Concrete Counterpoints

A Conversation with Jelena Tomasevic

1. Your works  are  done on a white background and a steel panel?

Yes, the white color is applied directly onto the steel panel, using a special technique. As the white color is absolute, to me it always appears as if it is inviting you to do something. it looks somehow like white desert, something overflowing with opportunities, as life itself.

On the other side, steel is a material mined from the earth, it has both the glow and darkness in the same time. It is flexible, cold and heavy – therefore it has all it takes to be convincing. Its main trait however is that it changes over time. It has the tendency to rust, which clearly marks the passing of time on the material.

By choosing these materials and the technique, my intention was to show an image of the world in each work, and that image will fade over time. These works will share our destiny in getting darker as the time goes on.

2 Totality of life in content quest for happiness, I wanted to ask you about relationship beetwin figure and violence that been suggested?

Totalitet zivota u stalnoj potrazi za strecom?

Odnosi figura i naznaceno nasilje?

On my works, people are copied from photographs and the architecture is made of concrete.

My collection of photos is vast and diverse. It comprises everything from photos of people dying in hospitals, to fashion photos from magazines or random photos of sights and scenes that the eye remembers through peripheral vision. I hold the peripheral vision to be comprehensive, as opposed to the focused vision, which has a bit of a calculated character.

What interests me is the absurd, idiocy, irony, sadness, daydreaming, humor, melancholy, loneliness, joy, pointless scenes, violence… Pressure from political and social mechanisms exerted upon individuals, presented in the form of mechanical tools hurting people on my works. Snow, rain, sun, fog, and most importantly the morning mist. I’m also interested in those situations of tension, a few moments before something happens. If you observe carefully, you will see a curvature on some figures on my works that makes them look as if they were about to fall. The same happens to some architecture in my works.

Process of copying or leaving traces of one’s self on paper, is very similar to the process of memorizing in a way that you have an image that is closest to the medium of reality as its starting point and you have a copy of that image. Memory is nothing more than a copy of a real event in our heads. For example, if five persons attempt to recall the same event, each of them will form a different image in his head. Using other people photos and mixing them with mine I try to make a group of work that will be a kind of colectiv memory. If you do an experiment and try to remember a person each time – after first, second or third meeting – you’ll see that the image you conceive in your head is different each time.

My intention is to try and reach the totality of life with my works.

3 “Apparent Servitude” title comes from legal terminology?

I like titles – titles are nice opportunity to bring viwer closer to the point of the work. Apparent Servitude originally comes from the legal terminology.  It comes from a specific field of law known as material law and refers to the status of a thing given to a subject to manage without any change in the status of its ownership.

Except for the meaning from the legal standpoint, I liked the meaning that each of these two words have individually: Apparent as evident, obvious, plain, clear, certain but also deceptive; Servitude as slavery, serfdom, or voluntary subjection.

Seemingly voluntary subjection is what the artists are doing whenever they have an exhibition.

Also, I think that the people are only apparently serving on this earth.

All these reasons made me think that the title perfectly suits this series of works. Also, I like it when the title has many layers of meaning. In this way, through using the title, the viewer has many possibilities of grasping the point of the works on his own.

4.Architecture of luxry and tell us what does it mean tin soup made of people?

Arhitektura luksuza savremenog coveka otelovljena ubazenu. Tanka retka supa od ljudi?

I feel deep respect for the Architecture as the capability of constructing specific objects. Pools are the places in which people relax, they are with an ideal temperature, you can float, there are no sharks in it. Still, in pools you do swim in soup of people, as Rem Koolhas once said. I remembered that very well, it’s charming. I’m very into the radicalism of objects.

gajim duboko postovanje prema arhitekturi toj sposbnosti konstruisanja konkretnih stvari.Bazeni su bezbrizna mjesta, imaju idelnu temperaturu, mozete da plutate, nema ajkula, ali se ipak kupate u supi od ljudi, to je Rem Koolhas rekao u jednom intervjuu da su bazeni tanke supe od ljudi, i to mi je ostalo u glavi, to ima nekog sarma.

mene zanima radikalnost predmeta, bazen tematizuje predmetnost upotrebnih stvari

5.How the painting extend itsself in to the space?

Kako slika izlazi u prostor-sto mislis o instalaciji i videu kao nastavku slike u prostor?

