Zimski goblen/Winter needlework

Winter needlework or self delamination

I`m looking for the face I had

Before the world was made

The Winding Stair, W.B. Yeats

With her new exhibition, Natalija Simeonović s  builds on her previous research of the standings and types of (female) individuals in contemporary society. This time, Simeonović placed the emphasis on the (re) construction of personal space and the visualization of intrapsychic-symbolic levels of the self, and less on its social dimensions. The backbone of the exhibition is a self-portrait, a digital print on canvas, on which the artist intervened with pins over which she applied acrylic paint. In addition to self-portraits, there are photographs of various stages of the work, some of which were taken from unusual angles, creating a grotesque effect.

The self-portrait is characterized by a discreet surrealistic mood. In addition to the slightly surreal atmosphere, there is also a reminiscence / modernized “adaptation” of psychoanalytic, and therefore the surrealist levels of self. Thus in the language of the image, that is in the visual presentation, id would represent the photographic background of the work, the ego would represent the “armature” of pins, while the super ego would represent the image on their surface. Therefore, the triplicity of the self-portrait rests on the present but invisible unconscious (digital photographic template), which is interpreted, materialized by consciousness (pins that repeat the facial features from the photograph), on which one’s own “ideal” image is projected (in this case literally). However, this is certainly not a simple, linear hierarchical relationship between different parts of the personality or image, since “id” and “super ego” or liberating and repressive personal and social elements are interchangeable (the image on the surface copies the photo below). Cultural preferences change, and what at one time was subject to social and individual repression, embodying disturbing forces of chaos (such as sexuality), may at other times play the opposite role – being a stronghold of self-articulation and social acceptability.

It can be said that today the standpoint according to which the individual is a product exclusively of its (early) formation under the influence of certain social circumstances is equally reductive as the view that it is a mere executor of the works of its genetic heritage,  its genes. In the words of Paolo Virno: “The subject is the battlefield. It often seems that the pre-individual aspects call into question individuation: It proves to be a premature result, always reversible. And sometimes, it seems the other way around – it is exactly the “I” who, with its  passionate gluttony, seems to want to reduce all the pre-individual aspects of our experience. ” Cultural norms  and with them the available forms of self-understanding are historically contingent. What is permanent, however, is the internal struggle of the subject with itself, for itself. Simeonović only hinted at that struggle in her self-portrait, playing with a technique that calls acupuncture and voodoo ritual into consciousness at the same time, achieving a fragile balance of uncertainty between self-healing and self-wounding. Also, with this procedure, the author seems to objectify the stereotype about the passive-aggressive economy of “femininity”.    

The pins resemble colorless or “muted” digital pixels, to which color is subsequently added;  not participating in their autonomous three-dimensionality but appears as a seductive envelope, an optical trick that should make it difficult to recognize the true nature of the medium. The combination of digital photography and analog image, with the mediation of tactile structure, leaves the observers in uncertainty about the nature of such a symbiosis. As the work cannot be reduced to any of the media used because it contains some of all, it seems to function in the infinitesimal space between the media (worlds).    

In the background of the self-portrait, ladders are painted as scenery on which the selfness can be practiced, by climbing and descending, creating the physical condition necessary for self-realization. In a symbolic sense, ladders embody non-place, transitivity, but also a means by which one can reach somewhere. In this case, they can be seen as symbolic representatives of the self as a non-place, or means for the accumulation of experiences and subjectively experienced but  objectively immeasurable units of time, necessary for self-construction. And despite the author’s attempt (and endless other attempts of the human individual in general) to “immobilize” and  locate that self and / as its own place in the world by pinning her own image, , it always eludes;  it “leaks” through the relief of pins, leaving on the surface “only” a picture, a cobweb of the self. By exhibiting photographs of work in different stages of creation, this maturation of elusiveness is further emphasized, which, both in metaphor and in reality, is based on a (concrete) process.

                                                                                                                       Dušica Popović, 

                                                                                                                       Art historian

                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                      

Winter needlework in process, 30x40cm, photograph, 2020

Zimski goblen ili razrastanje sopstva

                                                                                                                       

I’m looking for the face I had 

Before the world was made.

The Winding Stair , W.B. Yeats

Svojom novom izložbom Natalija Simeonović se nadovezuje na svoje prethodno istraživanje položaja i tipova (ženske) individue u savremenom društvu. Ovoga puta je pak Simeonovićeva stavila naglasak više na (re)konstrukciju ličnog prostora te vizuelizaciju intrapsihičko-simboličkih nivoa sopstva a manje na njegove socijalne dimenzije.

Okosnica izložbe je autoportret, digitalni print na platnu, na kome je umetnica intervenisala  špenadlama preko kojih je nanela akrilnu boju. Pored autoportreta, izložene su fotografije različitih etapa nastajanja rada, od kojih su neke snimljene iz neobičnih uglova, stvarajući efekat groteske.  

