Site specific interventions

The artistic practice of Belgrade-born Ivana Ivkovic

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For the last eight years, Ivana Ivković has been living a very nomadic way of life. Her artistic career took off in 2005, and now she travels the world, observing intimate everyday reactions, and sensations towards specific cultural and historical landscapes and places. This is the starting point of Ivana’s direct, sometimes even painfully honest artistic endeavour. As a result, expressive, tender, and thought-provoking drawings appear, often combining images and textual statements, which are furthermore being transformed through other media – such as light installations, photography, tapestry or sculpture.

“Last year was exotic. I spent a couple of months in Morocco, deep in the Sahara desert near the Algerian border. The Artist in Residence Program took place in the Berber village of Tisardmine, next to one of two of the largest dunes in Sahara – Erg Chebbi. This small village consists of 11 family houses, 10 of them Berber and one Arab. People there are mostly nomads who spend the hot desert summers in the Atlas Mountains. The silence is absolute, surrounded only by the endless thought that you are all alone out there…”

After Morocco, Ivana travelled to India, at first visiting the north of the country, and then journeying through the Himalayas, from Kashmir to Ladakh, through the valleys and mountains.

“The greatness of the Himalayas is something that changes your life. I even experienced a very painful and risky bite from a Himalayan insect, but instilled my trust in a local guide who sucked my blood to clean my system from poisoning… This was very much a lesson about trust and faith. India teaches you many things, slowly but deeply. My residency site was in a West Bengal village near the border of Bangladesh. The studio was set in an amazing house with tropical gardens and with all sorts of exotic animals within it. I worked on a ready-made sculpture of collected objects from the area in which villagers mostly produce things from fibre glass. I exhibited works in Calcutta – a series of drawings and objects called ‘Dead By Nature’. I remember thinking that west Bengal looks like an impressionist painting during monsoon season. I think that India also taught me patience.”

“Last year was exotic. I spent a couple of months in Morocco, deep In the sahara desert near the Algerian border…”

61

This time last year meant winter in Toronto, Ohio and New York for Ivana, where she worked on a project of pop up exhibition events with her colleague from Brooklyn. “After a couple of very hard working months, we set up the show in a private villa in the historical Fieldstone Road in beautiful Riverdale. ‘Better Life’ was the name of a project, and all that we ever want!

“I really see New York City as my second home, very often staying with a friend in Harlem. I feel as though her apartment is my own, and I can work there, which is very important to me. Above all, I am in love with Harlem. Huge inspiration for my work comes from there. After a four-month long art residency at the Residency Unlimited organisation, I created an exhibition entitled ’61 Days in Harlem’.”

These works portrayed textual messages in the form of light boxes and aluminium objects, which Ivana collected every day for two months from advertising ads in subway trains.

“‘No Matter What, Tonight You Are Going Home’ was the main one, and tells a lot about nature of this city. Being in New York will guarantee you huge ups and downs for sure, but this place can definitely teach you many important things about life and work.”

“To be able to make any comments on the world outside through my works, I decided I needed to get to know the world better.”

82

After a successful New York opening, Ivana went to Andalusia with three girlfriends to shoot video footage for her new project, ‘No Country for Young Woman’, dealing with the issues of women in their late thirties.

“We took a road trip with my car, from Belgrade to Marbella, which was an amazing experience of that part of Mediterranean Europe. Andalusia has unforgettable landscape and cities that make you cry.

“I used to spend at least one month of every summer in a village in Serbia from which my family has roots. This summer I created a work about it – about my ambivalent feelings of dislocation and the need for belonging. ‘Stray’ is an installation of carpets which I collected from villagers’ houses.

I continued my summer at the sea coast of Montenegro, which was somehow a continuation of the project ‘Stray’, and ended up on the island of Crete where I spent September and October. The Crete experience was something special; living and working in the hills of Mountain Psiloritis, where actually Zeus was born. I had the opportunity to work in Byzantine churches and monasteries from the 12th-14th century and use them as my personal studio space. Here, I created a series of installations with the name ‘FIRE’; one strong word to describe the intense feeling of life on this magical island, being at the same time, a very organic and mysterious thing.”

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Some photos of the ‘FIRE’ project are currently on display in Gallery Fokianou 24/7 in Athens. After Crete, Ivana went to Beirut, where she is currently, and after many years of fantasising about the city, her wish to work and live there is finally coming true.

“This multilayered city is ideal to keep me on track with the project FIRE/s. I will try to give my impression and a comment on Beirut in the form of site-specific work – one very complex installation ‘Like There Is No Tomorrow’, which will be set on a rooftop of the local gas station.”

There is a strong and logical connection between Ivana’s journeys, her art, and her personal development.

47

“The huge need to travel around the globe was one of the most authentic feelings that I have ever recognised and followed… My whole artistic practice, as well as production of the works relaying to the nomadic structure of my life; to be able to make any comments on the world outside through my works, I decided I needed to get to

know the world better. Emotional and psychological subjects are in the base of my works, and by overcoming personal fears through changing surroundings, I become better in understanding the inner side of myself and other people as well.”

Captivatingly frank and yet often intensely private and self-reflexive, Ivana’s work is primarily based in the medium of drawing that she uses in a delicate and highly intuitive manner, overcoming the constrains of traditional objective representation in this discipline. Full of longing and very intimate in its exposure, the confrontational, playful, and occasionally ironic witty ambiences possess a subtle impact to displace the viewer into an ephemeral, yet powerful domain in which quiet recollections and familiar experiences are being provoked and intensified.

