Zilovic observes, “… the drawings are born before my eyes. I don’t control them. There’s something very unpredictable about them.” Zilovic thus creates dreamscapes grounded in artistic and other, real-world references but they are in no way scholarly, nor strictly representational.
It is thanks to this type of automatism – a technique explored and celebrated by the early Surrealists – that inner worlds unfold, emanating from distant memories and flowing forth from deep-seated visual references. Daliesque figures, at once solid and oddly liquid, both rock-like and carnal, materialize such as the central element in Paysage aux nageoires (2008) which echoes Dali’s Narcissus turned to rock in Metamorphosis of Narcissus (1937). “I like it when the viewer can recognize something in the unrecognizable,” comments Zilovic, “There’s always something very real even in the abstract.”
Never classic: from Counter-stitches to pencil graphics
Zilovic moved from Belgrade to Paris in 1998 to study under countryman Vladimir Velickovic. Impressed by his expressive style, Zilovic herself began as a painter. However, it is no coincidence that Zilovic began to question the codes and images of fashion in one of the most important fashion capitals of the world and it is her second tutor, Dominique Gauthier, who encouraged her to integrate textiles into her work. Zilovic thus began a daring cross-over between traditional sewing and stitching methods and contemporary visual expression. Indeed, Zilovic’s Contre-coutures or “Counter-stitches”1 are a way of going against the grain of expectations.
In her most recent work she continues to use this technique whose forcefulness relies in part on the blurring of frontiers (art versus craft, contemporary avant-garde versus traditional folklore, etc.). “If I abandoned the use of thread entirely, I would fear becoming banal and classic,” states Zilovic. Her work is a personal language of quiet revolt, a way of questioning artistic traditions by the subversion of its own techniques and the introduction of those traditionally excluded.
Furthermore, her recent drawings (she hadn’t made recourse to this most fundamental means of artistic expression in years) benefit from years of experience in this particularly physical means of production. Indeed Zilovic’s works on paper often reveal intensely vigorous gestures as well as a great concern for textures, patterns and material effects.