Aleksandar Dimitrijević: Playground


This text was publihed as a catalogue essay for the solo show  at Drina Gallery, Belgrade, June 2017.

A game, be it traditional or virtual, is typically a competitive, structured social activity with set rules on guided emotional and social responses. The process of picking sides and competing against another gives back more than interaction: in addition to providing opportunities for the strengthening of social ties, of planning and development of strategy, games serve as a platform for structuring aggressions and attractions transparently and in accordance with established rules. While we play, we create temporary correlations between separate events, making us more skilled at winning, losing, learning, forgetting and forgiving. Aleksandar Dimitrijevic (1977) belongs to a generation of contemporary Serbian artists that are finding their place and their visual language amidst the relative isolation of the Serbian art scene and the call of the global art market. The series of paintings Playground on which the artist has been working over the past six years represents the space in which “game” is yet another word for the art world.

Dimitrijevic, already a seasoned presence on the international scene, in his work examines the playroom as a place of critical reflection of reality and as a field of reference for the establishment of certain moral and material values of its players. Reflecting the societal value systems of winning and losing, the canvases explore confrontation and balance, experiment and chance, adopting or changing a stance; the physical presence of players is replaced by signs and gestures with which we attempt to reconstruct their temporary relationships.

By choosing the game as a formal framework of his work, Dimitrijević has started a process of resolving the fragmented and frozen memories through the visual metaphors of a battlefield, regulated by the established rules, as well as the process of personal relationship towards the contemporary arenas of transnational networking, accelerated mutations of capital and consumer flexibility and the systems of global distribution that offer amalgamated models of society which range from multicultural utopias to versions of the Game of Thrones.

Using games as a method of classification of symbolic memory and the abstract painterly gesture as a way of approaching form, in a series of clear, bright works, Dimitrijević sends a series of visual probes into the domains of repressed personal histories, pointing at their fragility and volatility. In a manner similar to Peter Doig or Cy Twombly, Dimitrijević uses not so much the finesse of the individual sign but rather a full orchestration of previously established, individually re-codified rules. The cycle Reconstruction of the Game (started in 2011) thus gave way to the present series Playground, exploring the variations of traces that mark the passage of ‘free’ time – the time spent or wasted by the anonymous players or the artist himself. The transition from the reconstruction of the game (the artist’s attempt to detect and record a certain factuality) in an unbounded playground reflects a space of tension without resolution, where the games become the contact sport of choice within a timeless eternal present. Reflecting on his work several years ago I called it transitional abstraction; but the looming power of the insatiable yet unstable present is not just the residue of the local historic transitions of the 1990s but a determinant of global society in general.

Incorporating games into the narratives of his paintings, Dimitrijević constructs several reference levels for the understanding of his work. We inevitably ask ourselves, does the subjective interpretation of an abstract concept (through the imaginary, yet emotionally invested, games scores) influence our view of an event or a work of art? Is it possible to actively build knowledge of the absurd, of an unpredictable chance in a game, an image, a society? Does the game, with its supportive grid of gestures and results and its relying on chance and luck, possibly offer a more reliable value system than an ideology, an identity, a nation? With the series Playground we remain only partially aware of the dilemmas posed by the game(s), with no way of knowing the actual positions held by the player(s).

Playground only hints at the potential scenarios (the flows, improvisations, moves) through the painterly gestures that span the fragmented tactics, dynamically highlighting or obscuring their different value- and position-markers. The debris that remains on the surface is a mixture of rational and irrational: of event, change, elation, fraud. Game, in this context, expands the awareness of predispositions, feelings and thoughts associated with fragmented memory that oscillates between false starts, vulnerabilities, insecurities and preoccupations. By reconstructing the game onto the canvas, the artist maps the metamorphoses of dialogue (with the other) towards monologue (played for or against oneself); from the incidental scripts that document the game scores between the warring parties towards the artist’s own recording of the process, through attempts to consciously recreate the present tense coordinates such as the dimensions of the painting, time of painting, or own name. In this way the painting becomes a summary of the artist’s inner voices, humming with concentrated effort and multiplied presence, measuring the relationship between loneliness and confrontation.

