The Spirals of the (In)finite - Nataša Nikčević
My actual experience had been, was still, of infinite duration. Or alternatively of a perpetual present made up of one continually changing apocalypse, Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception: Heaven and Hell, IP Esoteria, Belgrade, 2005.
The Montenegrin artist Gordana Kuč in her new project The time is now challenges the category and the motion of time, that “perpetual present made up of one continually changing apocalypse”, using diverse strategies of formalization, often unconventional, by which she successfully avoids anchoring a single meaning to her work. The equivalent of time, being present and/or infinite, or rather its pregnant sign, is a spiral - a winding line representing identical curves around an axis, immanent in any movement. The spiral is an analogy of the natural forms of movement, but also the very motion of the universe; it is a symbol of life in various civilizations and cultures, while Jung regarded it as having religious connotations. All these polymorphous and intertwined meanings of the spiral may emanate into those in cuboids - Gordana Kuc's objects. However, it seems that the works are generated from quite different positions - a very intimate re-examination of the self, devoid of pretentiousness, major stories, rhetoric or narration. The elements of the work The time is now have been painted on the canvas, with a brush and fingers, in various tones and intensities of the colour purple. Some of the spirals vibrate forward and backward, inward and outward, their thickness and whirl implying their immensurability. Others are fragile, delicate, almost dematerialized, with thin layers of purple; their movement is almost minimal, so the latent drama and passion of the former gives way to balance and peace. The spirals are painted in numerous variations – featuring a number of them or only one. The strategy of structuring some of them, those which were created with the fingers, is one of the possible ways to leave your mark in time, a sign of your own being. Dark, deep layers of purple or its thin coatings, traditionally already mark out the mystic, speculative or metaphysical; but the use of purple pigments is not from the field of the symbolic: it has rather been initiated by the features of the colour. The spiral as a form was also used by the artist at the 1997 Cetinje Biennial, in the ambient work entitled Travel records I, whose great theme was the exploration of the self, infinity and space. The structure of this work was made of nine spiral elements - strips of drawings, which are a kind of intimate records, fastened to metal springs, inside and outside. The gallery space, or its physis, became the referential element of the work converted into poesis, as the viewer was caused to get into the spiral tunnel - an anxious labyrinth, or a bodily presence in work and being. (This is also a whole consisting of the same parts - strips of drawings with which she emanates infinity, loneliness, isolation, anxiety, trepidation in the lagoons of your own being, and the projection of the self). Physis also turns into poesis in the work The time is now - the artist colours the walls in the same shade of purple in order to avoid the aura of the separateness of the work of art, which represents a kind of subversion of certain artistic paradigms. The use of purple to colour the gallery walls as well as the gallery lighting (the “background” is illuminated, too), serves the purpose of viewing segments of the work as a whole in situ. In these ambient works The time is now and Travel records I there is a shift of meaning from the individual to the general, from the recognized to the unknown.
All the elements of the objects in The time is now are of the same dimension, conceived and set up as a mobile line, capable of varying in space. Space as a category and time are also the overarching theme of the cycle interval. Interval – being interspace, distance, gap, span, the emptiness between things, the interval of time, or the pitch difference between two tones is the name of the exhibition in Kusle's House in Podgorica. Dust, accumulated in the atelier and seen in our common sign system as something impermissible and undesirable which should be removed, becomes the primary, carefully and inventively selected material in the formalization of the work. Indicating the passage of time, too, dust steers the viewer's attention towards the complex multiplied and intertwined semantic layers of works, created in 2005. The unconventional and uncommon matter in the development of a painting is applied in various ways on the white canvass, almost observing some classic values of painting - thin layers of colour, facture, composition and so on. Dust is dispersed, as in the universe, and in the paintings one can discern a kind of core and nebula - resembling those recorded in space after the passage of a comet. In some of them, the clotting is accentuated and the Big Bang experiences a crescendo. The clashes and movement of matter are unpredictable, changeable, since "change is not a semblance, but the essence of life", and the artist counts on that, together with the effect of entropy, as in these works, too, dust is both removed and accumulated.
This operative procedure, too, together with the inventively conceived entrance – a separated gallery space with the audience looking for the entrance (as not the main but another one was used), reveals the dominant intimist and meditative dimension in the work of Gordana Kuc, who employs diverse strategies of artistic formalization, based upon the experiences of Minimal Art, analytic painting, and neo-conceptual art. To her, art is the possibility of discovering and understanding the World, Being and Non-Being, which implies full commitment; through art some of the fundamental issues and relationships are re-examined and marked: the individual and the general, the finite and the infinite, the real and the possible, the real and the assumed, the familiar and the unfamiliar.