Exhibition "At home"

At home

"Memory, identity and a disturbing nature are recurring themes in the recent work of Ivana Bukovac, cited by the artist herself as the subject of her current exhibition. The motives are interdependet: the search for identity by an artist like Bukovac, who has been living outside her native land for years, must obviously be confirmed in a memory at the same time both individual and collective, which lead her to focus more objectively on situations and events of a recent or more remote past, effective for facing the present and the future. The disturbing nature is surely determined by the memory of a difficult and often dramatic past where people who have lived trough such experiences have often ruthlessy and violenty clashed, where the survivors in apperantly constantly changing geopolitics, which have shaped the entire Balkan area, still bear scars and wounds.

Actually, the magnificent area that lies on the other Adriatic Coast opposite the Italian one, advancing frome Greece and Albania until what was the former Austro-Hungarian Empire towards Bosnia and Bulgaria, has historically represented a fundamental cultural melting pot and exchange for Europe, which can still today be summarized in the spreading of the three most widespread religions in the area, from Christianity to Greek Ortodox to Islam. 

This would obviously entail more in-depth considerations on the origins of these cultures destined to a constant and fruitful  exchange, still very present today, between the east and the west. Quite fitting, therefore, is the maximum carved in the central part of the floor of the emblematic Venetian church Santa Maria della Salute, unde origo inde salus- from the origin comes salvation-which takes on an anthropological value of a palliative kind.

The latin phrase is useful in deciphering the exact code of Ivana Bukovac's current work, aimed at recovering, through refined and cultured paintings, as well as her installations specifically conceived of Spazi Officina, the sense of a childhood lived side by side with woman warriors and solid female figures, original models now wearing the clothes of the partisan militia, now represented in the most elegant traditional Serbian dress, richly decorated with embroidery and lace. Particular and valuable aspects of which this tradition, together with the refined carpets also cited in her paintings, has been an exemplary producer. Ivana Bukovac's skilful painting frames the image among the archaic symbols she proves to know so well and wants to cite in this context. Moreover in her case, the use of frontal portraits, which strongly recall, in a contemporary and formal way, the ancient icons of Byzantine tradition so dear, for example, through proposed in different colours, to Malevic, far from the Avant-garde rage and precisely before, yet also after, the "Black square on the white" where he shifted away from representation, which, in facts, he was never able to do away with. Bukovac uses warm, captivating colours, extended over lines of a drawing our artist shows to master and which, under the overlapping measured brushstrokes, we are no longer able to perceive, unless we study it carefully. 

The tonal passages are interesting, mediated by a scrupulous assimilation of Veneto painting, almost thorough, in her case, through the reference to the decisive Flemish influence, we can see a striking interest in "detail", In fact, if you compare the definition of certain details, such as the ones so meticulously outlined in embroidery and lace, you can more easily appreciate those associations that make her painting more precise and refined. Nevertheless, Ivana Bukovac does not limit herself to reducing her search in a mere pictorial interpretation, and as a demonstration that the contents, the ideas bearing her message are more important than the media and the forms used to express them, she accompanies the exhibit with a series of original drawings that represent the more immediate writing of her thoughts, to installations in which she turns to preciously treated industrial fibreglass-reinforced plastic, similar to the antique glassblowing techniques of Murano, to create prototypes of the typical slippers she used to wear as a child in her native land, showing she wants to note again the strong tie between past and present and in the move to Venice, between cultures, so essential and complementary for her.

The artist crowns her first personal exhibit with works created in crochet warp where she assembles locks of different people's hair, giving this piece a ritual conception that is almost magical-cultural, trying to underline in their possession a strong sense of belonging and of memories that are interwoven, in the end tracing back to the essence of a unique and fundamental memory. Thus the artist closes the circle of the current exhibit reconnecting, yet again however, to the value already stated and implicit in her paintings, steeped in a similar, open and enthralling poetic dimension. "

Saverio Simi de Burgis