Dimitrijević’s method of applying paint with various tools on varying surfaces which are then cut, altered or joined leaves the traces of the process that resembles the clipping of ‘factual’ material used for the purpose of political propaganda, as “teleological sequence of significant events or words found in the crevices of the past” (Todor Kuljić). In this fictional space of shifting roles and values, polarisations for and against, in which we are asked to maintain allegiances with the repressed and fragmented selves, Playground stands as a reminder of the nuances, impacts and trends of an authentic experiential present.

Dimitrijević’s paintings somewhat resemble Raymond Queneau’s Exercises of Style or the structural methodology of Georges Perec. By using games of chess, crossword puzzles, lipogrames or palindromes as a template for the construction of a novel, Georges Perec created an aesthetic that “chased its own tail into forgetting”. In a similar way, Playground is a composite of anthropological segments that carry the fragments of past, present and future as a source of a reparative language for the (re)articulation of reality.


Aleksandar Dimitrijevic: Artwork as metagaming and as repository of memory

Aleksandra Lazar

Beograd, Januar 2014.

Aleksandar Dimitrijević, born in Uzice in 1977, is a Serbian mid-transition artist. First and foremost a painter, Dimitrijević works with a variety of materials exploring the terrain of semi-abstract mark making. His work is primarily characterised by gestural painting that gradually develops over periods of time, but has over the last several years moved into multi-dimensional projects and installations that similarly explore the anonymity and transience of memory, which is visually and formally structured through play. Belonging to a generation of artists that attempt to find their place between mythically individualist creativity and socially literate art, between the relative isolation of Serbian art scene and the pull of the globally administered culture industry, Dimitrijević finds himself in a space of rethinking the modality of present and critical engagement with the past – seen inevitably as the “the reference of values”.[1]

Using game as organisational method and abstract gesture as a way to approach form, Dimitrijević creates visual probes into repressed histories, showing their mutability and frailty.

Dimitrijević’s paintings from the 2005-07 contain gestures (script, signs, crosses, lines, marks, smudges, letters and numbers) that will constantly reappear in his subsequent work, structurally and formally maturing. His later works (2010-14) are more harmonious in texture and composition, losing none of the complexity of his early studies. Like his influence Cy Twombly, Dimitrijević works with not so much the finesse of the individual mark, but with the orchestration of a previously uncodified set of personal rules. These marks are frequently (and sometimes exclusively) numbers. The Reconstruction of the game (2011- ongoing) depict variations on game scores: labeled with initials, anonymous individuals repeatedly win and lose against each other. Endless lists of numericals (reminiscent of a much less monochrome and sedated Opalka), record with intense fascination the passing of so-called free time.

In choosing games as a formal framework for paintings, Aleksandar Dimitrijević has embarked on a process of addressing fragmented and frozen memory through visual metaphors of socially structured battlefields. Games – both traditional parlour games and their contemporary virtual alternatives – are competitive, structured social activities with set rules for guided emotional and social response. The process of choosing sides and competing against one another is more than a social ice-breaker: besides providing an opportunity to bolster social bonds, to plan, strategise and understand basic concepts of mathematics, games typically serve as a platform for structured aggression and attraction, and for transparent conformity to the rules. While investing ourselves into games, we create temporary correlations between distinctive events, thus getting better at learning and winning, losing, forgetting and letting go.

By building games into his narrative, Dimitrijević creates several sets of references for subjective interpretation of his work. For me, looking at the Reconstruction of Game (his longest ongoing series of works, from 2004 – ongoing) posed the question: how do we actively construct understanding of events in our lives? How does subjective interpretation of abstract concept impact our opinion (of an event or an artwork)? I asked myself do games (with their support grid of lines and scores, but also reliance on chance and accident) offer a plausible system of values that make the abstract more concrete and memorable?

