Gallery of the Regional Museum of Jagodina,
July 16, 2019 – August 8, 2019
Ksenija Milićević was born in Jagodina in 1992. She graduated from the Faculty of Applied Arts –Department of Wall Painting in Kragujevac, in the class of Professor Jelena Šalenić. At the same faculty, she completed a master’s degree in academic studies with Professor Slobodan Marinković. She has exhibited at several student and collective exhibitions in Kraljevo, Kragujevac, Jagodina and Belgrade. She also participated in several art colonies. He lives and works in Jagodina.
FROM THE OPENING
Dreams – communication with yourself is a master exhibition of the artist Ksenija Milićević and also her first solo exhibition. Through about twenty paintings, whose theme is dreams, the artist establishes a specific communication with herself, but also with the world around her. Image, as a visual word, has always been a powerful means of communication. Dreams are also images, those created by our subconscious, and expressed through symbols. For Ksenija, there is a sign of equality between an art painting and a dream. She materializes her dreams in paintings, and by exploring the subconscious and the unconscious, she also discovers her hidden, dark side.
Ksenija Milićević uses contrast as the basic means of her expression. Her paintings combine light and darkness, dream and reality, real and surreal, just as in life there is an eternal dualism between good and evil, beautiful and ugly, physical and spiritual, life and death … In Ksenija’s paintings, “with a dreamy experience of reality”, as she defines them, neither side is in the lead, which she clearly indicates by symmetry and balanced compositions.
An unavoidable motif in the paintings of this artist is the forest, that is, the trees. Both the forest and the tree carry dualism. The forest is one of the strongest symbols of the subconscious. It has no end, no road, there is light in it, but there is also darkness. The tree, on the other hand, is tied to the earth with its roots, so one part of the tree is in darkness. On the other hand, with its canopy the tree tends towards the Sun, towards the light. In that forest, which embodies purity, nature, the primordial and untainted, the artist paints herself. She is safe there, but also trapped. On the way to the light seen through the trees, a place that Ksenija calls “the plain”, ie through the act of accepting our imperfections and the dark side that each of us has (and Ksenija bravely presents hers in the picture “Self-Portrait”), we must to pass through the City of Sin. It is the collective memory that exists in us in parallel with what our personal. Ksenija opposes the impurities of the City with water, which is shown directly, but also through the leakage of paint. Water removes dirt, cleans, and symbolically a new person is born from it.
The contrast in Ksenija’s paintings can be seen in the material she uses and in the way she expresses herself visually. Contrary to the purity and greenery of the forest she paints, the artist introduces non-standard painting materials bitumen and gasoline. It is the asphalt from which she herself originated, on which she learned her first steps, a product of modern man who leaves a trace in the purity of nature. However, bitulite allows her to technically do what she wants. Using it, she achieves the desired atmosphere, enlightenment, stains. Bitulite continues to “work” even after the artist completes her act of painting, just as nature itself leaves its mark on the bark of trees. Also, this material allows her to achieve the desired effects of light and shadow contrast, pushing color into the background. However, although they seem monochromatic, the paintings made with bitulite hide an abundance of tones and radiate warmth and a mystical atmosphere.
Ksenija emphasizes transcendence by using plexiglass as the background on which she paints. He is translucent, so while painting, she, really and symbolically, sees the world behind her painting. It negates boundaries and barriers, and its smooth surface allows for easier color leakage, which emphasizes the fluidity of the image. This makes the image even more obviously close to the dream, which is itself fluid, without limitations, something that is behind reality.
Finally, dualism is seen in Ksenija’s work in the way she expresses herself visually. Depending on her inner instinct that drives her to create, she works instinctively and unconsciously, and then abstract or semi-abstract compositions are created, which are characterized by emphasized expressiveness. On the other hand, she does not abandon figuration and creates images full of metaphysical atmosphere and strong symbolism.
Ksenija’s paintings are dark, cold and pessimistic at first glance. Their message is, in fact, optimistic and full of hope and altruism. We are the children of the city, we walk on the asphalt, we are alienated and trapped in our darkness. However, if we return to our nature, free ourselves from fears and resist the challenges that drag us into darkness, we will reach the light that exists in each of us and achieve harmony with nature. It is art that helps us on this path, ennobles us and gives us beauty.