Lana Stojićević / ''Na/do/gradnja''
Lana Stojićević’s pronouncedly socially engaged artistic activity is usually inspired by problems and issues detected in her immediate environment, for instance, gender implications or ecological issues actively questioning preservation and sustainability of natural habitats, as well as responsible management of the public urban space. The artist’s interests are directed towards continuities of tradition and heritage constructs, however, not without a critical sensibility, especially if they reflect oppressive character of social conventions and depreciations. Despite being impregnated by criticism, her works sometimes breathe passionate “sweetness”. Such dichotomous impostation of the artist’s production is deliberate and in great measure provocative. These works can be irresistibly attractive and literally edible and tasty, as well as frightening in the moment when the discourse shifts from the symbolic space of a gallery into an actual one. Enticed by the phenomenon or practice of new and generically produced kitsch architecture, and competitively ambitious façade colours that often move into socially tagged feminine field, Lana Stojićević’s works warn about the final consequence, a hypertrophy of buildings constructed without communication and valid lines of discretion. It may be allowed to entertain oneself with a thought it is the affirmation of some kind of “hyper-postmodern” architectural pun, analogous to building residential conglomerates from differently coloured Lego bricks or piles of “edificatory” marzipan sweets. However, we are talking here about an architectural situation that is fragmentarily noted in reality and is not a mere consequence of a temporary simulation or a ludic procedure. And this is when the thing ceases to be funny.
Discourse framework of Lana Stojićević’s exhibition is a responsibility deficit recognised in the practice of (re)shaping space and urban landscapes, becoming an actual experience for every human walking through the streets of the cities and places alongside Adriatic coast, as well as in the country. Architectonic symbioses are almost mesmerising, at the same time funny and absurd, regardless of whether we are talking about a kind of traditional local architecture or typically socialist architecture whose original architectonic tissue is merged with contemporary, inadequate “prosthetics”. On this occasion it would be appropriate to mention British sociologist Chris Jenks and his effort to revitalise flâneur as the methodological figure exploring a city.[i] It may be possible to talk about alternative cartographies of specific places and documenting of remarkable “aesthetic” choreographies that should be spatially labelled and their focuses clearly interpreted, along with their expansion area. Such understanding of space would be interesting to a wider spectre of professionals who could add to the interpretation of the very same space through the use of their own analytic tools.
Furthermore, the domain of Lana Stojićević’s art intervention is not only gallery space, as space of immanently metaphorical discourse, but also the narrative space of the city, where the artist, at the very source, Diocletian Palace basements, simulates a potential touristic residential capacity unit designed to generate instant-profit and instant-consummation. Her artistic strategy is actually focused on battle for space and “inventing space”. This is particularly important not only in functional, but in aesthetic sense as well. For example, it is enough just to take a walk in the city of Split to easily recognise radical change in its appearance caused by tourism. All of its eligible spatial resources are adapted to new functions, changing the shape of the city. Even the smallest of those, for instance, simple, detached ground-level storage spaces have been aggressively transformed into places where tourists can temporarily stay for a fee. Lana Stojićević’s works offer a warning about these spatial constructs or, more precisely, “invented spaces”, as well as new – and not so marginal – (pseudo)architectonic aesthetics. They direct us towards active consideration of the current phenomenon and possible consequences these anomalies could have for the visual culture of any location, regardless of its size and complexity of its spatial structure.
[i] Chris Jenks: „Watching Your Step: The History and Practice of the Flâneur“, u Visual Culture (ed. Ch. Jenks), Zagreb: Jesenski i Turk and the Croatian Sociological Association, 203-228.
Lana Stojićević (Šibenik, 1989) graduated in painting from the Art Academy in Split in 2012, where she has been working as an external associate since 2015.
She realised a number of solo (SC Gallery, Museum of Fine Art Split, Kranjčar Gallery, Krševan Gallery, Contra Gallery, NMG@Praktika, AK Gallery…) and participated in many solo exhibitions in Croatia and abroad (THTnagrada@MSU.hr, Architecture in Contemporary Art, New East Photo Prize, Slavonia biennale, Your Country Does Not Exist, Almissa Open Art festival, Erste Fragments, Young Contemporary Photography: Different Worlds, Split Salon, Youth Salon…).
She won Metro Imaging / New East Photo Prize / Mentorship Award (Calvert 22 Foundation, London), Croatian Artists Association Best Young Artist yearly award in 2015, 2nd award at the Young Contemporary Photography: Different Worlds (Photon Gallery, Ljubljana), Erste Grand Prix, Rector’s and Dean’s award and Rovinj Heritage Museum 1st award. She was nominated for New East Photo Prize, Croatian Telecom and Radoslav Putar awards.