It appears that this question is in fact a theoretical framework for conflict and cooperation analysis, known as metagaming. This analysis, strategically utilised in politics and operational management, works on the principle that aims and preferences can be specified prior to the decision process and remain fixed during it (so-called Game and Decision theory), or examines the dynamic preference change and problem re-formulation (Drama-theoretic models of choice).[2]

Of course, Dimitrijević does not directly refer to metagaming, which relies on analysis of known aspects of games and scientifically classifies the player’s responses. Looking at Reconstruction of game we are only obliquely, subjectively aware of the dilemmas posed, and have no way of knowing the positions the players took during the game. Instead, Dimitrijević hints at the potential scenarios (progress of game, improvisations, fallbacks) through painterly gesture which bridges the fragmented tactics, dynamically stressing or obscuring its various value- and position-markers. The debris that surfaces after the ‘reconstruction’ is a fluid mix of rational and irrational, of change, elation and deceit.Seemingly random game codes (plus/minus signs, scores, letters) establish a proxy playing field that help the viewer form some deeper link with the abstract body of the painting. It also creates wider awareness of predispositions, feelings and thoughts to do with fragmented memory, of false starts, vulnerabilities, uncertainties, of note-making and mind-mapping that metamorphose from dialogue to monologue, from the score card that ticks off points between the warring parties to the artist’s mind as he journals the process, recording the dimensions, date and time, and nearly always his own name. The painting becomes a sum total of his inner voices, bubbling and humming with concentration and presence against the sense of isolation within the system.

The traces of this system (i.e. the game) remind me of snippets of “factual” material used for construction of history as propaganda. Sociologist Todor Kuljic observes that the history of the nation is written as a teleological sequence of “significant events” or “facts” found in recesses of memory and past, before continuing:

‘The central political beliefs and values [are] imposed through the narration of the revised past. […] The polarisation between false and real memory is not black and white. […] Moreover, the repressed past has legitimacy per se, so do the repressed values. It is also the reason why the current historiography suffers from the extreme ideologization of nationalism. […] It should be underlined that the partisan past was a basis of values which were different from actual ethnocentric values. The new official, invented and reconstructed past influenced the transition through values which were repressed in socialism (nationalism, capitalism, religion). New ruling elites are trying not only to revise history or to rework the past, but to change the values’.[3]

In this uneasy space of changing roles and values, of visible polarisation into good and bad, for and against, in which we are invited to form our own resistance against repressed or fragmented memory, Dimitrijevic’s work stands as a reminder of nuances, complexities, cross-pollinations and reversions that are experientially closer to our memory.

Dimitrijević uses diverse methods of application of paint (brush, broom, sponge, cloth) on varied backgrounds (canvas, hardboard, paper, wall) that he cuts, glues and fuses. Each painting is created over a number of years, and he frequently returns to the old paintings, changing and repainting them. He also uses found incidental drawings, rejected pieces of paper filled with results of game matches, doodles, signatures, pencil tests and other unconscious mark-making by ‘unknown authors’. For the artist, the value of these found drawings is their ‘worthlessness’ to their authors, who attribute no value to the unselfconscious marks beyond the moment in which they were scribbled down. The found drawings or Artefacts are used as a base for collages, installations or are enlarged (manually copied or retraced) onto larger works. They are accurate templates of free time used for play, scores of games showing permutations of killing time.

Apart from the found drawings, Dimitrijević has a collection of his own sketches that are kept on the floor of the studio, where they are habitually stepped on, ripped or damaged over time. These and other incidental markings that occur during his work add own history, to be further incorporated (or obliterated) when they’re recycled as parts of different collages and paintings. A third set of drawings constitute Dimitrijevic’s personal documents and letters, a material proof of value(less) existence: an official statement that the artist is financially dependant on his wife (needed for a travel visa), an art exhibition award completely ‘erased’ with white paint.

Dimitrijevic’s work to date can be seen within three main organisational frameworks:

  1. Reconstruction/deconstruction(memory):

Works such as Reconstruction of game series, as well as others that formally examine the transitional nature of value and meaning, official and personal histories, reinvention and transformation of the repressed memory; of the artist’s name, mark, sign or signature that can be broken up and re-assembled again, playing with its meaning (Point of view, 2013).

