FAIRYTALE WORLD OF MIRJANA PETROVIC’S CHAMELEONS

Exactly as in some dreamed but unfinished curious – joyfu horror fairy stories, the unusual world of notions from Mirjana Petrović’s pictures has arisen from realily, and yet it has stepped into a field of imaginative, created in her own fantasies, seen in her dreams world.

It all started with her creations descended from planet band (the title of Mirjana’s previous exhibition) which by all means stepped out of painter’s canvas and took off freely and uncontrollably into a new world, a new adventure. In addition to pictures she exhibited at that time and interesting art-handicraft showing a space activism whose purpose was raising visual dynamism of her works to a considerably higher level. At that time in our art of painting she discovered an unknown and unsurpassable vocabulary of notions, forms and pictures coming from her exceptionally typical her own imagination.

Once started separation from art of painting – both in physical sense and in meaning, continued in the new cyc e of Chameleon with a sharper sensibility and with a new takeoff of a true idiosyncratic picturesqueness. Though her general idea materializes in her works created in different media (pictures, drawings, murals, installations) they all lead up to a unique aim and creation of a unique impression -exhibition as a total work of art, or something that in this case could be rightly called Gesamt Kunstwerk.

The exhibition Chameleons compnses several enrireries composed of as manv series of works. Each of them nas its own internal story visualized by a different procedure.

Tempestuous, explosive colourism, which was discovered by Mirjana Petrović already on her previus exhibition, dominates in the cycle of her large studies in oils. Their setting was made with the aim to create a unique impression of sacra space together with a cross-like composition and wall fresco-installations. Monumental chameleons which dominate over them regardless of the fact whether they were painted individually, or whether there were several or them in a scene when they built a group composition, they tell individual stories about their individual or collective destinies. Actuallv they present visual metaphors or this time and our experience and then common fate. If they were missing, in such over-dimensional, frightening and humorous form, may be we could miss the picture of ourseves, our status at this moment and in this place. This way, they are unavoidable, rather visible and so benign threats is inevitable.

Yet another story was told at a dining table – a spatial installation on wnich there was enough room for customary delicacies. And around it a ramily of four members is sitting down. The general joyfulness stressed by colouration and unusual contents on the table replaced by ugliness of the family, the good selection of the offered food on the table is made up for the bad aesthetic quality of those sitting around it. This obvious contrast, though achieved by practically the same repertoire of forms and use of a unique palette, it is yet so convincing in its ambiguity that in a viewer – witness of this feast, it produces a frightening hesitation what in this scene is positive and safe and what negative and dangerous. Viewing this work, together with Mirjana, we realize we have found ourselves on a fatal crossroads befween somethina we wish and we are frightened off at the same time.

The third entirety is made by a mural situation perTormea m a j of a sophisticated postqraffiti-art drawmg capacity – a real mania running continuously both in time and space dimensions has been expressed in the b Here one can see most clearly the sense and powerful potential of this rough, hara, raw line-contour which actually provides the basic character and bearing visual structure of all her works. These graphical scen« are compleTeiy rree rrom spanai dimensions and they ovemow practically without any limits along a wall, then continuing along the adjacent wall they transfer and extend the scene, and then again, they continue now along the ceiling etc. Basically, the formed idea was founded into the sense and appearance of wall graffiti, however it was supplemented oy a different plastic content which is closer to classical painting experience which is possessea by Mirjana Petrovic without any doubt, and which provides the basic and final character to her entire work.

Franceska Alinovi mentioned once visualization of logics which ran wild, in her time she was, by all means, the best connoisseur and interpreter of graffiti-art. Perceiving the exact ploce of this art expressed in specific pictures of a pre-culture culture, in special scenes of artificial infantilism, in unrestrained imagination which is not subjecf to any rules of well-known art schools, she wrote about it as if she was organizing urban rebellions of marginal groups which addressed a large number of people passers-by. Change towards the new or post-situation lies in the fact that interpretation in the work procedure of Mirjana Petrović is transferred into gallery space and it runs past experience with public performance, as the case is with examples of public-art. This did not diminish either the sharpness or battle character of her message. On the contrary, it has been brought to an exceptionally high leve from which she acts with full internal powerful potentials of her forms and colourism.

Painting personality which has been shown so far fpr regularly by Mirjana Petrović brings her to the line of the most original creators who creates specific pictures and icons of X generation with obvious success. This type of complex art comprising pictures, drawings, graffiti, objecfs, installations, ambiance has characteristics of a new social holy place of the time yet to come. This post-catastrophic and post-apocalyptic aesthetic quality is intended for, first of all, those survived from the last Yu-war. Identification of their newest fears, anxieties, phobias, traumas could be easily noticed in this art of panting. However, the psychologica) exit is containing anxiety, on the other hand it is surpassed by an embryo of optimism at the same time. This outline is actually adeauate to the human and artistic prorile of the artist herself. However, will the self-portrait made in this way be effective to viewers of her art too -this does not depend on her exclusively. This actually depends on readiness to clearly recognize these open signals of time emitted by an eccentric sense for art in the domain of altered icon slang of 21st century written by this total picturesqueness.

Jovan Despotovic

SMIT, Belgrade, 1997