Entering the Picture
The history of 20th- and 21st-century art has been marked by continuous waves of rediscovering the painting. The recent shift, when art abandoned its pursuit of utopia and turned toward concrete physical space, brought about another fresh rise of painting and the painted image, which has once again become a “big topic” and challenge for artists. Already in the Renaissance, the painting as a two-dimensional scene became a window into the world, the three-dimensional mathematical reality that emerged with the rise of science and the rationalist worldview that still surrounds us today. The image as a “window” is a well-known and amply developed phenomenon that acquires its extension in today’s digital world through the screen (whether that of a TV, computer, tablet, or mobile phone), which is now becoming the main carrier and transmitter of information. The screen as Picture the new reality through which we come to know the world, with the advent of new technologies such as touch screens, virtual and augmented reality, wherein we begin to use, in addition to sight, our remaining senses and body parts in order to interact with this new type of image that exceeds the physical constraints of conventional three-dimensional space.
It is precisely these phenomena that Miloš Janković explores in his new series of large-format paintings, with which he is now returning to the scene following a relatively long hiatus. At a time when everything has become digital and when the analogue endures only in terms of marginal excess (and the same sadly applies to the status of art in our society in general), Janković seeks to bring these two chaotic worlds together. Relying on the canons of painting in the genesis of the painting itself, Miloš produces variations on the motives of abstraction and geometrisation in his works, seeking to present, in a symbolic way, a meta-space of the painting. Consisting of deposits of information, the lived and the seen, following the trail of his experiences, first and foremost in painting, the artist brings them together into an organised whole, which he formulates as his own personal space of identification.
Visualising the flow of data and their shaping, not in terms of simple pictograms or icons, but through primary, classical methods and techniques of painting, such as colour, drawing, and composition, allows us to witness a reversible process, a sort of transformation of the digital into the analogue. And while technology functions according to precisely determined rules and schemes, the translation process in Janković’s artistic procedure is entirely subjective, led by instinct, feeling, and impressions.
For Miloš, entering the painting, the exploration of its space is an important aspect that entails immersion, yielding to the senses and visual pleasures. His paintings comprise multiple viewing plans, which intertwine like two writings on a palimpsest, interacting, combining, clashing. All of them together, combined with a pronounced feel for composition and the interrelating of painterly elements on the canvas, generate a striking visual entity that instantly pulls the viewer into its unique world. As such, the painting itself and its space, which Miloš seeks to explore, the multiplicity of its meanings, layers, and nuances provide intriguing insights about pushing the boundaries not only of the medium, but also of the meta-space of the painting.
In the end, we may conclude that Miloš finds his grounding in extremely well thought-out experiments that he performs whilst painting his works. Just like any individual today, he is deeply rooted in the digital reality of the present moment. He recognises, transforms, and uses it in order to provide his own insights, commentary, critique, as well as vision of all that interests and surrounds him.