Vreme Obnove (Time of Renewal, 2004 – present), is a series of artists books that exemplify deconstruction and residue: formerly glossy, printed art catalogues on which Dimitrijević draws familiar games pitches, fields and visual frameworks (football, hangman). Unlike Gerhard Richter’s Overpainted Photographs, Dimitrijević’s Vreme Obnove works are not content to simply disturb the image surface; they completely void it. The catalogues do not surface either as motive or texture (in contrast to the similar catalogue-drawings of modernist Ivan Tabaković), but become physical carriers of paintings and diptychs of games, distractions, and other recounts of ‘valueless’, lost time. By obscuring (and forgetting) the body of ‘boring high art’ by a new skin of bare gesture and colour, Vreme Obnove are energetic studies in politics and poetry of history.

  1. Commemoration (remembrance):

Works that challenge and obfuscate oblivion: artefacts that commemorate events, intrusions, impasses, surprises, obscurities; artefacts that monumentalise memory through enhanced linguistic, visual and mathematical gestures; receipts and incidental drawings.

A point, or full stop, is an essential and arguably the strongest individual element as well as subject of painting. Dimitrijević’s enlarged handwritten point (macroscopically unwrapped into a nervous compact line) serves as the motif on a large-scale interactive 2D puzzle, the familiar format of the popular numerical toy.[4] By changing places of blocks in the puzzle, different aspects are set in formation. The point of view (2013), the work’s title, suggests that by changing places of the squares we get a new painting each time: a thwarted promise of difference and change. From which point of view is this work ‘true’ or ‘false’? The missing square, fundamental to the process of moving the blocks, renders it at the same time functional and incomplete.

  1. Residue(archive):

Works that embrace oblivion, or function via obscuring or reinterpreting previous meanings; recyclables where authoritarian becomes personal; dust and scraps for sale; archetypes that reassemble themselves; works such as Made in Serbia (2013) that transition from cultural value (wall installation in a gallery) to market value (the artwork is scraped off the walls, bottled into jars and repackaged as art editions). These works offer Phoenix-like parodies of ideologies – ideologies of art, history, individuality.

Dimitrijević’s work reminds me of Oulipo, (the Ouvroir de littérature potentielle or workshop for potential literature), a group of French writers and mathematicians that attempted to unleash new creative potential from often random structures and patterns – linguistic or mathematical. The Exercises in Style of Raymond Queneau or the work of Georges Perec comes to mind. Perec used games as templates for his writing: chess, crossword puzzles, lipograms, palindromes – creating an aesthetic that ‘chased itself around into oblivion’. As an end note to his novel La Disparition (Disappearance), Perec writes: “The language of the Papuans is very impoverished; each tribe has its own language, and its vocabulary is ceaselessly diminished because, after every death, a few words are eliminated as a sign of mourning.” Perec saw this loss of language and memory mirroring the loss of humanity. Like Perec, Dimitrijević discovers loss (of time, self, possibilities, histories) by finding ways to paint it. His works offer composite snapshots of memory, socio-archaeological onion-skins revealing myth and mutability of timecontaining fragmented past, unstablepresent and an unseen, conditioned future.

[1] Todor Kuljić, The New (Changed) Past as Value Factor of Development Sociologija (2006) Vol.XLVIII, No.3. p.219-230.

[2] ‘It is based, in the first instance, on identifying the positions adopted by each participant and the fallbacks threatened if each side’s position is not accepted. It then shows how each position may be subject to one or more dilemmas, and classifies the possible responses to these (including the strategic uses both of emotion and rational argument). This makes it an easily-applied “diagnostic tool” for understanding conflicts and for interpreting and predicting the tactics used.’ Peter Bennett, Confrontation analysis as a diagnostic tool, European Journal of Operational Research, Vol. 109, Issue 2, 1 September 1998, Pages 465–482. See also Nigel Howard, Paradoxes of Rationality: Games, Metagames, and Political Behavior. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1971.

[3] Todor Kuljic, Ibid.

[4] The scribbled, majestically enlarged dot made me think of another quickly memorable and symbolic scribble, the cursive letters ‘to’ that formed the signature of Josip Broz Tito.

Aleksandar Dimitrijević : Slika kao metagaming i kao skladište sećanja

Galiery Remont, Belgrade, Serbia 27. 09 – 15. 10.

