German Lessons

CATEGORY / Texts AUTHOR / adm1nf1l DATE / November 11, 2015

Not so long ago, Jean Genet, taught us that each end every technological advancement sets free, any artistic medium from the notion of reality. Photography, liberates painting from the inevitability of facts. Film relieves photography from the necessity of recording eternity. Television, on the other hand, frees film from the documentary aspect.  Internet, sets television, free from censorship. All above mentioned post-painting mediums, fought the battle of winning over what was already immanent in painting-multi color. Starting from photographic paper, over to celluloid and back to the screen, all this was in the name of backing the invasion of colored pictures that joyfully shaded the dullness of everyday life.  The grayness of asphalt and concrete, the repulsive nature of societies, the resentful mediocrity of public thought -all mediums to get separated from reality with the aid of color, as we all wish and prefer, to see the kaleidoscopic rather than differences.

According to Guy Debord and Nickolas Burio we are all witnessing that in societies of spectacles the reality is breaking away from us, from ourselves as well as from reality as it is. We pose the simple  question, then. What is reality?  One of the well known writers from former Yugoslavia Borislav Cosic, a keen translator and refugee, to no other place than Germany, once said: “the reality is too aesthetic and  to insist further on aestheticism of the very same reality, all over again, would be a very painful experience”.

Therefore, it is surprising and rather shocking to find oneself in front of classically rendered paintings with a rather impressive format which gives one the feeling of being able to walk into it, and which are black and white. Or, rather, shall we say, not black and white because life in itself is not black and white, rather a row of pictures that slides and stumbles with the endless specter of gray, or any other monochromatic field.  That is why none of these paintings are style effected  or are aesthetical for that matter, neither with the authors stamp on it. Not even aliened but what they are is: with common precision, terrifyingly gray colored, but not presented in the way we are used to see the world. On the very same paintings there is something else that is not a part of our everyday perception of paintings.  The demon of the scripture. The menacing concept of that monster and all also in German. The title that becomes subtitle.
The motif in the paintings is caged between text.  Like a sandwich.  A sandwich that we keep in our memory for its content.  Crisp or soft.  Beautiful and tasty.  And tastes, not only for its crust or bread.

In the works of Filip Matic, and for the good reason, we will not forget the layers of written. Precisely due to the distance between the layers of the text and the fill of imagery that shifts constantly, the distance between the faces, interiors, exteriors, depicted situations and pictured pictures that are wrapped in a dialogue and uttered phrases, so very much massed in communication that they seem unnoticeable. For the very same fascination for lessening the common language Eszen Ionescu departed on the path of writing his famous play: The Bold Soprano.
And then we ask ourselves. Why German language? Do not expect an easy answer, less so, from the artist himself. We should think individually and from different angles. What would be your/our, inner challenge, when observing a body of work? One by one. The relation between the scene, the image and the text image, the sound of words that we read or the very meaning of what is written due to the fact that it is in Deutche Sprache. After being able to decipher all this, we become aware of artist intending to become less important in this process, what was his intention after all. The artist’s personal obsession identifies collective neurosis of Serbian society. But, how? Very often we (Serbs) tend to neglect the fact that the first Serbian modern dictionary only 150 years ago, was written in German language. Not in French or Russian or Latin, nor in Turkish. And all that less due to Goethe ‘s fascination and admiration for Serbian folk songs. What is more, not even for the reason that the quest workers who more than a century ago were seeking the chance to earn their bread in East Reich. That very step, these very facts, streamed our (Serbian) culture, nevertheless. And today, after many centuries of evil history, while Joyce is teaching us that the history is a nightmare that we want to wake up from, furthermore, we recognize the strongest lingual ambiguity- both hatred and admiration, in Serbian culture, degradation of everything that is Germanic and yet the presence of countless German words in Serbian language is so evident, no matter how hard it was trying to camouflage all these facts with various substitutes and through active prejudice.

Finally, the author gives us a deep and honest glaze. Along with the medium and without any hypnosis he invites us, but not to try to save him as an artist but to render ourselves. Mirroring the dullness and grayness of everyday life these anti-pictures, perhaps, are tended for those who are color blind. Or is it so? You may try to observe with your color-blind-self. However, these pictures are made to be viewed, understood and daydreamed.

Text by  Dr. Ivan Pravdic
Translation by Filip Matic