Milan Stašević

In the series of new paintings by Milan Stašević– always in the same format, always on a background of newsprint, always with a border of white canvas – there is one painting which is different, one which seems to contain all the other paintings in essence. It is not even actually a painting, but a collecting point, a repertory of all possible models ( sketches, jottings, collages, photos, illustrations from art history books) which preceded the creation of this cycle of paintings, of everything that has been built into them ( not simply transferred, not just magnified ), but significantly reworked, subjected to a different order, to a special procedure of picture production. And this procedure, or, rather, the concept of creation of this type of painting is the following: the history of art –from ancient times until nearly the present-is a huge polygon, a fund, a reserve,an inventory of a countless multitude of representations, images, signs, shapes, visual handwritings which the modern artist is free to use legitimately, which are for him the mental and imaginative space in which he unavoidably moves, just as the artist once used to move (if it ever was truly so) through the world of his surrounding object reality.

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The procedures which constitute the metalinguistic operations of typical postmodern artistic strategies have been determined: quotation, repetition with variations, copying down, adding to and rewriting of text( discursive or visual ); copies and plagiarism are not excluded. The modern myth of the originality of art at any price is radically questioned here, but the artist still has an obligation to find a justification for any such procedures, to interpret them in a way which may be his own. Stašević has found his way in regularly using as the background-the foundation-of his paintings newsprint which he prepares using a special technique. He then inscribes on this background images/signs which have their origin in the history of art; this origin remains quite evident, easily recognizable, but still selective, always adapted to the reasons or affinities of a personal choice. Whoever wishes to investigate the origin of the images/signs in these paintings will find among them a range stretching from prehistoric drawings and archeological artifacts, through capital models of Renaissance painting, up to modern classics, such as Klée and Miró, who initiated the use of pictograms and ideograms in 20th century art. From this repertory of images/signs applied with equality to the planar surface of the painting, the idea or consciousness of the notion of time which does not obey the diachronic order of the previous and the subsequent can be read; this idea speaks of the decentered order of data as of a symbolic representation of the breakdown of formerly established hierarchies of great systems and styles. What is presented here instead is a simultaneity and fundamental equality in value of extremely different and varying codes, offered to the modern artist by the history of art and the history of culture not only as personal, but also as collective memory. And this painter will connect, intersperse and mix this memory with news from everyday chronicle of life recorded by the ephemeral daily press, producing from these possible and impossible links and indivisible semantic conglomerate, which as such reveals the chaotic and magma-like state of consciousness in an age and world of fundamentally shifted parameters.

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A painting arising out of such procedures and such a state of consciousness appears as a sort of palimpsest, as handwriting whose external and recent layer is transparent, but does not allow us to see quite clearly the previous notation, creating thus a hermetic writing whose content it is impossible to reconstruct in detail, although its meaning can be understood in its basic postulates. And the postulates on which this painting is based are those which point to some typical postmodernist strategies: deconstruction, decentering, irreducibility, incompatibility, metatextuality, dissemination, simulation…

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The image is a visual fact and the product of visual imagination; it is not now-and never was-the transcript of some philosophic or literary idea, but corresponds with philosophy and literature simply because the image is another text among all the texts which together and jointly, though in different areas of symbolic mediation, mark and express the extremely heterogeneous and contradictory spirit of the epoch.

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                                                                                                Ješa  Denegri