[ Traveler above a sea of clouds ]
In her most recent work, Parisian artist Brankica Zilovic Chauvain (born in Serbia in 1974) presents a series of abstracted landscapes executed in pencil on paper or in thread and fabric on mounted linen – and entirely in shades of black and white.
She thus offers something completely different to her colorful and more figure-oriented creations of the past decade that go back to her days at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris in the mid 1990s. This is when the discovery of Roland Barthe’s writings and Ghada Amer’s artwork sent Zilovic on a lengthy reflection on women, fashion and society.
Today, Zilovic elects for a purely graphic approach that integrates and builds on her pictorial language which has emerged over the years. The artist has moved the focus of attention away from the human body towards landscapes – part real, part dreamed – visually transposing the forceful and enigmatic poetics of nature.
As if suspended in mid-air, Zilovic’s landscape compositions appear in the middle of white paper or linen. Surrounded by ample space, they seem to hover timelessly like delicate clouds that gently emerge from distant horizons or isolated islands of an uncharted archipelago that miraculously rise from the sea. There is something mysterious about them that grabs the attention, something that makes the eye want to discover the many details of this other-worldly nature.
We thus glide over the smooth surfaces, delve into the dark crevices and stop to consider the obsessively repeated pebble-like forms. We note the delicate lines of grey here as well as the darkened, hatched and re-worked surfaces there. The circular rhythms take us up and down, in and out. Zilovic’s landscapes catch our gaze and grab hold of our imagination.
Devoid of any human presence, we become the privileged witnesses of these rocky formations. It is as if we took the position of the traveler depicted by Caspar David Friedrich in Traveler above a sea of clouds (1818), a lone figure in awe of nature who rests at a vantage point to admire the sea of clouds beneath. Luminous, bright and mineral, Zilovic’s work is a breath of mountain-crisp air.