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Ivana Matić – An manchen Tagen (On some days)

Ivana Matić – An manchen Tagen (On some days)

Location: EMDE GALLERY - Mainz

Ivana Matić – An manchen Tagen (On some days)

Opening: Friday, 9th of February, 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm

The Emde Gallery is delighted to present the solo exhibition "An manchen Tagen“ (On some days) with drawings by Ivana Matić.
The artist has developed a finely tuned presentation of selected works from different group of works for the gallery space, offering a cross-section of her exploration of the medium of drawing and thus demonstrating the diverse aspects of her artistic practice. Works from her new cloud series "High" will also be shown for the first time in this exhibition.

Drawing is the decisive medium for Ivana Matić. Using pencil and charcoal, she creates images on various materials such as canvas and fabric, paper and cardboard as well as ceramics that distinguish themselves through a focus on the everyday.

The artist's works are characterized by a consistent black-and-white aesthetic and motifs from her everyday surroundings: mostly simple objects that are usually paid little attention to, such as beds, fences, chessboards or – as in her latest series – clouds. She is not interested in a purely realistic depiction. Rather, an intimate examination of the respective objects and the themes and narratives associated with them lies behind the pictures, which often do not reveal themselves at first glance.

For example, the chain-link fence - a typical motif for the artist - symbolizes limited resources and possibilities for Ivana Matić, as it is primarily used where there is a lack of resources for more elaborate fences and boundaries. In other motifs, she deals intensively with themes such as memory and transience. The everyday objects thus merely serve as a starting point for a more far-reaching and in-depth reflection.

Ivana Matić's works are typically created over long periods of time. Sometimes it takes weeks to complete a drawing. The temporality and processuality that can be recognized here is also evident in the form of smudges and traces that the artist leaves behind on the canvases or papers as she draws.
The large-format, 1.36 x 2.67 metre charcoal drawing "Gras drüber“ (grass over it) is a good example of this. It shows a wave-like structured, monochrome pattern in black on a white background. Ivana Matić has drawn on the entire canvas from top to bottom, from left to right, so that the picture has something of a cut-out quality, giving the impression that the pattern could be continued into infinity and thought about further.
The working method is organized in three phases: In a first step, the canvas is blackened with charcoal over a large area, then the image structure is erased from the dark background in a meticulous process and then drawn again with charcoal, resulting in an overall tension between the surface and depth of the image. Seen close up, the drawing dissolves into its individual elements. Only when viewed from a distance do the countless lines come together to form a grassy landscape. The picture also appears to be in motion due to the contrasting, wave-like lines. This impression is reinforced by the partially smudged areas, which show different shades of black and grey and create a certain blurriness.
The work, which also expresses Ivana Matić's preference for large formats, has a rhythmic, meditative quality and evokes associations with the flow of time. It exemplifies the artist's intensive exploration of transience. The humorous title "Gras drüber" touches and at the same time undermines the heaviness associated with this theme.

The "High" cloud series is a completely different story: Ivana Matić's gaze is directed upwards, towards the sky. While the picture "Gras drüber" develops from repeated, curved lines and is characterized by a strong contrast between light and dark, the cloud pictures are very softly drawn and overall extremely delicate. They almost manage entirely without lines. Similar to "Gras drüber", however, Ivana Matić has initially spread soft charcoal over the rough paper, so that only delicate light-dark gradients manifest themselves on the ground, and has then erased light areas from the grey background.
Imaginary, nature-like cloud formations emerge vividly from the chiaroscuro, varying from sheet to sheet: Sometimes you can see puffy, rounded clouds, sometimes dramatic, gloomy, threatening clouds, some are elongated and run in stripes, others appear piled up like mountains. Depending on how they are read, the diverse cloud images, which create different moods, appear to symbolize fleetingness and transience or - as the title "High" might suggest - vastness and lightness.
The larger cloud pictures are accompanied by a series of very small-format cloud pictures arranged in the form of a tableau.