In his whole painting volume so far, A.Dimitrijevid, manages openly and persistently a strategy of the ‘”randomly painted- incoherent content” -at the first sight – a mass of drawings placed into the throne of the ”heroic ” area of avant-garde. However, although chaotic and randomly done, without any order or sense, his pictures, despite the distinct references, do not form a logical consecutive order on Dado’s “automatic” work or Surrealism. On the quite opposite, they in fact, hide the organized system of noting the trailers of the whole spectrum of his own personal mood. Constantly and persistently playing with the every day situations , his whole volume can be comprehend as the special and distinct ‘work in progress’. The abstract paintings of the imaginary lazy-free time, the deceivingly prosaic “ordinary life’ of that sphere in which an individual distincts himself or herself from the society he or she lives in, and finally ‘comes back’ to his own- self, are only apolitical and socially indifferent at the first sight. Lazyness as a theme, like a specific state distincts itself from the whole opus and becomes the crucial argument for understanding A.Dimitrijevic’s work. It is tightly connected with the very process of randomly-painted content, but also as a philosophical reference. – the philosophical reference that holds the whole comprehensive and value system that the artist creates. It references on the artist’s social status, on the common opinion of artists who lead bohemian lives, on all the problems of modern art practice. Having chosen the very media of the oil painting as his primary choice. A.Dimitrijevic varies formats from monumental to miniatures, and in that way, pointing out those multiple meanings of his art paintings. Far apart from the every-day- moment prosaicness, his pictures hide deeper sense. His engagement is quite subtle, but not double meaningful; it is persistent and humorous. He repeats the ‘randomly’ chosen mass of drawings thoughtfully, placing highly the world of the personal, every-day life on the level of the public first-rate event. The exhibition of A.Dimitrijevic.’s work in ” Remont” gallery is that ‘kind of event’ that those ‘dailies’ turns into the social ones. The artistic existence as a daily event, is his way to talk about the society, politics, art. He touches the status of art and an artist in today’s world very much. but. without the pompous egzibicionism typical for the affirmative artists of the ‘critical’ position. The thing that distincts him and places him into the distinct position among the young- artist generation is the persistent everyday-effort of the stubborn painting. Painting as a profession, as an existence, as an identity. And the numerous amount of pictures as a trail of such a life-choice. As far as A.Dimitrijevic is concerned, the art of painting is -to be an artist. That is quite enough. Dimitrijevic’s paintings piied up the space of the gallery. He has, in certain sense, ‘wrapped’ his walls with his own work turning them into the “depot”, into the artist’s studio. The amount of pictures done symbolically referrers to the piling-up art work because of the vague placement i.e. the exposition of his work at the hardly functional art market, but, also, an inability of selling one of the “prosaic” conditions of the very existence of the artist. Turning the space of his gallery into the very special ‘depot’, and by the way he organizes his paintings, he is pointing out on the art work as an extra,the unnecessary work and pointing out on the art as an unneeded profession in Serbia today. In the system that functions on the basis of inertness and the enthusiasm that is bordered with madness, the very profession of dealing with the art looses its meaning and turns into curiosity. Thus, the Gallery and the Artist’s work space do not differ from the old concept of “wunderkamme” .the miracle room or the cabinet of rarities. According to its special symbolism, the ‘cabinet of rarities’ is similar to the author’s studious, the pre -studio of the art, the atelier previously intended for scientific and pseudo-scientific “hocus-pocus-es”. It was founded in the 16 century, in the time when the ultimate way of knowledge was the way of hermetic operations close to occult mysticism, the very space of cabinet of rarities, the studio, the atelier, was in a way, isoiated from the rest of the space. Always isolated in the way, with the secret passages, hidden behind the labyrinth of corridors, that Renaissance prototype of gallery, in fact, refers to obscurity of the contemporary art of Serbia. The Gallery which is the ultimate public place, by definition, turns into its own oppositc-into an obscure place of something different, something unknown and mystical in the sea of the recognized and legitimate public places, dominated by shops, cafes, casinos, etc. The same could be said for the artist’s studio -the place where everything starts and ends. Dimitrijevic’s pictures should be observed as parts of the wider entity. Only as parts of the whole entity they keep the context of the constitution of an artistic identity. In Serbia, today with unregulated position of an artist in the society when the art became the victim of commercial culture, criminal and the daily-political needs, this is the deed worth respecting.

