Gordana Olujic – soft stitch that moves hard

November 25, 2008

If you saw a composition of yarn with stapler filling and nothing got broken, then you stumbled upon amazing art by Gordana Olujic. The dynamic balance of fragility and brutality in the use of material corresponds to the ambivalence of the spirituality and emptiness or cruelty of living as the central idea of Olujic’s artwork.

Only time will tell

Gordana Olujic mediates all the essentials of life, like memory, love, fantasy, friendships, good and evil, in a shape of metaphors compressed into charming windows of beautiful figures and objects. At first sight you are filled with joy and ease, but than you start to wonder about some unexpected details like the line of text at the bottom, a strange juxtaposition of objects, the clash of materials, the title…

I had a doll

Combining textile with other different media, Serbian-origin-Canadian-based artist Gordana Olujic explores how personal memories reveal something more than our own history. After finishing Faculty for Applied Arts in Belgrade, she moved to London to finally settle in Toronto. With many national and international exhibitions behind, including the biggest and oldest show of Art Textiles in the world – 12th International Triennial of Tapestry in Lodz, Poland, Gordana Olujic entered permanent collection of the Cambridge Galleries, Cambridge, Ontario, as well as the Central Museum of Textiles in Lodz.

Deena and Goga

Drawing on old family photo albums, told stories, childhood trips but also on the unfailing sources of personal imagination Olujic moves away from sketching the concrete contemporary moment in order to establish the parallel world reduced of redundancy.

It doesn’t matter any more

‘Like a precious drop of water’ is a drawing made of thread, showing hands in a gesture of holding in a gentle and touching way. But, there is another series named ‘And yet’ that is quite a shock; it’s not easy to hold something ‘like a precious drop of water’, on the contrary it can cause pain and suffering, but the hands are still holding. Red yarn that filled the drawing is additionally fixed with stapler – it’s a physical and psychological suggestion that blinks in your brain like an alarm.

Like a precious drop of water; And yet

I automatically thought of parenthood, personal ambitions and dreams, but than all the other huge mythologies came to my mind, the danger of fanaticism, the traps of ‘be careful what you wish for’… Olujic triggered the whole chain of images and emotions just by one ‘simple’ element; she’s the master of complex reduction!

When I think of you

‘When I think of you’ that floats on the surface of the soup bowl so vividly and profoundly illustrates the beauty of living with somebody. Although, Olujic didn’t actually stopped on that; she might be all rosy at glimpse, just to soften you, and than she hits you right between the eyes.

When I think of you

Another part of Olujic’s work deals with private moments, seen from the huge temporal and spatial distance. Maybe the process reveals something of Marc Shagall, the scent of home and childhood, although the aesthetics is completely different. The motif of lamb would suggest a little farm girl, but the compositions do not only reveal Olujic’s personal history, but the very character of socialistic Yugoslavia when city dwellers traveled on weekends to grandparents on land to bring some homemade food.

It was a strawberry season when I had a lamb

The first thing you feel while seeing artworks of Gordana Olujic is warmth, gentleness and joy. This is the first step of her articulation of the world’s phenomena that encompass all the complexity of relations and emotions; it is a preparation for the reality that kicks you from behind, but, what is most important, the hope for something nicer that will surely come.

(Ivana Podnar is guest blogger on Personal Cyber Botanica…)

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