Na ’Putu čokolade’ Gorana Jureše

Danas se slikarstvo i ’slikarstvo’ mogu realizovani, praktično, neograničenim sredstvima i u mnogobrojnim medijima. (Razlika između slikarstva i ’slikarstva’ je u tome što prvo odgovara opštoj kreativnoj slici vremena, a ono drugo samo manje-više oponaša savremenu umetnost te je stoga dovedena u pitanje njena vrednost). Ono je, istovremeno, u tematskom polju takođe neograničeno, čak nepregledno i pogodno da se sve što može biti njegova tema ili sadržaj plastičkim jezikom iskažu u ravnini platna, ili na površini papira ako se radi o crtežu ili kolažu. U tom aktuelnom jezičkom kovitlacu beskonačnih autorskih poetika očigledno je da svaki umetnik gradi vlastitu, individualnu poziciju kojom definiše one imaginarne ili stvarne, intelektulane ili iracionalne, psihološke ili vizionarske itd. fenomene koji ga zanimaju i za koje ima potrebu da ih prenese u vizuelno polje svoga dela. I ta je želja umetnika jedino presudna da bi se neki rad kreirao, da se gledaocu prenese osećanje koje ga zaokupljuje, da se objavi njegova unutrašnja potreba da, u ovom slučaju, vizuelnim stvaralaštvom pripoveda neku temu koja može biti istorijska, aktuelna, izmišljena ili stvarna.

U slučaju slikarstva Gorana Jureše, tačnije u njegovom recentnom ciklusu ’Put čokolade’ u potpunosti se o tome radi. Početkom prethodne decenije o njegovim slikarskim počecima zapisali smo kako je polazište njegovih kolorističkih i ekspresivnih slika u predmetnom svetu. Ali ne onog koji je uobičajeno oko nas, prepoznatljivog po svojim formama i načinima upotrebe, već onog koji je pretrpeo određene promene koje su narušile njegov prepoznatljiv oblik tako da je on postao nefunkcionalan. Na takvoj plastičkoj osnovi Jureša nastavlja da stvara, a današnji ciklus slika (ali i crteža i kolaža koje istovremeno radi) nastoji da i koloristički i po formama defunkcionalizuje oblik svodeći ga tek na elemetarni vizuelni podatak koji deluje na percepciju posmatrača primoravajući ga da se uključi u igru sastavljanja sadžaja, izgradnju naracije koju je autor tek naznačio i tek po kojom rečju ili rečenicom ispisanom na površini platna uputio učesnika u ovom događaju (možda igri?) na neophodni put saznanja i doživljaja.

Čokolada, kao i sve drugo, ima svoju istoriju. Ona je odavno globalni fenomen koji se konzumira u ogromnim količinama. Ali to se dogodilo relativno skoro, u epohi osvajanja Srednje Amerike kada su, pored zlata, konkvistadori svojim imperatorima u Evropu donosili i nepoznate stvari za koje nisu u prvom trenutku ni znali vrednost i korist. To je bio slučaj i sa kakaom koji je kao seme ovog drveta sa njima stiglo kao jedna nova, egzotična jestiva i hranljiva namirnica od koje će u narednim godinama načiniti ono što danas smatramo najznačajnijim i najrasprostranjenijim slatkišem – čokoladu. Na indijanskom jeziku meksičkih Asteka (od kojih su Hernando Kortez i njegovi osvajači prvi naučili da je koriste) czoko-lati značilo je piće od kakaoa božanskog porekla. Kortez je 1525. godine na španski dvor, imperatoru i kralju Karlosu I, doneo ovo seme koje je u tajnosti čuvano i uzgajano u manastirima. Prošlo je od tada više od jednog veka kada je u Londonu otvorena prva prodavnica čokolade. Marija Antonaeta i Luj XVI su oveli modu konzumiranja čokolade na evropskim dvorovima. Tako se tokom naredna dva veka čokolada proširila Evropom da bi tek 1875. u Švajcarskoj nastala danas najpoznatija – Neste, mlečna čokola.

