Milos Zubac - In search of lost speech

Danilo Vuksanovic’s art cycles have never lacked carefully thought out contextuality. His creative circles, semantically charged, have collided and added onto each other throughout the years, frequently intertwining in the process. He placed conceptual antecedents of his future cycles into deep thematic grooves of previous cycles, so that he could harvest a full yield in his later works. Inclined towards pregnant creative endeavors, with renaissance-like richness, philosophically contemplative, poetically sensitive, and skillfully inventive, Vuksanovic has more than once pushed away his boat from rightfully earned, comfortable safety, under the auspices of excellent art techniques, and has boldly directed it towards other, yet to be seized, artistic horizons. Upon return from such voyages, he has continued to embed all collected omens and cognitions into the matrix of his artwork without hesitation. He performed this on at least two levels.

When he chose to use specific literary-historic motifs, he used the critical conceptual-interpretative level. When memorized musical rhythms and phrases defined the pace of his hand in the process of painting with the alphabet of his mother tongue becoming a completely equal artistic participant, he used the synergic level, where components of other arts elegantly implemented themselves in the very core of artistic practice. The plexus of Cyrillic letter, which spelled out the most valuable books of a nation, in Vuksanovic’s personal review received constitutive value within his drawing technique.

Surely, anticipated contextualization demanded from him much more than stylized or mere fast letter-writing. The actual base for the drawing had to be prepared in such a way so as to resemble medieval parchment. In old literature, crimson, yellow, and white represented the colors of manuscripts, while texts were mostly applied over already existing, previously scraped layers of text. Such multi-layered parchment was called "palimpsest". Vuksanovic’s commitment to utilization of palimpsest for the structure of his Cyrillic texts, his writing on parchment in said colors lines of text in various shapes, frequently one over another, with the use of ornaments, initials, and miniatures, unmistakably points to medieval literary heritage in full genre heterogeneity. On the other hand, reminiscences of manuscript and visual medieval culture serve to prepare room for strong semantic friction which takes place in his drawings. Danilo Vuksanovic is an author who likes to confront characteristics of imposed Zeitgeist with values of times past. He takes letters, parchment, and colors from an era of medieval chivalry. Even the content of the Cyrillic text resembles the content of archaic documents. However, Vuksanovic writes out only fragments, cryptic lines from past manuscript wholes, extricated from canonized medieval culture. He then confronts them with parts of personal auto-dictation, quickly jotted down thoughts as reflexes of internal turmoil of contemporary man.

In order to additionally increase contrast between implied wholeness of old, and painfully incomplete current, civilization "traditions", Vuksanovic binds specific drawings and writings with a rope into a "Signatory Map", a distinct somnambulated artifact, which reads as some bound alchemic manuscript, or rather, what could have been left of it, preserved in the Recent Times. Clippings of dense texts, alienated from initial meaning in the background of oneiric, sometimes grotesque, artistic projections, national saints under the cloak of animated superheroes, crucifix-like symbols of eternal life juxtaposed with detailed lists of daily chores, intentionally signless letter highways and transversals, contours of omnipresent ghost of globalism over the remains of characteristics of smaller nations – fill the heavy pages of this bizarre art picture-book. Despite dense forest of letters, whether organized into words or not, communication flow between the author and the spectator is deliberately reduced to the effect of strong associative fields. Almost like being in the tissue of the letter itself, divorced from the usual, linear function of communication, Vuksanovic found the codes of deeper, more truthful understanding of language and being.

And while planetary information technology hydra stringently transforms its initial substance up to the point where information begins to rule the man instead of serving him, while millions of ridiculously short-lived electronic messages are sent instead of letters, and people almost stop interacting and meeting with each other outside of much-needed network above all networks, Danilo Vuksanovic writes out parts of forgotten existential meaning in self-created Cyrillic, in the untrammeled rhythm of personal creativeness, searching for speech code which we seemed to have misplaced somewhere.