Tonka Jelača Marijančević / Architecture of the Sky
A man’s inborn need to come into contact with cosmic forces keeps him constantly moving and exploring the world around him. The effort to achieve spiritual and intellectual order directs the individual to exploring their own internal world and making contact with the often suppressed, primordial “I”. By opening to ourselves, we open up to one another and we establish inner harmony, as well as harmony with the environment in which we live.
The natural sensation of the world around her inspired Tonka Jelača Marijančević to create her own universe filled with a variety of organic creations that, with their unusual forms, remind us of primordial beings and luring us by their unquestionable beauty, causing admiration at the same time. Tonka interprets the variety and richness of the world around us by creating an ambient installation built from a series of rich elaborate forms characterized by intuitive volume building. The artist creates sculptures of different dimensions following the natural potential of the chosen material, so the minimal interventions on the stone, wood or brick act as a natural extension of the shaped object. On the more massive pieces of natural wood we can recognize fragile shapes with abundance of tiny details which remind of tentacles, antennae, petals and pestles, and they awake the fruitful, organic and birth-giving in nature. Using wood, metal, stone, terracotta, cotton maché and wire, Tonka Jelača Marijančević shapes her own world of underwater nature, forests and mountains embroidered in a celestial shroud. The wondrous world of beauty and pure joy represents the abundance and change of everything around us.
Each sculpture is alive and embodies the movement and energy that defines its unique character. The dominant earth tones entwined with heavenly white, the variety of smooth, rugged and fuzzy textures and the richness of crumpled, bent, curved, disheveled and encapsulated shapes invite us to look at them closely and to peek inside. The organic shapes with their naturally formed creases and rim positions, whose slopes appear to be shaped by the influence of wind, rain and water, point to the fragility of nature, and require observers to fully respect the delicate and sensitive forms – both artistic and natural.
Light, smell and sound contribute to the complete experience of the primal energy of the world that Tonka places in the invisible layer of the celestial sphere. The choice of the spiritual area or the area of invisible, immaterial and ideal was naturally imposed for the manifestation of the artist’s world full of vitality, etheric energy and diversity. Although the forms are rather diverse and rich, they come out as extremely subtle, and, with their spirituality and imagination, they emphasize the elementary – truth, love and wisdom. The newly shaped forms are becoming a part of the magical world of Tonka Jelača Marijančević, a world that truly embraces emotion.The element of joy and lightness points to what is good in a being, and it is symbolized by light. Truth, peace and light are united in a symbolic sculpture of a spiral, reflecting the universal form of growth and development. The spiral, as the beginning of a cycle, represents the guideline and the primeval in nature, and it interprets the artist’s vision and feeling of our universe.
Tonka Jelača Marijančević recognizes, accepts and celebrates the beauty, intrigue and magic of life through the richness and variety of shapes, while, with her recognizable handwriting of extraordinary emotion, creates an intimate cycle of her own sky.
Sonja Švec Španjol, mag.hist.art.
Born in 1965 in Supetar, on the island of Brač. Her career as an artist begins spreading it’s roots in her enrollment to the High School of Fine Arts in Split. By 1983 she finished her secondary education and enrolls into the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo, Bosnia; a Sculptor under the mentorship of professor Alija Kučković, finally, graduating in 1987.
By the year of 2000 she attends and finishes the necessary extra courses required in order to cement her career as a professor; after which she returns to the very same high school she graduated from not so long ago, and begins her own lectures into the fine nuances of sculpting and modelling.
Her primary means of construction and expression is laminated cotton but frequently extends her modus operandi, breaching into such mediums as wood, metal and wire. Alongside her husband, within their shared studio, she produces graphical etchings and prints by means of the drypoint technique.