I was born in Belgrade in 1973 and grew up happily in the former Yugoslavia under Tito. At seven years old I was even one of Tito’s Pioneers (Tito’s cadets). To my mind, the 80’s were idyllic even though we didn’t have Barbie or Ken or McDonalds. But all the big bands came to Belgrade and I sometimes got tickets for concerts from my father who was an inspector in the police force. I also used to watch horror movies with him despite my age. Meanwhile my mother was the provincial head of kindergartens in Serbia.
Towards the end of the 80’s I was accepted into the school for design. I had to take extra curricula classes in order to apply. Everyone did. Following that I was accepted into the faculty of fine arts at the University of Belgrade. At university I lived the bohemian lifestyle. Discussions about life, the arts, music, theatre or where to buy the best pljesckavica (Balkan burger) normally carried on until the early hours of the morning. Of course, it was a tradition in Belgrade that a night out only started after 23:00, and that the morning after was nothing to be worried about. I still like to sleep late.
The 90’s were less happy. In 91 the war started. In 92 my brother and my cousin, who was like a sister to me, left the country for South Africa. If my brother had stayed inBelgrade he would have been conscripted and forced to join the army – army officers used to come to our house after he had left to ask about his whereabouts. I joined the student protests in 96-97 and graduated with my Master’s degree in 99. Just after that, with Bill Clinton as the American president, NATO bombed Belgrade. In 2000 Slobodan Miloševid resigned as president of Serbia and was charged with war crimes. I left for South Africa and my mother helped me pack. I was 27 when I arrived in South Africa.
Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jean Michel Basquiat all died at 27. I didn’t join the club.
To capture and describe my creative process is like putting music into words – something essential gets lost in translation. How can you record the emotional volume present in the art of listening?
Painting requires experience, dedication, boredom, excitement, dissatisfaction and an eye for possibilities. You have to acknowledge the past and at the same time retune the present without the fear of originality or influence. You have to enjoy the process of painting, playing with variety and assembling style.
I enjoy a visual ensemble that includes the figurative and the abstract, the organic and geometric, the obvious and the elusive. Put them all together and you get an eclectic remix where any one thing can be something else. A portrait can rise out of a still life, a still life can descend into a landscape, a finger is a toe and two legs, slightly parted, might be a whisper.
To make something is to sound its own purpose, its own existence.
“… And then I occasionally introduce forms which have no literal meaning whatsoever. Sometimes these are accidents which happen to suit my purpose, sometimes ‘rhymes’ which echo other forms, and sometimes rhythmical motifs which help to integrate a composition and give it movement… Objects don’t exist for me except insofar as a rapport exists between them or between them and myself.” (De Kooning)