Veljko Zejak: works 2006-2009
It is supposed that already in the real expansion of his now famous, “attenuated” human figures, which he did not make after a live model, Giacometti has set in motion the idea of the crisis of the visible. From different viewpoints and positions nowadays we can testify that the crisis has equally transfused the exact legalities of the known nature as well as the completely alterable modes of existence in it. The existentialistic uplift in the art, already since the maturation of Giacometti’s time has been changed empirically, and it outreaches incredible consequences. In the company of a cult urologic implosion examples of our affective and sensory binding of the attention are mixed with the exchanges of religious apprehensions and political denotations in the influences of multiple realities within the artistic work.
Our mechanisms of seeing transform the materialization of the act of art towards the widest range of tryouts which are, as per the laws of gravitation, within the limits of physical laws. Generally, the diversity between the shaped and unshaped, as well as between the culture and nature, has conquered the repertoire of three-cavity solutions, defined in the vision of the contemporary sculpture by Rosalind E. Krauss as an “expanded field”. So, whether the created artificial world has been rounded and presented virtually, or it is in a clear state of palpability, we are embarked towards the re-definition of the level of recognition, closeness and the status of reality of the period of the 21st century itself. In his opus Veljko Zejak manages to reinforce an awakened relation towards the apprehension of the sculptural and ambiance work. Snatching at a firm constitution of the objectiveness of his sculptures and their sensory and geometric fusion, he squares well to admeasure the creation of composedness of the fine arts’ work at the same time also as a polygon of cogitation between the extreme far past and his intuition of the future. However, Veljko Zejak intensifies the grabbed consequences of revision of the appearance in the denotations of the structures of his type series with his own process treatment of the objectivity, but also the ambients of the visible space. Although the visible literacy in the alterable and fluid world of the media and information is frequently routed with the widespread conception of interactivity, it has become clear that the concept has lost in validity. In that sense his series of works from relief, hanging or room floor sculptures with a figurative association and reference, up to the light environmental structures which count on the introduction of observers and diverse literal mirror-reflexions and reflexions of the reflection of the ambience, and the refraction of light- and shadow- bundles.
Imprint and negative of the body, object and existence
Following the archaic dimension of mesopotamic parallels, which in the frequent cogitations of the post-modern culture (like the social analysis of “symulacrums and simulations” of Baudrillard) were non-sparsely connected to Babylon and the communicatonal small reliefs and cylindric stamps of that time, Veljko Zejak creates meticulously his choice of graphics in clay, given as portarit demarcations of the parcel post, that big attainment of the turbolent 20th century. Designating himself through selected faces of rulers or commanders (Hitler, field marshal Tito) as well as the selected artist of the sound and portrait of a woman as the really second (Clara Schumann) or the lost magic native (The Australian Aborigine), the artist suggests that the serial production of the faces of ideology, voluptuousness or belief is implanted in the widest widespread follow up of the header of the designated parcel of specific lost parcels and letters or viewcards which mass paper serial engravings of post stamps also owned. The word is about a uniquely audacious sculptural and relief superstruction not only of the starting point – philatelistic concerns – but also a status of the value as an affected varied nature of the human face. The classical presentation of these series in clay, in formats which surpass the expected use, divericates among the analogies of modelations embossed from negatives of stamps. Also clay examples of anthropometric statuses of the human figure, ruined by gravitation or social trappings make a similar modelling characteristic.
The possibility of direct recognitions in the hollowed out negatives of the stamps is a civilizational achievement which shows also the volume of what is lost and dissappears, but also melts with the sculptural question of exposition and state between the presence and the absence or deficiency. The media engagement of the artist himself not only directs to such sort of interactivity, but also follows the melting between the precise applied painting, sculpture, the grpahics itself and a serial production, as well as the work in the roasted ground, i.e the ceramics. In that sense the series “post stamps” transmits the reference of the substantial meanings of the transitory statuses of the post-modern culture: the unplottedness of the bodies and the human figure from the stamp, as well as the heads which belong to the listed carriers of ideology and power, the beliefs in the magic carrier of the disappeared genetic heirdom and the hidden sound sensibility, which the german woman composer cleraly impersonates. The portraits in the clay post stamps are the carriers of the ensemble of memory which also carry their own rests of significance converted into sculptural works.
