In this tumultuous whirlwind of fast and intense living and all its novelties, at the time when true values are lost and morality is decreasing – how do we save our “self”, our individuality, the good and the valuable in us?
History has thrown the man into the vast realms of time, and science into the abyss of the universe and the chaos of modern social relationships, where every our success simultaneously makes us famous and relativizes us. Because our every moment embodies a duality, fills us with hope as well as with anxiety, with security as well as with doubt. In the arts, nurtured on the duality of contemporary conceptions, there is also an evolution of pessimism and absurdity. In this world and in this conception with more fear than hope, are there artists who believe in good and in the meaning of their own existence? Are there people who truly believe in art? The existential human need to make art is an essential need to channel the creative energy into a medium through which human beings can actualize the products of their own passion, feel the magic of play and the impossible lightness of creation. Andreja Hojnik Fišić is at home in that kind of medium, playing with visual expressions and making art freely, allowing herself a full creative freedom in transferring her idea into the two-dimensional field of the painting. Her new exhibition show is an exploratory journey about the way and the extent to which her personal inheritance is the source and the inspiration for her as an artist. At some point in our life journeys, we all need to pause, look back and calculate to see how much we have received, how much we have given and what we have left. That need shows us that much is yet to happen, that perhaps we should abandon old ingrained patterns of thought and acquire new ones, assimilate new knowledge. The roots, however, have grown strong and they endure. Precisely in her new work, Andreja Hojnik Fišić engages with her own roots, the family ones, as well as those she has grown while building relationships with friends and colleagues during her life, ingraining them as important segments into her own existence. Disclosure of one’s roots is a particularly personal artistic act that contains a social dimension, as well as a powerful introspection, a thematisation of one’s thoughts, views, sensations. Through the contact with the artistic medium, Andreja establishes a dialogue with her own being, and by listening to her own inner rhythms, she finds the roots of her existence. Her recent cycle is a continuation of explorations and considerations within the two-dimensional painting, as well as explorations of the medium whose suppleness enables her to build astonishing structures that do not see the two-dimensional space as a limit, but as a challenge to be taken, growing further into space, into the third dimension. Therefore, although she stays within the poetics of art informel expression on the canvas, she makes a challenging shift, revealing a tendency to experiment with materials and forms even outside of the painterly field. Immersing herself in a comprehensive search for her own roots, Andreja opens a space for various media of expression, thus bringing together the multivalent nature of the painter and the sculptor, transforming the exhibition space itself into an integral part of her visual story. Because the new exhibition is defined by the new theme, as well as by the given space – that is, by the four display rooms successfully re-constructed through personal creation as a multimedia environmental exhibition concept, while respecting the gallery space as a component part of the exhibition. Segmented into four visual stories, four subunits, the exhibition starts with Istria as the inspiration and the theme of the first room. Istria is Andreja’s homeland, the sancta terra of her childhood. Istria is the genus loci, the origin and the foothold of many Croatian artists. And in Andreja’s work, it appears as an immediate reflection that finds its place as a motif in four landscapes deeply imbued with the country where she was born, where she lived and to which she will always return. Because Istria is special and all of its beauty, its bleakness and its antiquity is ingrained in the paint pigment Andreja uses to create the painting of her Istrian story, her red soil. It is an archaeology of her roots actualized by a profound reach for matter itself. The first room thus contains magmatic, living expanses of a sensation that happens on the very surface of the painting, but comes from within. The paintings are constructed of homogenized, partly relief-like red forms ultimately treated by the application of wire and transparent resin. These are obvious examples of art informel that get their more lyrical form in the second room. In a relief-like growth, the paint here expands from the surface into the third dimension. The Seed is the title of the painting that represents its base, its beginning. This painting is the first in the polyptych that includes nine other paintings, a total of ten. The Seed – as a possible source of the artist’s inspiration found in her family history – grows roots, just like a “self” does, creating relationships, our thoughts, insights, influences and experiences which we have and use to shape ourselves. The combinations of the same matrix are here always in a new, but firm relationship to and connection with the first canvas, directing the composition from the origin to the targets – people and situations, artistic tasks the author sets herself, following in her creative process, as she does in life, a positive emotion with which she has developed as a person and as an artist, materializing her concept by means of diverse painterly techniques carried by a strong creative gesture. Crossing the boundaries of media and techniques with ease, in the third room Andreja reveals her affinity for discovering new possibilities of expression. Avoiding the story, which implies communication through symbols, and choosing to interact with the viewers by means of pure painterly signs – line, colour and form – she decides to use the third room for the medium of paper. Interweaved strips of paper, alluding to free movement of roots, contain a child’s paintings-drawings that represent, as pieces made by her granddaughter Milla, an important family root, a significant gene ending, and in this instance, a proof that the apple does not fall far from the tree, but also that the apple will soon outgrow the tree. An interesting play of free drawing, a remarkably confident and respected segment of the artist’s work, creates a significant move away from the objectivist authenticity towards the truth of artistic subjectivism. Because truth is found in the transfiguration of meaning comparable only to the work of authentic artists, which Andreja certainly is. Drawing creates a surprising effect, becoming a beautiful painterly transcript of a heartfelt story about a family and life, about being. These paintings-installations, packed with emotional associations and without any insincerity, filled with the honesty of the drawings made by little Milla Fišić, together with two white paintings by Andreja, represent the real roots, the place where everything begins and everything continues. In its structural scheme and the chosen morphology, the third room flows into the fourth, the last one. This is the room of all Andreja’s relationships, family ties, friendships and collaborations. It holds three paintings on a textile base two metres in size, in which the artist more explicitly represents roots by using the line as a simplified minimalistic expression. The line as the basic expression in drawing, the drawing as the base of any artwork, the base that in life means the roots. Parents’ roots, marital roots, parenthood roots, friends’ roots. In this last room as the ending of the whole story, Andreja’s friend and painter Nikola Rajić displays his sculptural installation as an act of collaboration and of exchange of art-related ideas and positive vibes during the last two years. He takes two discarded wooden beams – as two companions, him and her, two trees, one whole world. He wraps them in wire, the same wire Andreja used to expand her “paper painting”, the wire that reaches from the “roots” to the “canopy” that represents family union and rewarding friendships. And just as every Andreja’s stroke and modelling contains not only the visible, but also the invisible trace which the matter absorbs and transfers, so our lives contain more or less visible trails clearly reflected in the gallery space. While the work touches the spectators with its power and originality, the awareness that its existence depends on the exhibition and the given spatial concept, remains permanently imprinted upon it. As its permanently planted root.
Every Andreja’s appearance in public is always a result of an incredible effort and personal engagement and an utter commitment to her creation, to which this show bears witness. By means originating in art informel she carefully constructs her work, adding different materials and media – acrylic, ink, fabric, wire, paper, cement, resin… drawing, scribbling, interweaving, splashing, spilling or gluing, and creating rich constructional layers of the painting, linking the real and the suggested space as an important component of the work and a guidance to its understanding. The paintings of Andreja Hojnik Fišić are structurally complex compositions crystalized from a distinctive painterly poetics, which she has built harmoniously bringing together colour and form, that is, the structure. In her “roots” as personal visual imprints, Andreja skilfully multiplies her idea fashioned out of ingenious spirit and creativity, ingraining into all her pieces a firm root of unique artistic personality.
Sanda Stanaćev Bajzek