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A place of..., 2010,Collage e acrilico s

December 15, 2010- February 11, 2011 | Osart Gallery, Milan

Curated by Alberto Mugnaini

Through a complementary manipulation of the mediums of painting, video and audio-installation, Iva Kontic’s artistic research seeks to explore and review the urban spaces which shape our everyday experience.

For the artist, painting is almost an automatic reaction to the perception of the world – an “instrument of communication” that becomes an intrinsic reflex of the body.

In her documentary execution on canvas, Kontic filters out any blatant expressive intent in a coldly executed weave of precise brush strokes that are detached from their manual execution, thereby conferring a photographic quality that expands through the body and dilutes in the solvent of time, upon her work. Thus the act of painting in itself, represents the objective - a lens through which the image enters into being.

The direction, perspective and aim of this “objective-painting” is guided by an element of affection and framed by its resulting emotion: the artist’s depiction centres on architectural structures – window frames, interiors and construction sites chosen for their emphasis of components of a geometrical and compositional order. Simultaneously, the paintings are supported and accompanied by an external narrative, or rather, he who finds himself outside of the frame becomes the voice that introduces the spooled frames and animates the scene, filling it with emotional content and revealing the lyrical passages of its subtle emotional plot and affective ambiguities.

Painting is used as a neutralising tool - passionately channelled in a search for hidden corners and poignant scenarios to share with the viewer. One could speak of a portrayal of places, or rather a quest for the right perspective from which to reveal the concealed souls imprisoned therein. It is thereby clear how the use of video, which was acquired and introduced later in Kontic’s practice, already found a perfect counterpoint in the artist’s style of painting.

The video installation shown at the exhibition - a part of the trilogy “An Urban story” - retains a deep bond with the surrounding social reality, while simultaneously encapsulating its geographic and historical context. Thus the use of video and photographic documentation, practices acquired by the artist at a later stage in her career, already found their corresponding counterpart in Kontic’s original medium of painting. The artist asked a friend to drive her through the city in which he lives, inviting him to decide which sites to visit and give a live commentary on the images recorded on film from the car window.

The intention of this exercise was to explore and interrogate urban spaces, capturing the existence and evoking the memories of their inhabitants in the articulation of an intrinsically sentimental atmosphere: the story of a city is thus transmitted to the viewer as a shared impression that discloses a sense of the invisible.

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