exhibition views at Rita Urso artopiagallery, Milan
September 25 - December 13, 2023
Photo by Flavia Scirè
Author of a complex work with various stylistic, formal and content levels, Tomašević masters different languages with rare simplicity and formal expertise. Human existence and the search for its hidden meanings, the difficulties and psychological problems associated with living conditions in Western societies, the overturning of places of affection in mental prisons, and horror vacui are recurring themes in Jelena Tomašević’s artistic research .
The theme of memory, in the large Mixed memories (2019) installation (already exhibited at the National Museum of Montenegro, in Cetinje, in 2019) presented on the first floor of the gallery, is grafted without any friction on the artist’s obsessions concerning the human condition. This installation consists of two parts: on one hand, a series of drawings on paper, pervaded by a sometimes claustrophobic, sometimes suspended, dreamlike dimension, traces a line that runs along the walls of the gallery; on the other hand, a white wunderkammer contains sculptures and short stories by people of various backgrounds, all coming from countries of the former Yugoslavia. Personal memories intertwined with historical episodes, against the background of the war that shattered the Balkan country. The contents of Tomašević’s work, based on a specific cultural panorama of her country, thanks to the spontaneous choral nature of the work, cease to be relevant only for that portion of the world and become of truly global interest. On the second floor of the gallery another installation, entitled Guilty Knowledge (2019), takes up the themes of reminiscence and collective memory. The artist reflects on how the perpetual flow of information and the involuntary servitude to the media and political system are used to confuse the perception of citizens, who become increasingly unable to distinguish the important from the trivial. The work consists of a variegated assemblage of commonly used objects, a device that tends loudly to reproduce the perceptive chaos of the contemporary.
Jelena Tomašević (Podgorica, 1974) lives and works in Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. She graduated from the school of fine arts in Cetijie, Montenegro. Her work has been shown in several museums: the Kunstalle Fredricianum, Kassel, Germany, Center for Contemporary Art Podgorica, Montenegro, National Museum of Montenegro, Whitebox Art Center New York, USA, the 9th International Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey. She also represented Montenegro/Serbia at the 51st Venice Biennal. In 2017, she won the 23rd edition of the Onufri Prize, National Art Gallery Tirana, Albania, curated by Gaetano Centrone.