Being an art curator I am always curious to see an artist engaging or challenging a particular principle in their work. Locating this principle assures me not just that the art works are the result of an articulated intention, but also that the artist driving this action is constantly aware of a necessity to create an authentic statement in a contemporary context.
The objects of my analysis are three installations by Jovana Popić: Lunik (2007), Orakel der Medea (2009) and The Routes (2010). Collectively, these works comprise the artist's solo exhibition, Navigating Bodies, where each piece is inspired by a unique circumstance involving some form of disappearance. Whether addressing the launch of a rocket later to be lost in flight, the embodiment of the invisible via prophetic act, or the concisely drawn routes of Russian military pilots during airplane journeys, each work challenges limits of human perception.
All of the three installations consist in some way of bodies and traces. Suggested bodies may be spatial (the rocket, Lunik), human (Oracle's prophetess) or implicit (the suggested hands responsible for delineating each flight path). Traces—or 'what subsists in the world when the event disappears' (1) —include the material wear on the rocket's surface as a result of its journey, the notion of prophecy as embedded within central matrix of the Medea installation, and the individually drawn and redrawn multiple routes used by any one pilot. And likewise, in each of the works there is evidence of landscape, real or fictitious. The Moon and celestial bodies are the dramatis personae of Lunik; in Orakel der Medea, a scorched field burns endlessly; and The Routes presents a hand-mapped geography from aerial perspective.
It would be a misinterpretation to consider any given element disconnected from the artist's central content. Medea, for example is not looking at the fire, but at what is behind it. The recognition is in the eye that perceives, not in what is perceived. So the elements of these installations always refer to something outside of them.
Jovana Popić's art is based on the mode of working that occupies different positions in different moments. It is an endless negotiation between bodies and traces that are being engaged in their own space-time context. These artworks are most resolved when understood as being in motion and seen as being able to transgress space, “to constantly reconfigure the artistic expression” (2), while insisting upon a single principle. It is in precisely this regard—between the bodies and the traces, marks and symptoms—that authentic gesture of Popić emerges all over again. Her installations are heterotopias—that is to say, they are based on a navigation across a universe of signs and meanings, and inhabiting the spaces in between, rather than occupying any single place.
They are neither reduced to a body nor separated completely from it. In this respect, sensibility is organized in a new way; this motion, out of a formless, in-between moment arises a new form. To put it in Alain Badiou's words these art works are based "on the movement of immanent infinity, as an access to the infinity of the world as such". (Maja Ćirić)
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