City museum Križevci,
26 october, 2012.
Branka Hlevnjak, listopad 2012.
Chaos in buduar,
The usual analysis and interpretation of Nada Žiljak's IRA paintings does not produce any overall result. Therefore, the debate on IRA paintings painted by Nada Žiljak, who is still the only artist engaged in this kind of creative research, must be brought to a a new level with elements chosen in a different way if compared with what has been done, up till now in the standard dual-picture analysis. The chosen elements are M (material manifested through the background and colorant type), followed by V image (the visible spectrum image) and then the Z image (invisible spectrum), linked by the picture's name. Different in respect to the modern practice that has introduced the custom of no-name (No-name picture) in order to stress the absence of motif, the IRA picture now has the name/title as the most important element. Even more so, this title becomes complex and means additional engagement for the painter as it is the basic link between the MVZ elements.
Resembling a modern manager, conscious of the fact that the picture's title holds the impulse for the viewer's interaction with the picture, Nada Žiljak creates special names for each IRA painting. The comparison to crime story titles does have its reasons because the IRA painting is created on basis of a similar system: the process of detection has been promoted to be of major importance. The result is predictable (suggested with the word bludoar), the story is evident in the V painting of chaos, but the path to revelation is obligatory where the crime story fan participates with zeal, and for the first time IRA viewers get the chance to have a similar visual/non-visual adventure. Of course, this is about manipulating with curiosity, but it is also its encouragement, as well as a development that is elementary in the overall area of discovery, and is, therefore, a positive element in provoking IRA painting viewers curiosity.
Examples for certain kinds of voyeurism exist in multimedia installations, namely in those setups where the video is hidden from the viewers, with only a small hole left for viewing. However, in such cases curiosity is exhausted in exactly the opposite manner if compared to the one in viewing IRA paintings. The old-fashioned way of peeping through the key-hole or through curtains is in contrast to the video-projection dependent on high technology. On the contrary, with IRA paintings the classical easel is researched with contemporary high technology tools.
It is important to stress that the process of revealing an IRA picture is interactive. An easel painting is static, whereas the viewer must take several steps in order to reveal the secret contained in the IRA painting title. Excitement is objectively aroused by learning that there is such a secret in the V painting; it grows with the process that lies ahead in order to reveal the secret, and it culminates with the discovery of the new Z picture. By itself, the revealing of the secret is a process that requires a certain effort on behalf of the viewer. For this interaction it is essential to set up obstructions producing full effect: the pleasure in revealing and the pleasure of revelation. With no obstacles there is no pleasure, nor is there interaction between the viewer and the painting. This is why it is necessary to have the Z image.
And so for the first time in modern painting history we can speak of a new painting genre. It can be compared to the complex comics of the Incas or Mayas with South American totems, but only at the level of initial admiration of the secret, searching for the manner in which to reveal it (decode it), and to comprehend it completely. High technology tools are used in the decoding process in order to reveal the contemporary IRA painting and to comprehend it in full. By comprehending what lies hidden between the V and Z picture the quest turns into pleasure. Painting gallery visitors are motivated to view paintings in a new way. They are personally involved in a work of art and its revelation.
The abstract V painting chaos that is a pleasure to view as early as at the first level because it provokes various associations is in fact insufficient for the contemporary public yearning for adrenalism. It looks for action and finds it in the process of revealing (peeps through special eye-glasses, looks through special cameras), and feels the pleasure of revelation. This is why the Z picture is necessary. It creates a new genre in the art of painting, and it makes way for a new experience in the galleries. In quite an original way it takes over and processes the dominant system of making exciting films/clips, books, performances.
An everything remains at the level of high art. Both the V picture and the Z picture contain visual and aesthetic values. In the apparent chaos of dosed abstraction Nada Žiljak hides her budoars, skillful in drawing, lovely in manner (when it comes to the girls), intriguing in contents. Whatever the artist had to hide in the IRA paintings on this occasion, she has had her conscious and unconscious reasons. Favoring motifs of love, masks and erotic fantasies, she has opened the area where it is possible to show two different states at the same time.
„Smooth sailing, a pastoral, but with a storm in one's soul“, could be an adequate description of the artist and her most recent cycle of works produced in accordance with a mysterious image system.
Branka Hlevnjak, listopad 2012.