A modern spectator who is well acquainted with 20th-century art production might think that determining a work of art on a basis of technique or medium is a matter of the past. Such opinion is not surprising if we remember several highly experimental ideas and movements that relativized the very notion of the medium and reduced it to the level of concept, which ultimately led to its annulment.
However, Viktor Popović began his career in the realm of painting and then developed towards experiments with the notion of space. In his recent works, an important aspect of his creative analysis has been the interference of spatial simulations and the plane of the paper, canvas, wood, or led surface.
The texture of the led plate inspired the series of works presented in this exhibition. The characteristics of the original led surface changed as the artist reacted to it by an applicating flesh-colored coat of paint. This new epidermis of the led plate was an adequate surface for printing memory on it by an artificial process of silk-screen printing of photographs. The artist took photographs during his visit to New York and then used them as figural shows in these works. The real space is filtered and the colors of the photographs are reduced to a single hue. Despite this, the space is still a firm representation of the linear perspective and the shortening caught by the artist’s camera. The problem of fictitious geometrical space is a focus of his critical inquiery.
The same problem of fictitious geometrical space was the essence of his previous cycle of so-called “spatial paintings”. The title itself provoked uncertainties in the process of perception because it was the plain that dominated and animated the wall surface on which the painting was hung. Despite the shadows in the underlayer, the spectator became aware of the fictitiousness of the space and reality of the composition of flat, seemingly open, geometric shapes, realizing that such shapes could not be transferred in three-dimensional.
Fictitiousness of geometrical space was the last instance of these paintings and its limits were stressed in red color.
Although these compositions might seem expressionless and calm, they are loaded with the artist’s rich experience. They continue a visual experiment started anew but do not necessarily break with “the previous”.
A cold led plate surface is enriched with an epidermis that can accept the figural representation. There is an interference in the painting manner and impersonal serigraphy evident in both layers. The realism is reduced by representations and the real space of the visit becomes an obvious memorial document. Since the spectator is aware of the plane activating line, the attempt of asserting the geometrical space fails. The spatial relationships are not forced on the spectator but rather lead his/her eye towards the original state of the led plate, making the process reversible.
Solo exhibition catalog preface
Gallery Galženica, Velika Gorica, Croatia April 30 – May 16, 2004