first half of 19th century renovated relation between human and nature was established by romantic movement, where among the most radical and non stereotyped representatives was Caspar David Friedrich. In his mature period Friedrich created series of monumental landscapes presenting small human figures in relation to magnificent and limitless nature. Sublime message of romantics of their time was presented through glorifying the nature, always overcoming the human being. On the other hand diSTURKTURA presents formally related artistic elements in contemporary medium, however according to meaning and content turned around. Their poetic creativity is concerning first of all ordinary man, individual, lost in enormous wheel of complex modern society who alone cannot stop the movement of huge rounding bulk of current irrevocable reality. Through the modern history the same man succeeded to subordinate and utilize the nature to its utmost limits. The intimate relationship of the artists is interwoven with the story of negligible in relation to the big nature or artificial nature as the consequence of human domination on the planet earth. Intimate relationship is always dependent on numerous external factors without any influence of individual. And through photographic series titled Face to Face subtle expressed, social and cultural content characteristics is decisively drawn. Project thus is questioning the limits between public and private, position of individual within the society and that how indirectly turning to ecological topics. This segment is reflected in hinted physical exterminating of nature as human race is appropriating always new and broader living space.

Face to Face thus presents continued and in advance programmed series of photographic researches of visual language putting in relation heroic landscapes and negligible human figures, always lost in the breadth of monumental structures. Sporadic images convey the version of Friedrich’s Monk on the Shore on various ways to contemporary, urbanized, industrialized or howsoever from mankind affected landscape into modern social context. Massiveness and motif repetitiveness are thus additionally showing the spirit of actual time, when human life is longer, more complex and above all faster. Omnipresent diction of democratic new world order is drawn as invisible mass with various meanings, hidden behind the achievements of mankind without any significance and seriousness on individual. Image of in the distance gazed couple, holding their hands, is placed on the fringe of their city – Belgrade and its most marginal neighborhoods. Tall horizon filling the major part of the field, filled with haze and mist and vast lines of apartment blocks. This creates heavy, dark atmosphere of personal vision of this place. Every single image created, interpreted and commented by artists, is demonstrating narrative and concept for itself. Every recorded place in known to them, every place was visited and researched by them. Thus landscapes of vast parts of Kairo, remains of the cold mine in Majdanpek, or breadths of Finnish forests reflects anguish and respect to the unknown. In monumental landscape partly staged images of Face to Face series are presented in its visual directness, explicitness and reality, what photography enables in the relation to the painting.

Miha Colner (curator of Photon Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia) Face to Face exhibition catalogue, Photon Gallery, Ljubljana, 15.04 - 15.06.2009

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KALTIO (April 2009)
FACe To FACe

by diSTRUKTURA and Paavo J. Heinonen

This wide-ranging project that explores a position of our intimate space in public space is influenced by work of caspar David Friedrich, especially, paintings of landscapes filled with lonely figures, meaningless in front of the nature. Following his inner impulses, he used to glorify strength and beauty of the nature providing a spiritual significance. in such way he has created a new type of a painting – “landscape as an icon of a nature”, where landscape stops to be just a decoration, a reflection of our surroundings, and starts to describe our inner life and offers new meanings such as human comprehension of nature and a relation between man and environment. Using this visual language of romanticists’ comprehension of nature, in our works we are actually facing the landscape of 21st century. We call our contemporary surrounding a new born nature with landscapes that suffered the influence of a man.

Partakers of these symbolic presentations are artists, forming their intimate space, and a new born nature, landscapes and chaos and flux of cities in today’s increasingly globalized society. the perspective of these scenes focuses a spectator’s view in a way that suggests a gaze “from above”– a bird’s eye perspective that simultaneously offers orientation makes you experience vastness and implies freedom and it can be defined as a fundamental instrument of control and hegemony. Yet the persons that inhabit these landscapes remain subjugated by the environment, with its deep symbolic connotation, referring to cosmic solitude of a man in an endless world of appearances.One of these new born nature images are today’s cities, metropolises, megalopolises with urban structures forming contemporary landscapes. they are great omni human meeting places, public places that need to be shown respect.

One part of Face to Face project takes into account different ecological issues and human relationship with nature since story which evolved around Face to Face project, destroyed, man-made landscapes, naturally raised questions of ecological problem in today’s society. This is specially highlighted in Not so far away 1 and Face to Face (TENT) with structures disturbing both landscape and environment.The project comprises works in different media but mostly photographic works.It is a work in progress project that we intent to recreate in every place we visit and find out whether the prospect facing us is exhilarating or terrifying, or both.

diSTRUKTURA

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Kaltio/interview

JAT REVIEW
diSTRUKTURA Art Group


by Vanja Savić


Viewing the paintings and photographs of Milica Milićević and Milan Bosnić, one cannot fail to perceive the energy of communing; of intimate, ecological and social criticism, but also of the colours of the sun. The two are married and form the diSTRUKTURA art group.