I am interested in how much one work can be extended in the space and in the same time operate as work of art.

But my intencion is not to extend paintings into video or installation. My involment with different media is based on recognition of different matirial capacities.

6.Can the image relive the pain? Da li slika moze da ublazi bol?

It is up to the viewer to choose his way through the work. One of hundreds will figure out that we all do have capacity for change.


Jelena Tomasevic: C.V.

Born in 1974 in Podgorica, Montenegro, lives and works in Pogorica and Berlin

MFA, Academy of Fine Arts, Cetinje 2004

Solo Exhibition

Apparent Servitude, Artopia Gallery, Milano, Italy

Apparent Servitude
Center for Contemporary art Podgorica, Montenegro

Just Kidding, Video, Gallery Thrust Projects, New York

Exhibition “Now That We Have Gone As Far As We Can Go….”  Galerie Conrads, Dusseldorf, Germany

Just Kidding, Artopia Gallery, Milan Italy, Curated by Gabriela Serusi
Buero.DC, Cologne, Germany ,Curated by Susanne Prinz

Joy of Life II, Thrust Projects, New York

Group Exibitions


Exhibition Crossing, National Centre for Contemporary Art, Ekaterinburg, Russia.
Exhibition Fluidentiteti ArsAevi, Sarajevo.BIH, Curated by Petar Cukovic
Exhibition Crossing  Museum of Contemporary Art Erarta u Sankt Peterburgu , Russia.
Exhibition Multipla Market, Handel Street Project, London, UK.

Exhibition Free Port of Art, Trieste Contemporanea, Italy
1 Time Machine Biennale, Atomski bunker, Konjic, Bosnia and Hercogovina The Quadrilateral Biennial_Out of Left Field-MMSU-Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Rijeka, HR
Exhibition Real Presence, Belgrade-Serbia

Quartet-Four Biennials Reflected in Prints-International Centre of Grafic Arts MGLC, Ljubljana,SLO. Curated by Rene Block
Exhibition Sweet Little Dirty Things, Kultur Kontakt, Wien, Austria
Exhibition, Gender Check, Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw
Exhibition, The Rise and Fall of Excess Culture, Stux Gallery NYC, Curated by Jovana Stokic

Exhibition, Dear Countryman and Women, Gallery MC,  New York
Exhibition Gender Check, MUMOC Museum, Wien, Austria
Exhibition  Piccolo Stato, San Marino
Exhibition, Festival novih vizuelnih tendencija, While Rome is Burning, Dom omladine Beograd

Exhibition farmers Market, Gallery Handle Street Projects, London
Quartett/Vier Biennalen im Spiegel grafisher Blatter, TANAS, Berlin/Germany, curated by Rene Block
Exhibition Artist/Citizen 49 October  Salon, Belgrade

Exhibition Best Regards from the blind spot Centro Cultural Montehermoso, Bilbao
Exhibition Regards from Serbia and Montenegro, Sacramento State University
Exhibition Horizon EFA Gallery, Curated by David Humphtey, New York
Inbetweeness, Curated by Dobrila Denegri and Ludovico Pratesi, Roma, Italy
Off –Center Femininities, Windows of Kimmel Center, New York University, Curated by Jovana Stokic
Lollypop, Body and Consumption, Museum of Contemporary Arts of Vojvodina -Serbia

Collapsible Monuments, Thrust Projects, New York
Art , Life & Confusion, 47 th October Salon Belgrade, Serbia, Curated by Rene Block ana Barbara Hinrich
Scary Tels, Filiale. Berlin, Germany
Cross the Line, Galerie Conrads, Dusseldorf, Germany
East to West, AP4-ART, Geneva, Switzerland

FEM5-Video Festival, Video Drive, Spain
The Biennial Portfolios,9th International Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Curated by Rene Block
Montenegrin Beauty, Kunstlerhaus Behanien Berlin, Germany,Curated by Svetlana Racanovic
Monenegrin Beauty, Mottorenhalle, Dresden, Germany,Curated by Svetlana Racanovic
The Eros of Slight Offence, Pvilion of Serbia & Montenegro, 51st Venicce Biennial, Venice-Italy,Curated by Svetlana Racanovic
S1 Salon-Sheffield, UK
In the Gorges of the Balkans, Kunsthalle Fridericianum Museum Kassel


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