Creating in textile usually starts with traditional education, learning all kinds of strict procedures, characters of textile, materials and their qualities; but as every good artists, Biljana Roman escaped all these rules and found her very individualistic expression: three-dimensional tapestries shaped like dome, fibre structures that weightlessly float in the air or hang like a filling without a warp… She’s a truly special weaving lady who’s skilled to wrap you around the finger on a very first sight.
Her beautiful miniature pillows are the perfect example how the secret formula actually works. On the surface of only 10 square centimeters Biljana Roman summarized all the layers and complexities of her specific language. Through a number of transparent skins she used different twisted threads, silk yarns, wad that are sewed together, one atop the other or in a sequence, forming extremely gentle composition were everything is visible but interwoven. And while you’re following the elaborate lines, you find yourself caught up within those fine fibers; you just cannot stop exploring although it’s a doll’s size.
The same goes for the shells where the softness of pillows gives place to the firm structure; by wrapping thin threads into thicker ropes to build a solid form out of small and fragile parts, Biljana actually reflects upon the process that birds use to construct their nests. The material has many options, but it is the intuition and creative mind that can reinterpret nature’s acts on such a special way.
Biljana Roman expressed herself in a number of media. Although graduated from the Faculty of Applied Arts, department of Textile design in Belgrade, she has published illustrations in newspapers and children magazines, illustrated books, made sceneries for children shows. Those experiences made it possible to think primarily on the visual and tactile level and to test all the options one media could have.
The radical result of such a position is Biljana’s tapestry that is only that by the name – there is no warp and filling, there is no weight hanging in two dimensions from the wall. Instead, there is a fantastic floating structure whose threads form a gentle fluffy shape that resemble some exotic sea anemone.
The subversion of traditional vocabulary is total, and its impact is magnificent: not only is this the step into space without gravities, but into space of pure visual fantasy. You are not sure what exactly holds these fibers together, until you come very close – then you see the same minute, precise, persistent and detailed work that Biljana tested before in her miniatures.
The structural tapestry, shaped like a textile, three-dimensional dome, follows the same principle, although dark colors, thick threads and rugged surface suggest completely different aesthetics. But what I find crucial is Biljana’s unifying experimental approach.
Variations in red could be perceived like an abstract game of beautiful shades that float in the transparent or semitransparent superposition. But, they are certainly not only that; on closer perception one can see, again, the structure that is beyond the rules and on the edge of sustainability.
This spiritual effect, the sense of transcendental Biljana Roman developed in significantly different manner this autumn at the Balkan Fibre Art colony, where she produced a composition Multiplication that consists of four pairs of figures. Figures are made of rope, each one of specific kind of rope shaped with specific pattern. These patterns are like skins, bearing individualistic characteristics, and although they multiple, they always turn out dissimilar from the prior one. In the context of creative process, we cannot escape experiment, but in the context of content, we go back to Biljana’s experience with illustrations, stage design, and the entire narrative heritage she so far collected.
Biljana Roman explores the potential of material, goes to the very core of substance and than re-examines the construction logic; but she also questions the meaning of shapes and colors, finding challenges in the dance on the edge.
Related links: A Different View By Nena Skoko, Balkan Fiber Art – gallery I, Sunshine Through Lace – Anda Klancic’s Delicate Touch, Gordana Olujic – Soft Stich That Moves Hard, Silja Puranen’s Strong Art, Balkan Fiber Art – gallery II.
(Ivana Podnar is guest blogger on Personal Cyber Botanica…)