Ovo je tek nekoliko tačaka na istorijskoj mapi puta čokolade. Goran Jureša je ciklusom slika ‘Put čokolade’ slikarski mapirao stazu kretanja ove poslastice koristeći se jednim specifičnim vizuelnim jezikom koji i otkriva, ali i skriva formalno-plastička značenja koja je moguće istaći, ali i zakloniti slikarskom imaginacijom i praksom produkcije umetničkog predmeta. I sem teme, Jureša je osmislio i slikarski postupak kojim će upotrebom adekvatnog, specifičnog autorskog postupka islikati istoriju čokolade fragmentujući je nekim simbolima, citatima poznatih slika iz istorije umetnosti, ispisima na platnima, ekspresivnim kolorizmom baziranim na jarko crvenim poljima, slobodnom kompozicijom oslobođenom akademskih kanona, iscrtavanjem pomorskih mapa, osvajačkim bitkama, naznakom portreta imperatora i njihovih (još) uticajnih žena…

Bliže posmatrajući, ove slike Gorana Jureše da bi postigle vlastitu ubedljivu i održivu optičku konstrukciju, morale su prethodno proći proces destrukcije (štaviše – samouništavanja) polaznih vizuelnih predstava (na istorijskim uzorima) u jezičkom domenu dekonstrukcije – razlaganja (onako kako je ovaj model tumačenja postavio Derida). Da pogledamo na primerima nekoliko njegovih slika kako se ovaj fazni proces odvija.

(Autoto)destrukcija bojenog polja u Jurešinim slikama odvija se niz godina, kako smo naveli, praktično od njihovog nastanka kao defunkcionalizovane forme. A do nje je autor došao svođenjem oblika do praga prepoznatljivosti (‘Marija Tereza okružena patuljcima ispija toplu čokoladu’, 2010) kada tek naziremo poznati Velaskezov portret sa naglašenom baroknom frizurom transponovanom u vidu šešira. Tak vizuelni podatak, nalik crnom šeširu sa crvenim perom, daje slici potpuno značenje i odvodi gledaoca od nedoumica sa kakvim se vizuelnim prizorom suočava. I svi drugi elementi narativa (koji se pominju u naslovu) pažljivijim posmatranjem slike prepoznaju se kao dovoljan formalni prikaz za dobijanje potvrde autentičnosti. Znači, destrukcijom vizuelnog statusa istorijske kompozicije sa dodavanjem sadržaja koji Jurešu zanimaju, konstruisana je kompozicija sabrana do svih neophodnih značenja koja se mogu videti kao, na pravi pogled ‘nezavršeno’, ali ipak potpuno slikarsko delo. Sličan postupak koji je Jureša primenio možemo sagledati i u slikama ‘Marija Tereza’ iz 2011, ‘Luj XIV’ iz 2010 i 2011. godine, gde su osnovne barokne forme prevedene u semiapstraktne bojene mrlje rasprostrte po površini platna. Slikanje ‘mrljama’ je za ovog autora nešto poput bojenja vlastitih kreativnih ideja.

Na istim principima (auto)destrukije zasnovane se i slike-mape puta čokolade, zapravo karte kretanja konkvistadora koji su je otkrili i doneli u Evropu. Prvi slikarski manir koji je Jureša primenio u daljem postupku slikanja bio je da u tim slikama, poput, ‘Mapa mundi’ ili ‘Putevi slasti’, obe iz 2011. godine, naznači imaginarno kretanje oko obala Srednje Amerike, tačnije Jukatanskog poluostrva, da kreira optičku (re)konstrukciju vodenih staza i tačaka ukotljavanja Kortezovih brodova. Na opštijoj mapi (sveta), onog tada poznatog, umetnik je bezobličnim mrljama plavih tonova ‘preslikao’ kartu koju su moreplovci iscrtavali ploveći okeanima i duž nepoznatog kopna. Iako labavo postavljena, tek naznačena konstrukcija ovih slika, one ipak veoma ubedljivo izgledaju u domenu čiste likovnosti čime je postignuto njihovo potpuno plastičko jedinstvo. Ove slike istovremeno deluju i kao gotovi radovi, ali i kao ‘predlošci’ za slobodna tumačenja gledalaca, za otkrivanje njihove semantike i praćenje narativnosti.