81

or the last eight years, Ivana Ivković has been living a very nomadic way of life. Her artistic career took off in 2005, and now she travels the world, observing intimate everyday reactions, and sensations towards specific cultural and historical landscapes and places. This is the starting point of Ivana’s direct, sometimes even painfully honest artistic endeavour. As a result, expressive, tender, and thought-provoking drawings appear, often combining images and textual statements, which are furthermore being transformed through other media – such as light installations, photography, tapestry or sculpture.

“Last year was exotic. I spent a couple of months in Morocco, deep in the Sahara desert near the algerian border. The Artist in Residence Program took place in the Berber village of Tisardmine, next to one of two of the largest dunes in Sahara – Erg Chebbi. This small village consists of 11 family houses, 10 of them Berber and one Arab. People there are mostly nomads who spend the hot desert summers in the Atlas Mountains. The silence is absolute, surrounded only by the endless thought that you are all alone out there…”

51

After Morocco, Ivana travelled to India, at first visiting the north of the country, and then journeying through the Himalayas, from Kashmir to Ladakh, through the valleys and mountains.

“The greatness of the Himalayas is something that changes your life. I even experienced a very painful and risky bite from a Himalayan insect, but instilled my trust in a local guide who sucked my blood to clean my system from poisoning… This was very much a lesson about trust and faith. India teaches you many things, slowly but deeply. My residency site was in a West Bengal village near the border of Bangladesh. The studio was set in an amazing house with tropical gardens and with all sorts of exotic animals within it. I worked on a ready-made sculpture of collected objects from the area in which villagers mostly produce things from fibre glass. I exhibited works in Calcutta – a series of drawings and objects called ‘Dead By Nature’. I remember thinking that west Bengal looks like an impressionist painting during monsoon season. I think that India also taught me patience.”

04-Ivkovic

This time last year meant winter in Toronto, Ohio and New York for Ivana, where she worked on a project of pop up exhibition events with her colleague from Brooklyn. “After a couple of very hard working months, we set up the show in a private villa in the historical Fieldstone Road in beautiful Riverdale. ‘Better Life’ was the name of a project, and all that we ever want!

“I really see New York City as my second home, very often staying with a friend in Harlem. I feel as though her apartment is my own, and I can work there, which is very important to me. Above all, I am in love with Harlem. Huge inspiration for my work comes from there. After a four-month long art residency at the Residency Unlimited organisation, I created an exhibition entitled ’61 Days in Harlem’.”

These works portrayed textual messages in the form of light boxes and aluminium objects, which Ivana collected every day for two months from advertising ads in subway trains.

“‘No Matter What, Tonight You Are Going Home’ was the main one, and tells a lot about nature of this city. Being in New York will guarantee you huge ups and downs for sure, but this place can definitely teach you many important things about life and work.”

02-Ivkovic

After a successful New York opening, Ivana went to Andalusia with three girlfriends to shoot video footage for her new project, ‘No Country for Young Woman’, dealing with the issues of women in their late thirties.

“We took a road trip with my car, from Belgrade to Marbella, which was an amazing experience of that part of Mediterranean Europe. Andalusia has unforgettable landscape and cities that make you cry.

08-Ivkovic

“I used to spend at least one month of every summer in a village in Serbia from which my family has roots. This summer I created a work about it – about my ambivalent feelings of dislocation and the need for belonging. ‘Stray’ is an installation of carpets which I collected from villagers’ houses.

73

I continued my summer at the sea coast of Montenegro, which was somehow a continuation of the project ‘Stray’, and ended up on the island of Crete where I spent September and October. The Crete experience was something special; living and working in the hills of Mountain Psiloritis, where actually Zeus was born. I had the opportunity to work in Byzantine churches and monasteries from the 12th-14th century and use them as my personal studio space. Here, I created a series of installations with the name ‘FIRE’; one strong word to describe the intense feeling of life on this magical island, being at the same time, a very organic and mysterious thing.”

50

Some photos of the ‘FIRE’ project are currently on display in Gallery Fokianou 24/7 in Athens. After Crete, Ivana went to Beirut, where she is currently, and after many years of fantasising about the city, her wish to work and live there is finally coming true.

“This multilayered city is ideal to keep me on track with the project FIRE/s. I will try to give my impression and a comment on Beirut in the form of site-specific work – one very complex installation ‘Like There Is No Tomorrow’, which will be set on a rooftop of the local gas station.”

There is a strong and logical connection between Ivana’s journeys, her art, and her personal development.

“India teaches you many things, slowly but deeply.”

46

“The huge need to travel around the globe was one of the most authentic feelings that I have ever recognised and followed… My whole artistic practice, as well as production of the works relaying to the nomadic structure of my life; to be able to make any comments on the world outside through my works, I decided I needed to get to know the world better. Emotional and psychological subjects are in the base of my works, and by overcoming personal fears through changing surroundings, I become better in understanding the inner side of myself and other people
as well.”

Captivatingly frank and yet often intensely private and self-reflexive, Ivana’s work is primarily based in the medium of drawing that she uses in a delicate and highly intuitive manner, overcoming the constrains of traditional objective representation in this discipline. Full of longing and very intimate in its exposure, the confrontational, playful, and occasionally ironic witty ambiences possess a subtle impact to displace the viewer into an ephemeral, yet powerful domain in which quiet recollections and familiar experiences are being provoked and intensified.

07-Ivkovic

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