Autoportret odlikuje diskretan nadrealistički štimung.  Pored blago nadrealne atmosfere, prisutna je takođe reminiscencija/osavremenjena “adaptacija“ psihoanalitičkih, time i nadrealističkih stupnjeva sopstva. Tako bi na jeziku slike, to jest vizuelne predstave, id predstavljala fotografska podloga rada, ego bi predstavljala “armatura” od špenadli,  dok bi super ego predstavljala slika na njihovoj površini.  Samim tim, trostrukost autoportreta počiva na prisutnom ali nevidljivom nesvesnom (digitalni fotografski predložak),  koje se interpretira, opredmećuje pomoću svesti (špenadle ponavljaju crte lica sa fotografije), na koju se potom projektuje vlastita “idealna” slika (ovde i doslovno).  Međutim, ovde svakako nije posredi jednostavan, linearan hijerarhijski odnos između različitih delova ličnosti odnosno slike, s obzirom da su “id” i “super ego” ili oslobađajući i represivni personalni i društveni elementi međusobno zamenjivi (slika na površini kopira fotografiju ispod).  Kulturalne preference se menjaju te ono što je u jednom vremenu bilo podložno društvenom i individualnom potiskivanju, oličavajući uznemirujuće sile haosa (poput recimo seksualnosti), u nekom drugom vremenu može igrati upravo obrnutu ulogu – biti uporišna osnova samoartikulacije i društvene prihvatljivosti.

Pritom se može reći da je danas stanovište po kome je individua proizvod isključivo svog (ranog)

formiranja pod uticajem određenih društvenih okolnosti jednako reduktivističko koliko i stanovište da je ona puka izvršiteljka radova svog genetskog nasleđa, svojih gena. Rečima Paola Virna: “Subjekat je bojno polje. Neretko se čini da predindividualni aspekti individuaciju postavljaju u pitanje: Ona se pokazuje kao prevremeni rezultat, uvek reverzibilan.  A ponekad, čini se obratno – to je tačno ono“ja” koje, čini se, želi svojom strastvenom proždrljivošću na sebe da svede sve predindividualne aspekte našeg iskustva.”[1]

Kulturalne norme a sa njima i dostupne forme samorazumevanja su istorijski kontingentne. Ono što je međutim trajno jeste unutrašnja borba subjekta sa samim sobom, za sebe. Tu borbu je Simeonovićeva na svom autoportretu tek nagovestila, poigravajući se tehnikom koja priziva u svest akupunkturu i vudu ritual istovremeno, ostvarujući krhku ravnotežu u neopredeljenosti između samoisceljenja i samoranjavanja. Isto tako, autorka ovim postupkom kao da  opredmećuje stereotip o pasivno-agresivnoj ekonomiji “ženstvenosti.”

Špenadle podsećaju na bezbojne ili “obezvučene” digitalne piksele, kojima je boja naknadno dodata; ona ne učestvuje u njihovoj autonomnoj trodimenzionalnosti već se doima kao  zavodljivi omotač, optički trik koji treba da oteža prepoznavanje prave prirode medija.  Kombinacija digitalne fotografije i analogne slike, uz posredovanje taktilne strukture, ostavlja posmatrače i posmatračice u neizvesnosti povodom karaktera takve simbioze. Kako se rad ne može svesti ni na jedan od upotrebljenih medija jer sadrži ponešto od svih, čini se da funkcioniše u infinitezimalnom prostoru  između medija (svetova).

U pozadini autoportreta su naslikane merdevine kao kulise na kojima se sopstvenost može uvežbavati, penjući se i silazeći, stvarajući kondiciju potrebnu za samospoznaju. U simboličkom smislu, merdevine otelotvoravaju ne-mesto, tranzitivnost ali i sredstvo pomoću koga se nekuda može stići.  U ovom slučaju se mogu posmatrati kao simboličke zastupnice sopstva kao ne-mesta, kao sredstva za akumulaciju iskustava i subjektivno doživljenih a objektivno nemerljivih jedinica vremena, potrebnih za samoizgradnju. A uprkos pokušaju autorke i beskrajnim drugim pokušajima ljudske individue uopšte  da “imobilizovanjem”, pribadanjem vlastite slike locira to

sopstvo i/kao sopstveno mesto u svetu, ono uvek izmiče (“curi” kroz reljef od špenadli), ostavljajući na površini “samo”  sliku, paučinu sopstva.

Izlaganjem fotografija rada u različitim fazama nastanka, dodatno se potcrtava to zrenje neuhvatljivosti, koje, kako u metafori tako i u stvarnosti,  počiva na (konkretnom) procesu.

                                                                                                                                Dušica Popović,

                                                                                                                         istoričarka umetnosti


[1] Paolo Virno, Mnoštvo kao subjektivnost. Dvosmisleni koncept biopolitike, u Moć nad životom, prir. D. Marinković, D.Ristić, Mediterran publishing, Novi Sad, 2019, 406.

Winter needlework in process, 30x40cm, photograph, 2020