The great setting or pareidolia by Ivana Jančić
Between an eternal stone and a temporary wall structure, between light and shade taking turns on the surface of limestone, between the hues mixed on the palette producing a near monochromatic quality, between poetry of Demetrius Cantacuzenus, a resident of the ancient site of Novo Brdo, and the moment we live in – which is actually a mere twinkling of an eye – there stands the Art Of Ivana Jančić, a painter.
Novus Mons, Novomonte, Monte Novo, Nyeberghe, Novaberde, Novo Brdo
Novo Brdo used to be a locality of silver, lead, and gold. One of the most important medieval European towns, judging by a large number of its names in different languages of the time, each derived from its Slavic name. This also shows its cosmopolitan spirit, accordingly.
Renowned for its ore abundance since Antiquity, the locality was written about in the historical sources of the 14th and 15th centuries when it eventually fell to the Turkish reign.
Throughout the centuries the treasure had been guarded by the huge stone walls, partly preserved up to our time to testify to its former power and glory. The remains are here, since the stone is eternal, not the walls.
In that field consisting of the eternal and the ephemeral, Ivana builds her Art structure.
Ivana Jančić says that she had found the theme for her painting by exploring her roots, and thus, over Hercegovina karst, following her bloodline, she had reached Novo Brdo, her ancestors’ native place.
However, any motive is insufficient unless followed by a true intention growing into an idea per se.
It is here that we discover Ivana’s world going beyond the theme limitations just in a way art meanders into something surprising and unexpected, and yet, eventually, every line and a spot in her paintings finds its undoubted place.
Marcel Duchamp claimed that a painting has to shock and it seems that ever since then this statement prevailed as an imperative for Modernism and Post-Modernism. Such an attitude has, let us admit it, brought an undreamed-of liberty of expression in the past century, and has opened the opportunity for Art to become the very essence of the human spirit. However, among numerous interpretations of Duchamp’s urinal, we are compelled to examine the time we live in. There is no simple answer to this question. We could perhaps put our hands on our eyes pretending to be watching the world as it is, uninfluenced by the press and social media.
Or rather, we could accept Ivana’s remark that her art is a Trojan horse ready to bring up stories otherwise untold, all through the stone structure, with the absence of men and colour in it.
Is it not that the idea to present a real particle of the world through an abstract painting, inciting an array of illusions, as through visual pareidolia, a phenomenon in which we pay attention to what we see and which in its core has no real substance, thus being a product of our imagination, actually an ever-green approach to the visual arts, available for those who deeply sense the meaning of the visual?
More so, if a viewer of a painting is offered an endless line of associations, in other words, if ushered in the field of untold stories, then the painting as a setting for permanent interpretations, turns into a live, continual artifact.
Ivana Jančić leads us through this process in her own unobtrusive way, appearing at first to have scarce means of expression, which paradoxically form a powerful and suggestive game of contrasts. She is in no hurry and her paintings are created by a meticulous procedure of blending oil paint since her setting is not a harsh scream, but more of a premonition and a conundrum. However, the observer of Ivana’s setting can stay bewildered by the discovery, since the reflection of her paintings relies on the viewer’s needs and merits.
Firstly, Ivana Jančić is a painter. And lastly. We are under the impression that she makes no mistakes in her work. As if she simply knows the right position of each stone in the painting and that her sole task is to bring the stones over and place them. But where does such confidence and purity of the style come from in a person who is practically a novice? Could it be for the fact that Ivana’s formal education is almost as long as her entire life? After completing Secondary Art school, she moved to study The History of Art and eventually graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts as a valedictorian! Or is it perhaps that being freed from the urge for praise and glory, she is simply determined to the her task in a right and fair way.
The painters know that a painting is completed when it gets pretty. And it is pretty when it arouses premonition. Are we still able to speculate or is it only the imperative of instant knowledge in a click? What happened to the joy of search and discovery?
Ivana Jančić claims that the perfect consumer of her art is a curious person. Curious people have time.
Perhaps in the ‘user manual’ for understanding Ivana’s art, the time factor should be stated as an essential key for unlocking the emotion of the author. Please note that it is vital to stand still and take time in order to witness the miracle she has to offer, like playing a game and making an effort to reach another level. All of a sudden we would recognize that those apparently scarce artistic elements represent a ticket to an Imaginarium where each and every person can discover his own world. Just by spending time. Fair enough, because the painter spent her time building her own dismantled world.
Throughout history, Novo Brdo has been the residence of numerous brilliant people and scholars who were discussing the world as it was. Among them was a man of great contemplation, Demetrius Cantacusin, from the outstanding family of Cantacusin. We cannot claim that he had encountered Ivana’s ancestors in the Novo Brdo streets, but we can presume that the spiritual parallels between the poet and our painter do exist. Demetrius’ origins enabled him to be independent and free in his poems, thus his rather earthly poetry addresses the sinners. However, the poet neither advises nor judges anyone, but writes about the passing of life, reminding us of both ephemeral and eternal values.
Ivana too is a freelance artist who, a few centuries apart from Cantacousin, finds similar signals in the surrounding world. She deliberately gathers scattered pieces of the world, with no intention to shock, but to suspend them in the setting of an enclosed space of her painting, thus constantly reminding us of the ephemeral.
Lastly, here is a poem by the poet Demetrius Cantacousin, titled as this essay. “The Great Setting”