Posebno su zanimljiva platna na kojima nam Jureša pripoveda imaginarnu (ali zasnovani na činjenicama) istoriju Hernanda Korteza: ‘Jedanaest crnih brodova Hernanda Korteza’ (2010), ‘Quetzalcoatl – majanski bog’ (2009) i ‘Hernand Kortez protiv Quetzalcoatla’ (2009). Naime, Asteci su smatrali da je on bog Quetzalcoatl (‘pernati zmaj’ od koga potiču narodi tog dela Amerike) i tako se odnosili prema njemu uvažajući njegova božanska svojstva. Na ovim slikama u razigranim, dinamičnim mrljama u kojima domira crvena boja (boja krvi) naprosto se vidi ‘borba’, ne samo Kortezova borba za osvajanje novih hispanoameričkih teritorija, već i njegove unutrašnje tenzije koje su ga razapinjale između mita i stvarnosti, između njegovih ciljeva i mogučnosti da ih postigne. Ovajmaliciklus posvećen konkvistadoru Hermanu Kortezu spada u najlikovne domete Gorana Jureše po kojima se može tumačiti i ocenjivati njegovo ukupno slikarsko stvaralaštvo.

Ta snaga bojenih mrlja na Jurešinim platnima likovno-plastički je toliko ekspresivna da zapravo i drži strukturu prizora na njima. Ona su na prvi pogled apstraktna, ali smo već ukazali da su se zadržale na granici figuracije, one dekonstruisane, ekstremno ekspresivne, a zapravo nebitne za slikarski narativ za kojim je Jureša posegao. Sa malo osnovnih boja koje su bezoblično nanete na platno direktno rukama i prstima, iz kolornih stikova, umetnik je stvorio takve prizore koji su do izvesne mere anigmatnični, ali se uz pomoć naslova i ispisa na njima, gledalac može nepogrešivo uputiti na stazu razumevanja i prepoznavanja storije koja autora u ovom ciklusu slika zanima. Zamislite neku sliku iz perioda apstraktnog ekspresionizma (npr. koloristička platna Helen Frankentejler) kojom ćete ‘prekriti’ neku baroknu sliku (npr. Rubensove paradne portrete) pa ćete lako doći do odgovora na šta nas, likovnim jezikom, upućuje Goran Jureša. Taj odgovor nas dalje vodi ka pitanju i odgonetanju smisla današnje umetnosti koja nema vlastiti stil, niti mainstream, niti okosnicu oko koje se roje autorska ostvarenja kakav je bio slučaj u istoriji umetnosti, posebno 20. veka, već jedno nepregledno polje autorskih individualnosti kome svaki umetnik doprinosi vlastitim jezičkim shvatanje. I sva su ona legitimna, osim što su neka, u kreativnom smislu, ubedljivija, eksplicitnija, artikulisanija i doslednija od drugih. Tim merilima je moguće načiniti, uslovno govoreći, hijerarhiju među njima. Na taj uslovnoj, vetikalnoj hijerarhiji recentnih likovnih fenomena, slikartsvo Gorana Jureše stoji na mestu koje se nalazi među najzanimljivijima i likovno najodređenijima.

Njegov ciklus slika ‘Put čokolade’ koji gledamo na ovoj izložbi je svakako znatan doprinos naporu odgonetanja značenja i građenju razumevanju smisla vizuelnih umetnosti ovog vremena.

On Goran Juresa’s ‘Chocolate Road

Painting and ‘painting’ can be realized today by practically limitless means and through numerous kinds of media. (The difference between painting and ‘painting’ is that the former corresponds to the general contemporary creative image, and the latter more or less just imitates modern art, consequently raising questions about its value ). At the same time, the field from which it can cull its topics is as limitless as it is vast, and anything that could be its topic or content finds its expression in plastic language on the flatness of the canvas, or on the surface of the paper, in the case of drawings or collages. In this current linguistic whirlwind of endless authorial poetics it is clear that each artist builds his own individual position with which he defines those imaginary or real, intellectual or irrational, psychological or visionary phenomena which interest him and which he needs to transfer into the visual field of his work. This need of the artist is the decisive element that enables the work of art to be created, and enables the artist to communicate to the spectator the feeling with which he is preoccupied, to announce his inner need to narrate, in this case through visual works, a historical, current, invented, or real subject.

