The Story of the Gaze

“The sky above the roofs is so blueso tranquil.”

Gaston Bachelard

Đorđe Stanojević is direct and extrovert in his relationship with nature, the picture being a medium through which he speaks to us insisting that we follow his gaze. This refers to a series of works the artist produced in the last three years titled Sonars.

Lacking description, far from any narration, seemingly robust and vigorous, resolutely reduced, he reveals his wonder: his profound and essential interest in the mysteries of the “imperceptible” but flourishing life that is continuously unfolding beyond us, as a parallel flow. Such an approach suggests an inevitable recollection and overview of the artist’s oeuvre that preceded the paintings now showcased.

Matter, as a material for “creation”, in its primary state is exposed to direct impact. Soil is soil here on the canvas and afterwards when it is painted, it is the horizon cut by water or the sky. It is alive, it germinates and gives fruitage gazing at itself and being self-sufficient. Where does it meet the sky, does it even happen? Are not both the earth and sky the same “phenomenon” manifested by two forms, separated only by our perception, by the content that we have in our gaze? The “ongoings” that take place on Đorđe Stanojević’s canvases direct the spectator to a specific adventure of discovering the mysterious habitats, whose temporary visitors and participants we are. Light has revealed color to us and thus helped us to discern the transformations and the spatial anchoring of matter, its permanent pulsating. These canvases want to see and thus show us the complete picture. The artists shares with us this complex experience through the power of color.

The palette on Stanojević’s paintings is restrictive, lacking metaphors and excessive poetizations, the basic color register mostly being red, blue, green … He exploits the inner power of a certain color in his large cycles and as if in a mirror reflects: the “invisible” eruptions of genesis and fluid movements on the canvases that remain as a trace and testimony to the natural processes. The blue sky, green forest, the red fire …, literally exposed to the impacts of nature, these canvases create their own geography, an inner construction of New reality that appears completely transformed, cleansed by the artist’s resolute intention. A focused gaze at the horizon between the land and sky, and a concentrated intention to find, in numerous attempts, the answer to the question what lies “behind” the canvases that change the perspective of the spectator. That gaze returns dislocated as a new kind of “reality” and content entwining in it, as if its melody, the wonder and freshness of a newly discovered experience or insight.

… “the space of the picture remains imaginary until the spectator realizes that it is not he/she who should enter the picture. The picture is already in him. He is the picture, he is being observed. Observed while observing his own gaze… (Koncept pogleda i čitanje slike, /Concept of the Gaze and Reading of a Picture”/ M. Stamenković, dip. rad, neobjavljen, BGD, 2003). The never-ending blue canvases search for the material structure of the sky, its power and configuration, its strength and ethereality. Color will undergo everything to show us the magic of timeless duration and change. Only at some canvases do we see crystal structures hovering as a mist, free above the image, to strengthen our belief that we haveseen more and more profoundly.

… “But it is impossible to examine all pictures that originate on the boundaries between two material elements. For the earthly reverie, all sources turn into stone.Everything coming from the earth retains a trace of the substance of stone …(Zemlja i sanjarenje volje – ogledi o imaginaciji materije, /The Earth and the Reveries of Will, An Essay of the Imagination of Matter/Gaston Bachelard, IK Z. Stanojevića, S. Karlovci, 2004). Thus, the credibility of blue “mountain” ranges and the plunging ravines in which the gaze sinks, the wavy alternation of a single tone on the canvas, so that we began to hear the silence of the discovered abstractlandscape.

The spectator, in the position of the gaze “… I see only from one point, but in my existence, I am looked at from all sides” (Shiza oka i pogleda, Jacques Lacan, XI seminar – Četiri temeljna pojma psihoanalize, /The Split Between the Eye and the Gaze, XI Seminar – Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis/ Naprijed, Zagreb, 1986, p 80). This inversion is a an important factor of the visual message that the observed canvases send. The picture caught halfway between the observed image and the focused encompassing gaze, addresses us as an inevitable “obstacle”, a discontinuity that reveals a new code and introduces the gaze in the observation. At that point “nature” disappears and gives way to a new “artificial” relation and interaction of perciving the newly created picture.

Dragica Vukovic