The clay post stamps direct also to the character of the treasure of archivating which can also in the sense of melted and copied faces or sentences be found in the imaginarium of the artist’s conscious internal library of meanings.
Nucleus or object without doubt
The creative process of spatial works with literal illuminations or controlled sources of light concerns the cited of a changeable interactivity. Namely, in them the idea of a Nucleus or nut is shown as the subject of many modeling possibilities through an optical effect which glasses itself as well as the status of variegated glass. Exposed as a masterpiece in its vitrage melting, the object – work clearly directs to the monad or Leibnitz’s contemplative invention of apprehension of the world of closeness. Far from any illustration, the object which associates to a pod, nut or asylum is offered as a sculptural, hence three-cavity matrix of confrontation with the mirror-effects of a painting of any space, suggestion for an exterior place or room-conditions in which the object arrives. In its primary influence, this work is the center of a group of spatial and manufacturing investigations which count on the effect of the light or flow of water. As if with the meditation about the visible, which already Ernst Gombrich professed in the possibility of seeing the painting of a duck and a rabbit on the same place from two different angles actually the technological consequence of a various visibility of today is adopted. Being at the same time the status of the object, but also the reflecting nucleus, the sculpture – object adopts the characteristics of a carrier between the absence and the presence. If in the examples of abstraction, reduction or inscribed meaning, still from Bracussi’s “Endless Column”, over Robert Smithson’s captures of the landscape and material or Robert Morriss’s geometrics we could observe the tripping with the infinitesimal, geometrically closed and mysterious, then also the “Nucleus” with its reflecting associations shows itself as an automaton, a specific monumental situation of every day’s life. With melted vitrage-sutures this nut – object transmits in itself the logics of comprehension of the vigor of the space of fleshliness or material through which the western art unwinds through episodes of many creators. Leibnitz’s definition of the automaton as a monad could, in its created artificial and projected form, be also the background for a playful tickler of the reflexion in the use of the technique of vitrage and light-refraction in such works and exposition-projects of Veljko Zejak.
By offering a melting of the model and ambient, the artist embarks on the achievements of the minimalistic art into the creation of non-landscapes or non-constructions, following his sequenced choice of the light-refraction as the supporting construction element. The procedure has significant versions, and it is closed and modeled as a field of trapezoid vitrage-mirrors in the work “Landscape” where the status of a ritual field for ancient civilizations, given for the clay “Post stamps” or in the closed structure of the Nucleus” is equally shown. The sculptures with the interventions of a localized bundle of light and also associations or presences of transparence of the water grow out into a creative play with controversies against the status of belief, devoted ambient or religious act of initiation or cognition. Far from any mystification, the space of such artistic and constructive attainments imports the logics of sureness of re-examination of the time-forms’ structure. The meandering and strict melting of surfaces in the artificial mirror-landscape or the world of today’s certainly changed nature and beliefs. Therefore the elements of a myth as well as the counting with the light-jitter in the works like “Hram”(“The temple”), with all the imprints of the picture of divine, and “Bathroom Web” unwind in the kinesthetic perceptive multiplication of the light-reflection, but also the hung-over watcher – participant. Similar to the receptures for the modeling of works as a status of continuance, Veljko Zejak determines also the spatial rhythm and physical-environmental temptation of his works. In them, in spite of the invoking of the mass portraits, ideology, religious act, sensuality, it is shown that the actuality is never the only constant. Conscious of the mediation and the legality of contemporaneous artistic examples, in his works he follows expressfully the method of sensitive melting away from the technological inflictions and surrounding disorder. The stamps related to the archive of the library are not only a metaphor of the bureaucratized rests of disappearing social worlds, but also a responsible entrance into the sphere of mnemonics or the syllabic, library and figurative principles of storage. Realizing through the offer of his and literal reflections, but also the figures and faces a specific chain of sensations, the artist shows that the investigation for the substance unwinds in the paradox of an imaginative pulsation of the own force.
professor of History and Theory of Arts
Art University of Belgrade