Aida Abadžić-Hodžić


Artistic activities of Asim Đelilović and his reflection (this paper talks about) is firstly about the system of values that the modern and contemporary society is based upon. This means that his artworks touch upon the question of the role and place that religion plays in life of a modern man; the question of cultural colonization by dominant world super-power, consequences of economic globalization, the role and ways of history interpretation in our areas, but it also emphasizes an alienation of the modern man and his disinterest to change the situation he is in. Perhaps, the following objects: “20th Century Man” (1998), “20th Century Man II” (2001), and “The Map of the World” (2000) would serve as paradigmatic examples of his feelings towards the situation of a modern man, which best illustrate the consumers, accumulated, lonely and isolated soul of a man of our time. The man, whose head is in the place of a former aureole, pressed by the burden of those articles that make one and yet the same cultural boundary on the map of the World. People have already spoken about these places in his experiment and perhaps one that best describes Mr. Đelilović as an author is the one that breaks the myth of a contemporary iconic culture (B. Spahić).
When looking at his creative procedure, the way he creates his artwork, he undoubtedly goes from a perspective that each phenomenon in a contemporary civilization can be read and interpreted as a sign or system of signs. He goes on explaining that neither of those phenomena can stand on its own, but is always inserted into multiple relations, and introduced into a communication chain, offered to another and directed for usage- the phenomenon is an open work of art. (U. Eco)
Since the brands of consumers society represent something that is dominant in his artwork plan of motif, the author does try to create “a new reality of painter’s space”, but deeply dives into the world of what has already been produced – he manipulates it, it recontextualizes it, never repeating the visible, but making it visible. (P. Klee). Đelilović mostly begins from a direct confrontation in the form of diptych and triptych. He does not put subjects, like some realists do, into an impossible context, but into an encounter where those subjects, at the form level, reveal clearly recognizable and common characteristics but of the subjects of totally opposite contents at the same time as well. This is when such encounter becomes totally unexpected, shocking, and carries the strength of a sudden revelation. The world form of nature, technology and culture lose its visual innocence and neutrality, and shows that in the world of modern advertising, marketing and aggressive media campaign, such choices do not exist in the process of creating. What could possibly a pine-apple, hand-grenade and a bottle of St. Georg perfume have in common? The first belongs to the world of nature, the second to the world of technology, and the third to the world of highly profitable industry of cosmetics, fashion and design. They are all connected by the similarity of the outer face. But, as the author himself says, one should look at the phenomenon from the surface in order to understand the entirety (reference text from the Periphery art exhibition 1998/99). Inspired by this, he unobtrusively, sharply, and yet with smothered irony “scrapes” the dense layers of interwoven semantic levels that are hidden underneath our visual reality. Such confrontation is presented in the artworks from the series of “Instruments”, such as: A revolver in saddler with a photography of an American president Bush (“Work in progress”), a character of Pop John Pole II, the president Bush and Mike Jagger (“Triptych”, 2004), or open palms and an open book (“Works Book-Words Book”, 2002), a character of a covered woman and a girl who covers her naked body with the USA flag (“Behind”, 2002-2003). Author’s procedure is almost minimal, his interventions are ready-made and the composition is clear, examined and pure: which expands the field of connotation and gives the strength of universality to a fine art message.
Performance techniques are mostly related to the use of digital print, installation, objects, photography, and typography -the use of classic painting is very rare and usually carries a symbolic meaning, especially when eluded to the ancient world, classic civilizations underlining their “disproportion” to today’s moment (“Olimp”, 1999-2003). Or, again when new icons are placed into an ancient painter’s frame.
Đelilović underlines the relationship with the subject world, with tangible realism, addressing them with an equal seriousness: this tendency is followed from the period of a new realism, and more specifically from the time of pop-art, the sixties period, when the art was connected to the means of massive communication. In this work, Đelilović creates a new code that needs to be discovered by an observer (creation of one such code is a contemporary art constant), and creation of this new code is done in a dialectic way, connecting it to an existing system of recognizable code. “In the light of vises”(2003), the aureole and the flash of metaphysics light, which in the time of baroque fine art carried dramatic chiaroscuro around the leaf of Christ, is now replaced by the flesh of camera which reflects the Coca Cola glass bottle. Sometimes the experiences of artwork determine how different senses are intertwined (the sense of touch, sound, and the visual sense). This is shown in the artwork named “The Lords Love”, where the heart of Christ has been taken out from a dense net of thin, metal polls; or in the work “The Heart” through very intensive and suggestive use of material (stone covered with green moss).
Such cases of an explicit and conscious quote mark and ironically cite, through an apparent homage, the general places. Surely, in order for a viewer to understand an allusion, he must know the original “environment” and has to be a part of collective imagination. This is when the quote becomes inappropriate (just like the Coca Cola bottle installation with children’s pacifiers, next to a woman character with the child that looks like an ingrained imagery of the Mother of God – without the title, 1999). The quoting techniques expand our time concept in consumption of an artwork (entwining the quotes of the artwork developed in different historical and stylistics periods), connecting the expression time with the time of culture. (U. Eco)
Popularization and vulgarization of the ready-made has marked its democratization: discovery of ready-made has taken away substantiality from art and has made it procedure-like. World has become flooded with an aesthetic atmosphere: civilized people of 21st century live in the time of aesthetic triumph, worshiping beauty; in the time of its idolatry
(Y. Mitchaud).
In the art production, the artworks are replaced with mechanisms and procedures that function like artworks but produce the experience of art. The intentions and attitudes become a substitute of an artwork. However, that is not the art’s end: it is the end of its domination over a particular subject. Thus, an experience producer, illusionist, or a wizard, successively becomes a creator of an impact, which is beautifully designed and appeared in the form of an icon spectacle, produced by media (Žarko Pajić). Đelilović nurtures the connection with the subject world with an emphasized feeling for creation (which discovers his primary vocation) and through the challenge that he perceives the world of visual culture of a modern time as an unequivocal reflection of our time (Marilyn. AstroCuba, follow your instinct). His engagement in subject and phenomenal reality questions the ultimate foundation of an argument that the aesthetic attitude towards life is always necessary and passive, and yet his alleged decrease on the level of senses (aesthetes) represents sustaining with the apparent and not the real world.
Đelilović's work is not characterized by stressed aggressiveness as are today’s performances and happenings that radicalize relationship towards our own body, main theme, and media of contemporary expression. His expression is directed more towards what is mental rather then what’s emotional. He continues to palpate, in his work and in the liveliest way, the spirit of the spring student activism from 1968, through a condensed graphite, which was one of those that, at that time, appeared on the streets of Paris: “To be free – Means to be a part of.”