T E X T S
- Head of Exhibitions at
The Third Line Art Gallery
“The work of Milan Markovic is one of inherent conflict. His concern with the relationship, both spiritual and physical, between black and white create a palpable encounter on each of the canvases he paints.
Using the technique of drip-painting, it is as though his paintings have a life of their own, allowing for the black or white paint to progress, submerge, or retract, when coming into contact with one another.
The result leaves the viewer with an intricate and complex cartography of this duel, where this otherwise binary association of colours comes together as one. Each composition is of pure abstraction, and yet Markovic creates a multitude of narratives and interpretations which are visceral and deeply rooted in the historical understanding of light and dark, black and white.”
London-based writer and curator of contemporary, modern, and émigré art.
Interested in duality of the natural dynamics opposed to willful action, Milan Marković followed the principle and practice of experimental improvisation that led him towards the rich tradition of painterly engagement with gestural abstraction, providing a prism for his inner world. With his viscous, dynamic works the artist explores strong opposing forces: light and darkness, being and non-being, primitive and spiritual, Eastern minimalism and spontaneity combined with the non-linear action and expression of Western painting. The recurrent dynamics of his canvases convey simplicity of force and movement through vigorous sweeps of paint, their visual and sensory syntax reduced to the strongest graphic elements. Elementally assertive, they have no discernible narrative, and yet they are professed explorations of his personal universe. Each painting is a demonstration of energy by means of which it came into being, or, as El Lissitzky proposed in 1924, “a work is a stopping-place on the road of becoming”.
Vital materiality of Marković’s art reached its nadir in his black paintings, where splatters, drips, diffusions and flows of changing density lent the merest hint of structure to the powerful cascades of darkness. The monochrome allowed significant physical and psychological depth on the flat exposed surface, providing a temporary loss of self or a detox from all meaning, after which followed a slow return to light, a construction of newfound luminosity through a spatial and structural battle via every fibre of canvas or a gritty particle that reflects or soaks the light. In the recent series of blue-white works, Caelum, the artist wins back his inner freedom, not through formalist means but through increasingly vibrant imprints and sheddings of energy, becoming a living register of Heidegger’s ‘being-in-the-world’, regenerating and recreating a new origin through creation.
—London, June 2020.
- Syart Gallery manager & Art Curator
Milan Markovic, self-taught artist and strongly attracted by abstract expressionist research. His analysis focuses on informal declinations that can be ascribed in more than one series, whose medium is represented by a continuous attention to the connection between opposites.
Light and darkness are the basis of his reflections and studies, the results of which are translated into drips of colour on black and white canvas, passing through investigations with natural leaves, up to recent works in which he experiments on square canvases in white and blue, in a series entitled "Caelum", the theme dear to him of duality as an essential part of man and nature itself.
A theoretical and practical research in which he deepens the theme of the alternation of light and darkness, understood not only as a natural phenomenon but philosophically investigated and apparently a synthesis of an alternation which in reality for the artist represents a unique part of the whole. To an attentive and illuminated viewer, white and blue will appear as parts of a whole, just as there is no substantial separation between life and death. In the time of a canvas, a dance involves the spectator. Between full and empty, pause and restart, the darkness is unhinged and one is elected to the light. Markovic's work is dynamic and changeable, a connection and synthesis of life and death.
Маја Vuković Biserko
Curator of cultural center of Obernovac and art historian.
Review of the Millan Markovic`s solo exhibition SOLUM/ CAELUM
"From Death of the Author to the Great Leap Into the Sky"
Exhibition SOLUM/ CAELUM in an exhibition space at the House of King Peter I represents a very complex and strategically designed exhibition system that can be interpreted in different ways. I will try to make one of them in further text.
The author presents his artistic research and production from the past few years, through two main series of paintings, the black and white series/ SOLUM and blue and white/ CAELUM. Milan also introduced digital art and virtual reality technology into his works, which are presented in the basement of the Gallery, where the journey through the exhibition starts.
The first step into the basement involves you in a mysterious and intense space, still remaining of the period when the building was made, more than one hundred years ago. The old furnace as the resemblance of the past times gives you a notion of horrific scenography. But the artworks are opposite to the ambient, there is a QR code with the title “Scan me to see the future” and more than ten small square black and white geometrical abstract prints.
When you scan a QR code and look at the digital artworks through your mobile camera, you see three-dimensional human skulls in different shades and colors from white to black, and different angles, that are easily moving to your face, or position in space. Those skulls reminded me of the famous artwork “Ambassadors” painted by Hans Holbein the Younger, were in the front of the ambassadors almost threatening the “floats” curve surface that, looking at the picture from the right corner represents the human skull. The skull is always a symbol of death and resemblance of time flow and our final determination and destination.
The other artwork placed in the basement is the VR work that shocked me. When I put on the VR helmet and looked through it I saw a dead author, Milan, lying on a table in a morgue, with a white bandage on his eyes, dressed in a black suit. The “Rosemary’s Lullaby”, also called “Sleep Safe and Warm” from headphones was calming, but the presentation of the dead body in combination with the sound caused many emotions, from the first shock to true sadness.
Here death is a dominant motif and my opinion is that the artist was seeking motifs that were supposed to be just a little bit shocking to the viewers. On the other hand, this spatial installation is the logical outcome of artistic research that Milan has done in the past few years.
The first level of the exhibition, the Death theme installation, can be interpreted in different ways, as an exploration of possibilities of digital technologies and Virtual Reality in art, but with a strong and focused narrative of death and human determination. Also, there is a possible interpretation considering Roland Bartes famous essay, The Death of The Author, which signifies that the death of the author is the birth of the reader or viewer of the artwork.