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

Exhibition "The wall of memory", Atrium Gallery Belgrade City Library

"lvana Bukovac, who graduated from the academy of fine arts in Venice painting department, under profesor Carlo di Raco from 23th september to 10th october, she had a solo exhibition of paintings ,"Wall of recollection", at the Atrium the library of the Belgrade city, where she presented her latest works, 19 Oil paintings, large, medium and small size and 3 exhibits in glass cases (works or’ braided hair of different people and one work — clogs in acrylic and brass).

Ivana Bukovac was born in Krusevac,in Serbia, and lives and works in ltaly. She had exhibited in the numerous group exhibitions abroad and 3 solo exhibitions in Italy and she won first prize at the international competition in Gorica. In the library of the Belgrade city, author was first exhibited in Belgrade she was presented with female portraits in which the frontal painted women colorful traditional costumes, rich expressive color palette of warm colors. Folk costume on her paintings is explored on painting way to the smallest details which is especially noticeable on a colorful, filigree to the details on the white lace and jewelry.

The exhibition offered a lot of interest and best praise and compliments for the excellent setting of many visitors of the Atrium gallery. She was media well noticed and followed. For this exhibition, Ivana Bukovac, has appeared as an author 3 times on television: on Radio television Serbia— "Beocult" from the culture, "Serbia online”, morning show of television ,"Studio B". She had remarkable interview in the daily newspaper, "Politics", "Blic” and "Blic women". "

Ivanka Lazovic, curator of the exhibition

Exhibition "Nameless" Gallery of the Culture Center City

"Nameless" (srb: Bezimena) a special multimedia exhibition of her latest work is a result of an artistic research of the individual identity and its fragile nature. 

Individual identity can be observed as an entity built by various elements, those concerning persons inner being, but also the ones dictated by the environment. 

Bukovac is successfully visualizing that entity by creating enigmatic portraits which both can suggest and negate ethic and gender identity trough the elements of folklore costumes and undefined facial features, which can seem familiar but are not completely defined in the paintings. Besides the paintings, the collision of identities is presented trough a very interesting artistic object, done in a very traditional technique but with a very untradtional material instead, which must be surprise until the opening night, but is literally connected to one's identity.

The sound of the audio installation, realized in collaboration with the experimental musician Dejan Subotić, which in the style of roll-call participates in the process of destabilization and negation of identity, suggests possible answers that still resist the ambiguous nature of the image, symbolizing the struggle within oneself, and the difficult creation and design of the individual identity."

Culture Center City, Belgrade, Serbia.

The Luxury of Serbian traditional costume

"We present ourselves and recognize each other with traditional costume. It is the witness of history, speaks of customs of a nation, area and epoch, and when the rich tradition such as Serbian is found on canvas, it sends us back in time and reminds us of who we are. The young painter, Ivana Bukovac, was born in Krusevac. She lives and works in Italy. She presented her work to the audience back home, for the first time with a series of portraits that show luxury, colorfulness and customs of Serbian people in the 19th and 20th century.

Nineteen paintings (oil on canvas) present women in traditional costumes. The still faces are decorated with colorful scarves, lace, embroidery, jewelry and details which indicate social class and geographical area.

When you live far away, you become nostalgic for your homeland. These portraits illustrate our collective memory, indicate the social status of a Serbian woman, as well as the culture and tradition we nurture, Ivana Bukovac explained. The exhibition will be open until October 10th . "


Copyright: Publishing House Politika, Belgrade, Serbia.

The original text in the serbian language: The Luxury of Serbian traditional costume .