Milena Dragicevic: Akrobatski
For the first time, from October 28 to November 22, 2003, the Galerie Martin Janda / Raum Aktueller Kunst is presenting solo shows by Milena Dragicevic and Klaus Mosettig.
A large-format piece shows a diving platform against a rhythmic background (From the Diavolezza Series 5, 2002), the Wotruba church in Vienna is turned upside down (Monument, 2000), an indefinable form becomes a sculpture and placed before a modernistic, abstract sculpture, only slight allusions suggest it is the portrayal of an actual figure (Skoolp-too-ra, 2003).
Milena Dragicevic was born in Jugoslavia in 1965 and grew up in Canada, today she lives and works in London. Problems dealing with the relationship of space, sculpture and their translation into painting are central principles in her treatment of formal composition. Painterly principles and the painting work itself are not of foremost concern, they are however clearly present and virtuously resolved.
Sova (2003), the title of one of Milena Dragicevic’s most recent paintings, means “owl” in Serbian. The painting shows the double-portrait of an Englishman who emigrated to Canada at the start of the 20th century to join a tribe of Canadian Indians. Under the name of Grey Owl he published texts to further the protection of Canada’s wilderness and wildlife. The story of his life and his commitment to the establishment of national parks caused the figure of Grey Owl to become a romanticized legend in England as well as in Canada.
Milena Dragičević’s painting doubles the portrait of Grey Owl; the difference in the almost identical heads can be seen in the shade of the skin. The figures are placed in an undefined space in which only two globe lamps produce an idea of depth. The use of compositional devices (cp. Matisse, L’Italienne, 1916) lends the two figures equal significance: the left shoulder of the upper figure disappears into the background, only a suggestion of it remains. Grey Owl stands for the transfer of the foreign into a new context, for the blurring of cultural divisions, for inquiry into cultural heritage and into the formation of the emergent identity.