With Earth and on Earth

Djordje Stanojevic (1974) is among the solidly educated and creative individuals whose work is marked by contemplation of existential problems, with special focus on the relationship between man and nature. In his search for a possible answer to the fundamental problem of our age alienated from nature, Stanojevic in a way continues the work of the older generations, the now historical Family from Sempas or the current Clear Brooks Family, which is now celebrating its 35th anniversary. By assimilating various successful professional experiences gained over the past decade – visual art and design and marketing work, practice and theory – Stanojevic also learns the lessons of spiritual and material existence, personal dignity, the power of the media and the market… Thus he resolves the issue of his own identity and uncompromising position as an author by returning to his hometown, Osecina, which marks his dedication to creating with the earth and on the earth. “The earth in its natural form is a key element that is present in nearly all of my works. It is real and cannot be copied, simulated or created,” says Stanojevic. Sharpening the concept “the earth is a metaphor of art,” he also founded the Nature & Art project, and the project’s remarkable works were unveiled at last year’s Mikser Festival.

The fact that life and nature are a unique and singular experience also serves as the basis for Stanojevic’s new Belgrade exhibition, entitled Growth. Designed as a developed network of ideas and visuals with pulsing energy potential, it emphasizes the primeval and the archetypal. The author points out that the choice of material is crucial in his work, and that the process of creating the works is long.

One can also say that Growth refers to the measure of things man has won in reality – by working on the earth and “designing” tools over the course of centuries according to the requirements of the work. The installation dubbed Houses, antique beehives made from earth, sticks, muck, chaff, and lime, recall objects from ethnographic heritage, whose aura signalizes the logic of freeing our space and time from redundancy.

Also, authentic objects form the installation dubbed Combs of the Earth, recontextualized tools, removed from their initial purpose, dominate the cultivated and reduced sculptural form and color, reviving the artificial potential of these objects.

The power of the earth, which is also the headline of Sasa Janjic’s text in the catalogue, is at the center of Stanojevic’s cycle Growth and is the main building element of the wall paintings. With an unpretentious format (80x120cm), these delicate visual transformations are in some of their segments close to the poetics of Kiefer, but lack the visual pretentiousness and power Kiefer achieves by, among other things, the enormous physical size of his works.

It was certainly not possible to transport Stanojevic’s outbuilding in Osecina – renamed as a gallery “in situ,” in order to give a stronger spatial context to the authenticity of these works. One may say that the Growth exhibition in Belgrade is more than artistic rebellion or a utopia, because, as the author’s advocacy for the passion of creation and for harmonizing the rhythm of nature with the rhythm of life, it points to the logic of small (and confident) steps.

Talent, intelligence and the context of time are leading Djordje Stanojevic and his orientation toward art of similar provenance, which focuses on man and nature with its environmental potential, in the right direction.

Ljiljana Cinkul (Politika, April 9, 2012)