In the case of Goran Juresa’s painting, or more precisely in the case of his recent cycle ‘The Chocolate Road’ this is entirely what is at stake. Writings about his work at the beginning of the last decade located the point of departure of his colourful and expressive paintings in the objective world – not the world to which we are accustomed, recognizable by its forms and ways of use, but a world that has suffered certain changes which have disrupted its recognizable form and made it dysfunctional.

That is the plastic foundation on which Juresa continues to work, and the current cycle of paintings ( not excluding his drawings and collages that form a pendant to his painted works ) aims to defunctionalize, through the means of colour and its forms, form, reducing it to mere elementary visual data that combine to influence the perception of a spectator. This ‘game’ forces the spectator to participate in the act of reconstructing content, or building a narrative to which the author only alluded with the occasional word or sentence included on the surface of the canvas thus guiding the participant through the necessary path of realization and experience.

Chocolate, like everything, has its own history. It has become a global phenomenon, and is produced and consumed in enormous quantities, but was, nevertheless, discovered only relatively recently, in the era of the conquest of Central America, when besides gold, the conquistadors brought back to their emperors in Europe some unknown things of whose value and use they were, at first, entirely unaware. This was also the case with cacaowhich arrived with them in the form of seeds of this tree as a new, exotic, edible and nutritious food, which would, in future, be used to make what we today consider the most important and ubiquitous sweet – chocolate. In the native language of Mexican Aztecs (who first taught Hernándo Cortés and his conquistadors how to use it) xocolatlmeant a drink of divine origin made of cacao. In 1525, Cortés brought a new seed that had been kept and grown in secret in monasteries to the Spanish court of the emperor and King Carlos I. More than a century later, the first chocolate shop was opened in London.

Marie Antoinette and Louis XIV made chocolate consumption fashionable in European courts. Thus it was that chocolate spread throughout Europe over the course of the next two centuries, but it was not until 1875 that the most popular chocolate today, milk chocolate Nestle , was created in Switzerland.

These are just a few points on the historical map of the chocolate road. Goran Juresa mapped the itinerary of the sweet in his cycle ‘ The Chocolate Road’,  using a specific visual language that both reveals and conceals formal-plastic meanings. The latter, while being emphasized, are also concealed through the act of pictorial imagination and praxis of production of artistic objects. Juresa has also invented a pictorial procedure that is adequate, specific and authorial, painting the history of chocolate in a fragmentary style through the use of symbols, citations of famous paintings from the history of artistic production, and through his inclusions of text on the canvas. He also draws on expressive colouring, making use of vivid red fields. His compositions are, moreover, liberated from academic canons, featuring drawings of naval maps, allusions to battles of conquest, and to the portraits of emperors and their ( even more ) influential wives. A closer look at Goran Juresa’s paintings suggests that in order for them to achieve their own convincing and sustainable optical construction, they had to first undergo a process of destruction (or, better, of self-destruction) of initial visual notions (based on historical models ) in the linguistic domain of deconstruction – a kind of disassembling (in the way that Derrida established this model of interpretation).

In order to better illustrate this multiphase process , a commentary of a few of his works is indispensable. (Auto)- destruction of the coloured field in Jureša’s paintings has been taking place for years, owing, in large part, as previously mentioned, to their defunctionalized form. The author found this form by reducing forms to the threshold of recognizability (‘Maria Theresa Surrounded by Midgets Drinking Hot Chocolate’, 2010) to a point when we can barely make out the famous Velásquez’s portrait with conspicuous baroque hairstyle transposed into a hat. In that way, the visual data, like the black hat with a red feather, gives the painting its complete meaning and removes any doubt on the part of the spectator about the sort of visual spectacle he is facing. Upon closer observation, the remaining elements of the narrative ( mentioned in the title ) can also be recognized as a formal depiction sufficient for obtaining the confirmation of the authenticity. In other words, through the destruction of the visual status of the historical composition, and by including content that interests him, Juresa constructs a composition with all of its necessary meanings which seem, at first, ‘unfinished’, but nevertheless constitute a complete work of art. We can see a similar procedure in Juresa’s paintings ‘Maria Theresa’ from 2011 and ‘Louis XIV’ from 2010 and 2011 where basic Baroque forms are transformed into semi-abstract coloured blotches scattered on the surface of the canvas. To this author, painting through ‘blotches’ amounts to something like the colouring of his own creative ideas. The same principles of (auto) destruction were the basis for the paintings-maps of the chocolate road, or more precisely, the maps of the travels of conquistadors who discovered chocolate and brought it back to Europe. The first technique Juresa applied in the further painting procedure was  to mark on these paintings (such as ‘Mapa mundi‘ or ‘The Paths of Sweetnes’ both from 2011) the imaginary movements around the coasts of Central America, more precisely the Yukatán peninsula, and to create the optical (re)construction of sea routes and ports of Cortés ‘s ships.

