Đorđe Stanojević is one of those artists interested in art’s potential to express what is universal and essential. He is among a few painters whose art does not serve to speak of the momentary, the social dimension, political events or social problems. In fleeing “the nightmare of materialism” (Kandinsky), he holds on to the notion that art, besides its intellectual nature and function, remains also spiritual and speaks of eternity.
The themes of his works are the subject of science, art, religion – reminiscent of metaphysical processes that occur within us even though we may feel lacking in energy and time for such metaphysics. However, looking at these meticulously worked canvas surfaces, we cannot resist slowing down. Ultimately, his artworks draw us into their cosmos, leaving us there for a time… Images presented in The Buzzing of Matter spill out of the canvas frames. Their energy fills the space and us, who are observing, as well. In an instant, the gallery morphs into a temple – our interaction with the painting permeating the silence. While the paintings before us, unhinged, disperse their revitalising “radiation”, they become a relic of sorts – the piece retrieves its “aura”, once seized “in the era of mechanical reproduction”.
Exhibited works, part of the most recent series, build upon the artist’s former research in which, as Aleksandra Lazar notes in a monography of the painter’s, the artist’s interest in the connection between energy and matter is at the heart of his work. Investigations into nature’s micro- and macro-cosmos and its forms, the processual character of natural flow, emergence and disappearance, the temporality of the phenomenon and all its phases, the movement and dynamics of relationships in the living world, the beauty of natural changes and forms – are at the heart of Đorđe Stanojević’s attention. In the past few years, he has engaged intensively in painting with the aid of nature – in it, with it and with its support. In his studio in Osečina, by the city of Valjevo, in nature, in the open and direct contact with the effects of natural phenomena, the artist creates paintings whose contents, formal development and meanings are determined by himself as much as by the spontaneous processes that affect it. Exposed to the elements, created following the artist’s detailed analysis of the living world that surrounds him, forensic notation and obsession with form – there comes to be the painting, infused with the energy of nature and the energy of the artist. The process of paintings turn performative in character – entailing spiritual and intellectual preparation, the involvement of happenstance, and open to change inflicted by the constantly different and unpredictable states of both nature and the artist himself.
The artist’s studio is a laboratory of sorts, employed by the artist to experiment and create ex nihilo. The working process is akin to a blend of the scientific method wherein the artist “rationally” examines the properties of the world of nature and the world of painting, as well as the possibilities of merging nature and art into a unique system. On the other hand, it is a mystical approach to the process of cognition and creation in which intuition is the main instrument and supreme judge. Đorđe Stanojević approaches the energy of natural elements – water, fire, earth, air – both as a mystery to be discovered and to be utilised. The artist takes on the role that conjoins the witness, scientist, alchemist, visionary and chronicler. At the same time, he uses history, the country’s heritage and general cultural history, photo and video documentation, which he himself creates by recording processes, as well as inspiration, and a body of knowledge about the use of nature in art – all in order to create a utopian vision of where man is One with nature. The artist emphasises the unity and interconnectedness of all parts of the universe, underscoring at the same time their dynamic nature embodied in the energies of natural elements.
The composition and execution of the painting results from the search for truth. It is not unto itself, it is an epistemological tool, as well as its result. Such tendencies are a reflection of Pythagoras’s mathematical mysticism – the constant attempt to catch the elusive and describe the indescribable – to come close to Truth as a formula. However, instead of glorifying Reason as crucial to searching, the artist offers an expression of what Kazimir Malevich calls Intuitive Reason. Art as man’s inherent path of cognition, his deliverance from the fear of the porosity of matter and death, the path of self-awareness and development towards understanding nature and united with the natural flow evocative of the religious character of Eastern philosophy of Taoism and Hinduism. By reaching a certain level of consciousness, the artist can recognise the motive, the way to achieve the goal, the start and finish of the painting, he mobilises his “intuitive reason” to penetrate the very essence of natural processes. In this search for a “sensitive structure of the world”, he comes across conclusions like those of modern physicists: “The natural world is infinite: filled with varieties and complexities, multidimensional worlds in which there are no straight lines or complete regularities of forms; in it, things do not happen consequently, but all at once”.
For these reasons, The Buzzing of Matter is an exhibition that will not awaken alarm within us in face of the apocalyptic world we live in, rather, it will offer a slither of hope – that all times are equally bad, that is, that at such times of war and pandemics, it is possible to find hope and solace in art. The warm compositions our eyes rest upon justify Robert Schuman’s words that, “To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts – such is the duty of the artist.”
Ana Simona Zelenović, 2022
- Capra, Fritjof. The Tao of Physics : an Exploration of the Parallels between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism. Berkeley: [New York]: Shambhala; distributed in the U.S. by Random House, 1975
- Lazar, Aleksandra. Đorđe Stanojević: Connecting the Natural with Artistic Process. Belgrade: Nature and Art, 2021
- Kandinsky, Wassily. Concerning the Spiritual in Art. London: Tate, 2006
- Malevich, Kazimir, “From Cubism and Futurism to Suprematism: The New Realism in Painting, November 1916”, in: Russian Art of the Avant-Garde, John Bowlt, New York: The Viking Press, 1976