Anica Vucetic / ‘Nostalgia’

A dispersed image of the new art, like the times in which it is created, is produced by the simultaneous influence of numerous factors: start-ing with those initiated by the non-existence of a principal style of the epoch, whereby each authen-tic creative attitude almost becomes a style in itself, and going on to the general trends of our civilisa-tion which have atomised and isolated the individ-ual to the point of dependence on mass production and informafion transmitted through electronic media. In such a spiritual, or more precisely cre-ative milieu, we are now witnessing the creation of a new art, autonomous and independent, both sim-ilar to and different from anything alreadv per-ceived in the corpora of art history. At the beginning of this chain of thought we are contemplating the new vitality of creativity which is characteristic for each new generation of artisfs, and at its end we ask the question well aware how remote the answer is: Are we in the middle of the end of one epochal concept named Modern vvhich has hallmarked the art of the 20th Century, or is the Post-Modern paradigm a new beginning, an unknown creative chapter – prolegomena to the Third Millennium? 

The art of the „post eighties”, despite the numerous trends, has established certain principal outlines and formed common features which have for the last fifteen years initiated exceptional cre-ative activities. Numerous „isms” and „neo-isms” – recent language forms from plural expressionism and non-expressionism, loud trans-avant-garde, the painting of memory and anachronism, to the new geometry, structuralism and de-constructionism, all lead to a unified understanding of form. The his-tory of art, especially its modern epoch including the avant-garde, is taken as an „open book” for a completely liberated exploration of its vital poten-tials indicating to the young generations of artists numerous new creative possibilities. The obsession of modernism with authenticity, the imperative of always being „new”, is now successfully replaced with a freedom to repeat notional and conceptual models from the near or not so near past, natural-ly adding strongly accentuated changes and dis-tinctions which justify the interpretation of works of the new art in tneir dual character as being differ-ent and original in comparison to any previous works. 

The same is evident in the latest work -ambiance by Anica Vučetić entitled „Nostalgia”. One recognizes the horizons of influence laid bare, but also a completely new contribution which has, in its variance from own historic and aesthet-ic project, achieved completely new semantic meanings. The environment constitutes of three huge sheets of fabric laid from the ceiling to the floor of the gallery, into which the air is blown by five specially constructed propellers driven by elec-tromotor, giving the impression of sails blown by the wind. The intention of the artist was to create inside this ambiance by such an intense structure an almost tangible tension in the narrow passage between the sails and the gallery wall which, although static, narrows the passage further. This narrow corridor created by minimum resources, by an artistically simple and highly reduced form of white fabric, simultaneously very complex in its contents and emotions comparable to Gide’s novel ,,Narrow door”, initiates in the spectator certain psychophysiological phenomena, sensuous stimu-iations of similar aesthetic experiences. This nar-row passage should take us from one level of real-ity to another, from a collective state into an indi-vidual experience, from physical into sensuous space, from natural chaos to aesthetic order. The feeling of a repressed almost endangered libido of the spectator or should we say participator of Anica Vučetić’s environment is a source of enor-mous emotional and, as this is first and foremost a work of art regardless of any other outcomes, aes-thetic experiences sought after by gallery goers. 

In view of Popper’s division of kinetic art (Frank Popper, Kinetic Art, Studio Vista, 1968) into three principal segments: real movement in works of art, virtual movement and movement activelv or passively initiated by the observer himself in rront of a work of kinetic art, this work of Anica Vučetić, by its significance referring to this source, could be interpreted as a completely new chapter. Kinetic art, environment art, mobiles, installations, ambiances – all are typical but inadequate and insufficient descriptions ror the work, as it obvious-ly has some completely different features which place it well beyond the boundaries of its historical precedents, reaching novel and modified levels of meaning. 

In all the former works of Anica Vučetić pre-ceding „Nostalgia”, which by a clear line of gen-esis go back all the way to her school-day experi-ments, to her early works completely outside stan-dard academic principles of conception and cre-ation of a work of art, the trend of a continuous individual development, its strong point being her interest in movement, is pronounced. How is the impression of movement created in a work of fine art, an artificial practice which by its media deter-mination is a static art, transforming this impres-sion to its virtual and finally real manifestation? Early works of Miss Vučetić, zoo morphological forms (snails, birds, and later on bats, crocodiles and dragons) displayed in ambiance, bear a sug-gestion of the impression of their movement. Later on follovv vvorks where movement becomes virtual (by a special display where from several spatial plans static transforms itself into kinetic and we are confused in our impression where the works are actually displayed – in or out of the gallery, since only their togetherness forms a whole). And finally, her a clearly visible experimenting with movement (water and air) in a series of works called „Pulsations”. 

Formally-plastic and aesthetic circle of artists preceding the works of Anica Vučetić as historical preludes is not large and remains within the boundaries of kinetic art. Classical avant-garde vvorks of Marcel Duchamp (Rotafive demisphere, 1925) or Kurt Schvvitters (Merzbau, 1925), as well as the works of jean Tinquely, Pol Bury and Hans Haacke, form a background on which the interesfs of Anica Vučetić are projected. The installation „Nostalgia” is in its conceptual sense a continua-tion of this succession with modified sensuous sen-sations and spiritual sfates. 

In the new Vugoslav art the place of Anica Vučetić is very specific and isolated. Most artists of her generation prefer painting and sculpture. Anica has follovved a completely different direction lead by her own sensibility, her conception of art and a sharpened perception of the recenf ultimate creative practice. In such works, contemporary Vugoslav art gains another evident and povverful impefus which maintains it in the focus of global creative activities. 

Jovan Despotovic 

Muse de Arte Contemporaneo da Universidase se Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, 1995 – 1996