The sepia-coloured ceramic tiles in the rear room of the gallery stand in contrast to the charcoal-drawn cloud images. They are presented in six rows on shelves hanging on the wall, divided into two blocks of three rows of four ceramics each.
The group of works entitled „Die Anderen“ (The Others), which was created during a stay of several months in Serbia and consists of well over a hundred tiles, was presented for the first time in 2021 at the Bergkirche in Wiesbaden as part of the 2021 art initiative; most recently, in 2022/23, a selection was shown as part of FLUX4ART at the Kunsthalle Mainz.

The starting point and background of the work, in which the artist traces (memory) images that are fading away and explored in her drawings, is the examination of her origins. Ivana Matić was born and grew up in the former Yugoslavia in 1986, shortly before the civil war and the disintegration of the country, at a time, as the artist herself says, "when 'those ones' suddenly became 'the others'". (Ivana Matić, in: "Kunstinitiative 20/21 - die anderen", ed. centre for proclamation of the EKHN, exhib. cat., Bergkirche Wiesbaden 2021, Frankfurt am Main 2021, p. 51). In 2005, she moved to Germany and thus became "one of the others" herself. (ibid.)
The hand-painted and traditionally fired ceramics, which are individually produced in an elaborate manufacturing process, show motifs that have been deeply rooted in her since childhood: Utility and everyday objects such as a fly swatter - which could be found in every house during her childhood -, a carpet beater, a broom, musical instruments, items of clothing, architecture or fences reduced to a few lines, architectural elements such as stone property walls, stone lions in the gardens of wealthy homeowners or children's playgrounds with only bare metal scaffolding, but also agricultural and folkloristic motifs as well as her father's obituary.
Using fine lines and hatching on the one hand and thicker, yet carefully applied strokes on the other, Ivana Matić transforms things into delicate drawings. They not only provide a very personal view of the objects and places from her past. Rich in narrative details, the depictions also slow down the legibility and thus enable a closer look at what is depicted. They are calm, poetic images that depict life and the traces of the everyday past. Although people do not appear in the drawings, the works nevertheless create a strong sense of intimacy. Lined up next to each other, Ivana Matić's painted ceramics formulate a narrative, a visual archive of fragments of the memory of a past life, in which the confrontation with her origins is revealed in a haunting way.
The ceramic works are imbued with a gentle melancholy. Nevertheless, the artist is not interested in taking a melancholy look at the past, but in creating a dialogue between "the one" and "the other", as well as the fundamental question of the extent to which cultural imprinting is anchored in viewing habits, what we forget or retain in memories (cf. ibid.).

The exhibition is complemented by a series of small-format works such as the bedroom interiors showing empty beds and radiating loneliness. These are delicate scratch drawings in latex on tetrapack cartons. The drawings with fragmentarily depicted wire mesh fences are also scratched, while the small 15x15cm chess miniatures from the "Check no mate" series, which show scenes from a game of chess, are executed in pencil.

Despite the different techniques and different materials, the pictures develop a clearly recognizable signature. They are distinguished by a considered, reflective approach and a closeness to the processual, which not only reveal a preoccupation with themes such as memory and transience, but also help to poetically enhance the everyday and see it with new eyes.

Ivana Matić, born in 1986 in Šabac, Serbia, lives and works in Mainz. She studied fine arts and graduated in 2017 as a master student of Prof Andrea Büttner at the Kunsthochschule Mainz. Her works have been shown in solo and group exhibitions, including as part of FLUX4ART at the Kunsthalle Mainz, the Wilhelm Hack Museum in Ludwigshafen, the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn (as part of the Federal Prize for Art Students), the Nassauischer Kunstverein in Wiesbaden and other venues such as London and Berlin. In addition, Ivana Matić has already been honoured with several awards, including the Federal Prize for Art Students in 2017 and the Prize for the Promotion of Mainz Visual Artists in 2018.

On Thursday, 29th of February, the Emde Gallery will be taking part in PART Mainz with the exhibition, the Night of Art and Culture in Mainz. A brochure, sponsored by the Cultural Office of Mainz, will also be published to document the exhibition.


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