Relationship between artists are seldom successful. Perhaps because ine invests too much of oneself into one’s work, creators of art are freedom of movement and expression is the underlying platform they use to go out into the world. But this new age, and the multimedia nature of our reality, have thoroughly changed our everyday lives and idiosyncrasies of the works we are capable of understanding. The primordial and traditional, as well as contemporary, often dispassionate forms lacking sufficient spirituality have been shaken to the core. Thus, the need has emerged for an expression that is fresh and life-based.

For Milan Bosnic and Milica Milicevic, creating, exhibiting and living together constituted the launching pad for their mosaic-like paintings and photo and video expression. Having both graduated from the Belgrade University Faculty of Fine Arts, they have been working together since 2005 on a project of called Distrukturalizacija, wherein they explored their intimate world through paintings, photography and video.
Their Open Studio – one of the first in the country – was active at Belgrade’s Andricev Venac from March through October this year.

‘This manner of exhibiting worksof art can be found elsewhere and is, in fact, popular in all the cultural centers of the world. The exhibition is not thematically conceived, and does not follow certain periods in the artist’s creative work. Also, the paintings can be purchased on the spot. Even our manner of working- as a couple – is not new in the world, but is new in this region’, says Bosnic.

In this Studio, Milan and Milica have exhibited their works separately and not as diSTRUKTURA art group, although elsewhere in Europe they have for the most part invited attention with jointly created works.

“The idea of creating as a pair was derived from our living together and moving in the same environment. We were so close to each other that we thought our being together in this way could be transposed into art. From the outset and throughout the three years of work, our personal energies have been colliding, and this could be rather tiresome at times. Still, we are invariably pleased with what we have achieved. Simply put, working as a pair we are perhaps in a better position to express the two motives dominating our intimate thoughts, and consequently our creative work. These motives include the inescapability of the laws of nature and the struggle for life in a more humane, socially and architecturally more acceptable environment”, explains Milica.

According to Milan, two exchange many arguments between before they actually begin work.
“It’s not as simple. There are things and angles of perception that are hard to harmonize. But once an idea leading towards the same aim crops up, everything becomes easier. The very nature of creating with four instead of two eyes has resulted, I think, in rounding off to a complete whole the area of photography. This is probably because it is a faster medium than other forms of representational art, to which we attach greater attention and in which we invest more effort. We have had several excursions into the world of video, but we were not overly satisfied with the results.”

There is a growing interest in the works of diSTRUKTURA. After a three month stay in Finland, where they will have two individual exhibitions, promote Milan’s SerbiArt book, and give lectures on Serbian contemporary fine arts, next year they will have exhibitions at the Beograd gallery and in xhibition spaces in Slovenia and Spain.
Taking themselves as an example, Milan and Milica have succeeded in demonstrating just how remote people are from each other today, despite all the new technological, IT and information capabilities. To do this, they had to consciously sacrifice their intimate world in the process of building the foundations of their art, as in one of the Serbian epic poems called “Building Skadar on Bojana.”

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Jat review/interview

Nikola Šuica

Excerpt from the text of 48th October Salon catalogue regarding the Oblivion Statistic installation

The social and the psychological flow of human presence are joined together in the statistical data pertaining to the votes cast in political elections and divisions. This flow includes the characteristics of mentality in the veritable anthropological catastrophe that has been going on in Serbia for a long time. In one of the open phases of their joint artistic undertakings, Milica Milićević and Milan Bosnić review the blending of photoregistration in the capturing of double identities in various phases of escape or abandonment. The challenge of split personal destinies permeates the records of physical emigration. According to unofficial statistics, in the course of a decade and a half of terrible biological upheavals in the regional territories, approximately 700,000 young educated people managed to leave their state of origin, setting off for various parts of the globe. A successful escape from the concentration camp of their homeland? The negative echo of the public image of their country of origin contributes to undefined difficulties. And while, in the second half of the first decade of the new century, the reinvestigation that form a part of the entranced search for the causes of historical mistakes persist as an irresolvable daily topic in Serbia, the facts of a new era visibly indicate that any liberated individual power remains blocked. This is of equal importance to external and internal emigrants.

Nikola Suica, art historian, professor of 20th century art at Art University, Belgrade,Octobar 2007

october salon 2007 catalogue