Magical transformation of photographic scenes

Nenad Marjanović / Text for the exhibition: Dragoslav Bokan
February 3rd - 16th, 2014 > Opening on February 3rd, at 20h


Text for the exhibition


01. We all know that dreams are black and white. And that the most beautiful movies are also black and white. Just like the most elegant women’s costumes, X-rays, portraits on documents, the most beautiful renaissance graphics and wood carvings, the Arlequin suite, the original Templar flag and the color of the Maltese Knights, figures on the plaid chessboard battlefield, astrological and meteorological symbols, Escher’s three-dimensional anti-gravity labyrinths of two war roses in the British centenarian war (the York dynasty), Yin and Yang, a pirate flag with a skull and crossbones, a bar and a favorite combination of the colors of all anarchists and conspirators, monastic clothes, street graphic insignia for “rebellion” and “peace among people “, all documentary footage of historical events, jerseys of several of the world’s largest football clubs, two of the four” sacred colors “Navaho Indians and Apache tribes, all film-noir masterpieces, a sumptuous night sky, a light at the end of the tunnel, every book in the world have black letters printed on a white background)…

02. Black and white is a magical mix of two strangest colors (which are not colors at all). An esoteric blend of day and night, the sinful and noble side of human nature. Luciferian code of every Angel rebellion. The symbolic Angle language, that was used by a consecrated mages of the European Renaissance (from John Dee to Athanasius Kircher). Black and white cubes on the floor of all Masonic loggia. The most important iconographic instrument of the “Soviet constructivists” from the twenties. The basic content of Malevich’s Gnostic “anti-icons”, those exotic squares of his inexhaustible imagination. Neoplatonism is black and white, costumes of the Inquisitor’s Court (Tribunal del Santo Oficio de la Inquisición), Descartes rationalism, Jesuit rebirth, counter-reformation, and post-modernism. There are also the infamous “Black Masses” of European symbolic art, densely intertwined with bodies of naked priests during occult rituals (Alister Crowley first held – exactly 100 years ago – a speech in front of the newly discovered Oscar Wilde’s Tombstone: the wondrous Epstein’s “Sphinx” in Paris Per Lashez). Two basic colors (black and white).

03. And we all know about the power of a black and white combination. But not everyone is using it. And especially not in a masterful way and with the appropriate artistic (and why not say) “magical” results and effects.

04. For example, pornography simply cannot be black and white. Because it would lack the juicy credibility of the body’s color and everything from a loving “longing-erotic” to a real physiological “lustful-pornographic”. Artistic photographs of gender organs become more like some kind of flower ornament or fossil shell than the obligatory part of all folk curses. There is no indecisive perversion, and the space of exciting imagination is pre-trimmed with shadows and light that perfectly and completely cover the exposed nastiness of the model.

05. Black and white is the color of provocation, but also the hidden essence behind the colorful image of “reality”, the symbolic skeleton of the human figure (reduced to the baselines of the body), the basic design of all buildings, the basis of everything in the world. The modern Babylonian tower was built on the ancient black and white foundations, mixed colors and languages. And I would not be surprised if God personally created the Garden of Eden using only the strong contrasts of light and darkness until the bright red apple created the chaos into the hearts and the knowledge of our first-born.

06. Black and white are also the basis of every authentic portrait. A drawing is always behind and below the color, while underneath it – they are the first withdrawn moves, the scarred black trail on a completely white painter’s canvas. Wherever we go, we will come (from a colored eye) to something black and white.


07. We no longer have the patience for a complex variety of different feelings. We lost the will to psychologically tune out the ruined and eternally crowded people and events. We want a clearly-edged difference between what we are interested in (and what we admire) and what is not interested in us (and what we want to remove as soon as possible from our already tired eye), a clear line between “yes” and “no”, everything that is and not interesting. We want clear maps and guides in the gigantic chaos of mixed forms and objects of our civilization. And here we will always use our readiness to make firm and lasting choices, acceptance and expulsion of what we have chosen and what we did not want to consider. Our happy and effective black and white commitment to everything we do.
Thus we successfully save such precious time and avoid the trap of losing the “value system”. By careful simplification, we come to the aesthetic core of all that we touch with our artistic sense. As creators and as enthusiasts, we put on that post-modern black and white armor, which then protects us from anything redundant.

08. Nenad Marjanović is an artist who, throughout his life, practiced this “artistic craft” and this “crafty art” to reduce everything on what matters. It is the only thing that matters. It is unique only when is caught by a predator light harp precisely fired from the lens of Marjanović’s camera. There never was anything redundant in his photographs, and never will be. The infallibility of style and the perfect sense of the measure is also the basic attribute of the artistic coat of this authentic photograph artist.

09. Usually, he photographed in exteriors. Because of that, he defines “street art”. Today they are the theater, and the author’s movie, and the magnificent “Circus of the Sun”, and graffiti, and every mass artistic performance, and all the most important in the life of the citizens of large megalopolises – forms and contents that are completely congenial urban scenery in front of which everything is really happening in modern culture.

10. Marjanović’s models never have “too human” in themselves.  They are always “on the other side of good and evil,” behind all mirrors and accepted social norms, living only in the artist’s Wonderland.  Like Bresson’s film “models”, and Marjanović’s “models” are revived marionettes through which he seeks for real scenes. For those who shock, provoke, and intrigue, to calm themselves and thus find a completely new meaning. It is especially interesting how the most interesting personality can become part of Marjanović’s Theater of Shadows, the revived cornerstone of some of his photographs. But he will always give more attention to what the photographer did with his clients, but what they “thought they wanted”.

11. Although Marjanović does not work randomly, he always gets a spectacular result. His models stand in the middle of urban street scenes so firm and unbreakable as if they always existed (like some sculptures made of the flesh and bones). And every time this dominant position of the painted model, at the same time, is a minuscule description of all the mistakes and advantages of the ambiance in which “the photo takes place”. And the black piano next to the demolished General Staff, and the TV (with the antenna) in the hands of the surviving girls after the Apocalypse, and the excavator with a stretched steel paw before the bride in the wedding dress, and the flying ballerina over the concrete abyss, and Marjanović’s girls in the exhibition action (on the staircase, advertising billboard, in the middle of a traffic jam, on knees before roast pork with apple in the mouth, in front of modern metal and glass palaces), all of these are only skillfully scattered elements of a photographic puzzle, which is more and more like the life.

12. Although at first glance it is completely non-obligatory that Nenad Marjanović is also a member (those rock ‘n’ roll) of the generation who expressed their rebellion irresistibly through creative and consistent incompetence of the imposed rules. Harley-Davidson jacket and motorcycle “on the road” styling was successfully upgraded by the personal and artistic resistance of Nenad Marjanović to everything that is despised and turned away. Only he never turns his eyes, nor does he banalize (or politicize) his reflex, immediate spiritual resistance to what he is uprooting and derives from the clock. He simply “shouts” how his “CarGo” with his camera is, and how his humble subjects from the court do not even see how tragicomic in that man is the disadvantageous position of the most ordinary statistic of the Social Theater of the Impersonal Marionette.