press release

03.11.2023 – 05.02.2024
Opening: Friday, November 3 at 7 PM Location: The Salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art, 14 Pariska

Olivera Parlić Karajanković:
Exercises in Transience

Present on the art scene since the late 1990s, Olivera Parlić situates her artistic practice in the expanded field of sculpture, developing a recognizable visual language and a specific authorial poetics through working with various kinds of materials and exploring their qualitative-physical properties in the context of formal possibilities and interpretative-semantic potentials.

Olivera’s works, seen as a whole, can be considered in a reference range from the legacy of soft sculpture of the 1960s and 1970s to various approaches and strategies in dealing with objects in art throughout the twentieth century, primarily in connection with surrealist experiments involving the recontextualization of the object world, its association with subconscious content, and the creation of unexpected assemblages and strange alliances in the interpretation of immediate reality. In the practical part, the artist will be particularly interested in objects as well as non-standard sculptural materials (textiles, synthetic fibers, plastic and rubber compounds, structures of organic origin) whose properties allow for playing with form itself and a greater manipulativeness close to procedures and actions from everyday life such as household chores, handicrafts, manual labor, usually attributed to the intimacy of female culture. The selected objects and materials, often introduced into dichotomous relationships in Olivera’s sculptures, objects, and installations, function as associative-semantic triggers suggesting very personal but also broader collective affective states and feelings of instability, fragility, and tension as dominant experiences of today’s general social environment and micro-living. Olivera Parlić’s works are characterized by a pronounced tactility and a strong presence of the emotional as the primary cause of each artistic action, the necessity of every directed effort in relation to the object or material, which, thanks to her intervention, become forms for somatic manifestations, gender stereotypes, human behaviors, psychological processes, interpersonal communications… In this sense, it is important to consider the artist’s modes of presentation, spatial solutions, and the conceptualization of settings that always function like a kind of theater of objects, which, in their interrelationships or conflicts, further shape the substance of human stories, plots, dramas, that is, to which, according to the artist herself, she assigns the role “to speak in the language of existence in place of us.”

The series of the latest works to be presented at the Salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art is a continuation of Olivera’s contemplation of the sculptural medium through further exploration of the visual and formal characteristics of materials and their expressive capacities to be carriers of conceptual and symbolic activations, either independently or in synergies of their attributed values, origins, and purposes. This time, the artist’s thoughts revolve around the theme of endurance as a measure of the resistance of the (non-)living world to the intensity of time and circumstances transposed into forms whose constituent elements and structures, in the configuration of the relationship between softness and solidity, permanence and porosity, open intriguing visual situations to the observer constituted by the mutual influences of the laws of natural forces and social inscriptions. Hardened and patinated still lifes, ossified emblems, and withered religious-ritual objects, brittle extremities of gigantic shapes, dysfunctional barriers, and concealed purposes, the artist actually presents as an overarching metaphor about the impermanence, ephemerality, and temporariness of the manifest appearances, about the inevitable transience and perishability of everything, from material to meaning.

Olivera Parlić Karajanković (Belgrade, 1971) completed her studies in sculpture at the Faculty of Fine Arts (FFA) in Belgrade in 1997 and obtained her master’s degree at the same faculty in 2000. She defended her doctoral artistic project, Eros of Impossible Encounters, Sculptural Forms of Achieved Feelings, in 2014 at the FFA in Belgrade. Since 2005, she has been working as an assistant at the Sculpture Department of the FFA in Belgrade, currently holding the title of full professor. She has exhibited since 1997, both nationally and internationally. Besides numerous solo shows, she also exhibited at the October Salon in Belgrade in 2003 and 2005. She participated in the project (Out) of the Institute for Art in Public Spaces in Styria, Graz, Austria, within the framework of the Styrian Autumn in 2009. In 2017, as part of the Voyage – Journey Through Serbian Contemporary Art exhibition, she presented her work at the China Art Museum in Shanghai. She has taken part in artistic residency programs in Ečka and Jalovik, the International Art Colony Terra in Kikinda, AIR Hotel Pupik in Austria, Sculpture Colony Ada at Ada Ciganlija, art colonies Sićevo and Vlasina, as well as the Marble and Sounds Festival. She has a sculpture, Čun-Pun, installed in the public space at Ada Ciganlija. She is the recipient of the Faculty of Fine Arts Award for Portraiture and the “Sreten Stojanović, Sculptor” award. A significant part of her artistic engagement was within the Independent Art Association Third Belgrade, from its establishment in 2010 until its closure.

Exhibition Curator: Miroslav Karić