Introducing: Natasa Kokic
Postmodernism did not bring the freedom of expression based on eclectic views, but the ascent of conceptual, as the most esteemed quality in art. As art elevated from the realm of craft, into the plane of ideas, artists assumed roles of intellectual ringmasters, directing their visions, de facto created by others. The detachment from physical creation broadened the gap between the artist and the audience, making art perceptible only to the intellectual minority, while another movement has been on the rise almost secretly.
Return to the Essence
One of those who believe in direct artistic channeling of the complex thought is Nataša Kokić, a brilliant contemporary artist who divides her time between Belgrade and Oslo. Founding her expression along clear aesthetic guidelines, she alludes to the empty, overwhelming Nordic landscape, while the scenes she depicts are never referential, but entirely imaginary. They are the non-places, the simulations of the what-if-world, the places where her intellectual and emotive self are projected, where she feels safe to explore. Largely introspective, her earlier series of her landscapes delve into more socially conscious thematics, examining the inherent experiential traits, and consumeristic ideologies.
Born and raised in Belgrade, Serbia, Nataša Kokić studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts, where she also obtained a Magister of Arts degree. Currently working on her PhD thesis, she continues working prolifically, having exhibited in several major venues this year alone, both in the country and abroad. She won critical acclaim for her work, and she is the recipient of several important awards, most recently the esteemed Award for drawing, Foundation of Vladimir Velickovic, Chaos gallery, Belgrade, and the influential Young Visual Artist Award, Dimitrije Basicevic Mangelos, Center for Contemporary Art (Belgrade) and Foundation for Civil Society from New York, which includes a residential stay in NY. She is one of the best representatives of Serbian contemporary drawing, while her preferred techniques include pencil and, more recently, charcoal.
Escapism and Parallel Realities
Ethereal landscapes by Nataša stem from her imagination, as she was picturing the world beyond the actual view of her balcony. She imagined planes, meadows, mountains, forests, all except the big factory that actually stood behind those houses she gazed above. As the balcony was looking towards the west, it gained a deeper meaning for her, especially as she was growing up in the most troubled Serbian 90’s, when everybody was looking in the same direction, wishing to escape. Contemplating her desires and the socially difficult situation she was in, Nataša’s devised an artistic concept investigating relationships of individuals with their environment, depicting symbols of their desires. Her large scale pencil landscapes are utopias of thought, impervious realms of what ought to be if the world was just.
The Rocks of Self
While Nataša’s landscapes, executed with pencil, were characterized by a particular short, dainty stroke and a fine, tenderly executed surface, her most recent works make a significant step aside. They are drawn with charcoal, allowing for a much stronger contrast and drama, and altering the quality of the stroke. It is no longer as delicate, but stronger and daring, while pictorially, her drawings attained a more graphic character. The conceptual depth of the series, evocatively entitled, I’m so full of rocks, I can hardly move is taken from the vestibule of consciousness, where the artist found herself in front of the rocky panorama, a subjective vision she called inner landscape. This suite thus reveals itself as the complicated, sectioned manifestation of self, realized as she was catching glimpses of archetypal symbols through the depths of her creative pondering. Visually defined through set of inspirational topics taken from science, astronomy and physics fused with personal history of the author, the vast, fragmented, melancholic vistas evoke the most hidden of anxieties, as they expand over the unpredictable surface, suggestively surpassing the limits of the frame. Asteroids, mountains, ziggurat and the oddly graphic, but conceptually coherent representation of Colossus, the World War II super-computer, make the narrative about depth, structure and nature of psyche.
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