On the more general map (of the then known world), the artist used formless spots in shades of blue to ‘copy’ the map which the navigators drew sailing the oceans and along unknown lands. Although the construction of these paintings is only loosely traced, or only suggested, they still manage to look very convincing in the domain of pure imagery, allowing them to achieve their complete plastic unity. At the same time, they look like finished works, but also like ‘models’ for free interpretations by spectators, for the discovery of their semantics and how to interpret the narrative.

The canvases which are especially interesting are the ones on which Jureša narrates the imaginary (that is, nevertheless, based in facts) history of Hernándo Cortés: ‘Eleven Black Ships of Hernándo Cortés’ (2010), ‘Quetzalcoatl – Mayan Deity’ (2009) and ‘Hernándo Cortés versus Quetzalcoatl‘ (2009). The Aztecs believed him to be Quetzalcoatl ( ‘feathered serpent’ from which the peoples of that part of America were thought to originate ) and they, accordingly, treated him as a deity. In the playful, dynamic blotches on these paintings in which the colour red (the colour of blood) is predominant ‘ the battle’ is visible, not only Cortés’s battle to conquer new Hispano-American territories, but also the inner tensions that created his dilemma between myth and reality, between his goals and the possibility to achieve them. This small cycle dedicated to the conquistador Hernándo Cortés is among Goran Juresa’s greatest pictorial achievements according to which his whole pictorial creation can be interpreted and assessed. The strength of the coloured blotches on Juresa’s canvases is both pictorially and plastically so expressive that it, in fact, also sustains the structure of the sights on the canvases. They seem, on a first viewing, abstract, but, as has already been indicated, they remain on the borders of deconstructed, extremely expressive figuration which is, in fact, unimportant for the pictorial narrative to which Juresa is alluding.

With few basic colours, formlessly applied to the canvas, either directly by hands and fingers, or from colour sticks, the artist has created such artworks which are, one the one hand, enigmatic, but, with the help of the captions and texts he has included in them, the spectator is able to unmistakably recognize the story that interests the author in this cycle of paintings. Imagine a painting from the period of abstract expressionism (for example the colouristic canvases of Helen Frankenthaler) that could ‘cover’ an emblematic Baroque painting (Rubens’s parade portraits) and Goran Juresa’s pictorial language becomes decipherable. When the goal of his pictorial language has been revealed, it leads us to further questions and guessing about the meaning of today’s art, deprived both of its own style, as well as its own mainstream, or framework around which authorial creations converge, as was the case in the history of art, especially in thetwentieth century. Today it is a vast field of authorial individualities to which each artist contributes with his own linguistic understanding. All these understandings are legitimate, except that some are, in the creative sense, more convincing, explicit, articulated and consistent than others. Using these measures, it is possible, hypothetically speaking, to construct a hierarchy out of them. In that hypothetical, vertical hierarchy of recent pictorial phenomena, the art of Goran Juresa is among the most interesting and pictorially most defined.

His cycle of paintings ‘The Chocolate Road’ on view at this exhibition is certainly a considerable contribution to the effort to discover the meaning and to build understanding of the sense of the visual arts of our time.

 

Jovan Despotović


Treći program Radio Beograda, Beograd, 26. 1. 2012, Galerija savremene umetnosti, Pančevo, 2. 2012, Galerija Kulturnog centra, Vršac, 3. 2012, Nova Misao, br. 15, decembar 2011 – januar 2012, Novi Sad,  s. 30-33, Istorija čokolade (nonografija), Galerija BelArt, Novi Sad, Galerija Zvono Beograd, 2013