Pretend to sleep

November 20th - December 1st, 2018 > Koče Popovića 9

From November 20th until December 1st, 2018: Opening ceremony on Tuesday at 19h

The most difficult task for a present-day artist in an ever-present simulacrum of life for discovering life itself, all its insecurities and defects. One of the most noticeable young artists in this region, Tadija Janičić, his recognizable by his courage to disclose caricature those microsegments of society in which the deprivation of modern humanity is manifested.

Tadija Janičić is an authentic and socially engaged chronicler of those seemingly trivial situations that reflect the stumbling of the entire society. His art is skillfully seductive, doesn’t rise above the popular culture and primitivism of mass-media, but by the process of subversive affirmation devastates from the inside. Bright oily colors on attractive motives playfull background with the unburdened perspective and other painting canons, give the impression of the ease of creation. Tadia’s iconography seems to abound with naivety – primitivistically painted flowers, trees, clouds… However, his works, both directly and through Freudian symbols like birds and ice creams, portray blasphemy and bloodshed, which in contrast with a happy environment, reflect the complex, ambivalent relationship of art against the reality mark by contradictions of modern liberalism. By repeatedly repeating the details or sequencing of the same group of people Janičić alludes to the uniformity of the modern man as a characteristic process of pop art.

Exhibition Pretend to sleep with phantasmal cynicism raises awareness of fragmented identities, pseudo-intellectualism, fetishism, and idolatry often by displaying archetypes of western civilization. The interrelation of the painting – the title is an important segment of Janičić’s creativity, which transforms his works into satirical narratives and enables their correspondence with masterpieces. He gives religious and mythical creatures a sexual connotation, putting fairy elements in perfidious situations, parody famous scenes from of world cinema and through the presentation of the crucial characters of classical art as a promiscuous, personifies pseudonyms of today and lost ideals. Confrontation of disfigured and “art of art’s sake” in Tadia’s art as if they were referring to the idea of Kamil Pall, exhibited in the Sexual Persona study, which criticized disregarding of pagan scenes in high art and points out that the artist is obliged to indicate animality and destructiveness of the human psyche.

Expressive part of Tadia’s poetics concerning with the question of the body, which is usually placed in the context of exploitative relations. In his paintings, it’s possible to notice a pattern of a human figure that is accordant with grotesque standards of attractiveness: sculpted male bodies, covered in sensational tattoos or slim, feminine figures with enormous body forms. On the other hand with depictions of broken or flattened human hands silhouettes, lumpy bellies, bloody noses, Tadia portents on spiritual deviants of society spectacle – hedonism, anxiety, and frustration.

Janičić is painting faces hidden behind glasses and thief masks as a symbol of superficiality, estrangement, and escapism. Revolving on the power on which community unquestionably submits, it ruffles the political and economic hierarchy as value provisions. On his canvases, recognizable personalities take on the appearance of colorful illusions, while the symbols of political stages are portrayed as sexual objects. The motive of transience and death is always shown with sarcasm that represents a defense mechanism against fear and anxiety.

Tadija Janičić is the envoy those obvious and neglected truths, which under his paintbrush becomes an artwork, the variety of images of the spiritual abyss of today, the tempting to eyes as much to the mind.

Historian and theoretician of art Ivana Milojko