Curator Saša Janjć

Galerija Remont_2010.

Izložba slika Aleksandra Dimitrijevića

U čitavom svom dosadašnjem slikarskom opusu Aleksandar Dimitrijević otvoreno i dosledno sprovodi strategiju nasumičnog nabacivanja, na prvi pogled nepovezanog sadržaja – žvrljotina, ustoličenu u „herojsko“ doba avangarde. Međutim, iako naizgled haotične i nasumično urađene, bez ikakvog reda i smisla, Dimitrijevićeve slike se, uprkos jasnim referencama, suštinski ne nadovezuju na „automatističke“ radove Dade i Nadrealizma. Upravo suprotno: one zapravo kriju jedan organizovani sistem beleženja tragova čitavog spektra ličnih stanja. Kontinuirano i uporno se poigravajući sa situacijama svakodnevnog, čitav Dimitrijevićev dosadašnji opus se može tumačiti kao jedan svojevrsni „work in progres“. Apstraktne slike imaginarne dokolice, prividno prozaičnog „običnog“ života, one sfere u kojoj se pojedinac odmiče od društva i konačno „vraća“ samom sebi, samo su na prvi pogled apolitične i socijalno indiferentne. Već sam medij ulja na platnu, kao i variranje formata od izrazito monumentalnog, do minijature, ukazuje na višeznačnost Dimitrijevićevih slika. Daleko od prozaičnosti svakodnevnog trenutka, njegove slike kriju dublji smisao. Njegov aktivizam  je suptilniji, ali nedvosmislem, istrajan i duhovit. On promišljeno ponavlja „nasumično“ odabrane žvrljotine uzdužući svet ličnog i svakodnevnog na nivo javnog događaja prvog reda.

Izložba Dimitrijevićevih radova u galeriji Remont je „taj događaj“ koji ono svakodnevno tematizuju u društveno: umetnička egzistencija kao svakodnevica je njegov način da govori o društvu, politici i umetnosti. Bez pompeznog egzibicionizma, tipičnog za priznate umetnike „kritičke“ pozicije, Dimitrijević se i te kako dotiče stausa i pozicije same umetnosti i umetnika u današnjem društvu. Ono što njega stavlja u istaknutu poziciju među umetnicima mlađe generacije je istrajno, svakodnevno, tvrdoglavo slikanje: Slikanje kao profesija, kao  egzistencija, kao identitet. I nebrojena količina slika kao trag tog životnog izbora. Slikanje je za Dimitrijevića – biti umetnik. I to je sasvim dovoljno.

Dimitrijevićeve slike zatrpavaju prostor galerije. On se u izvesnom smislu „tapacira“ radovima i pretvara u depo, umetnikov studio. Sama količina radova simbolično referiše na gomilanje usled slabog „plasmana“ na skoro nepostojećem tržištu, ali i nemogućnost prodaje, jednog od „prozaičnog“ uslova same egzistencije umetnika. Pretvarajući prostor galerije u svojevrstan depo, semantika postavke ukazuje na umetnička dela kao višak, a umetnost kao nepotrebnu profesiju u Srbiji danas. U sistemu koji fukcioniše po inerciji i entuzijazmu koji se graniči sa ludilom, sama profesija i bavljenje umetnošću gubi smisao i pretvara se u kuriozitet. Tako se i sama Galerija ili umetnikov radni prostor ne razlikuju od starog koncepta wunderkammer, sobe čuda ili tzv. kabineta retkosti. Po svojoj prostornoj simbolici, kabinet retkosti je srodan istovremenom studiolu, prapočetku umetnikovog ateljea, prvobitno namenjenom naučnom i pseudonaučnim hokus-pokusima.  Nastao u 16. veku, u vreme kada su se pod ultimativnim putem znanja podrazumevale hermetične operacije bliske okultnom misticizmu, sam prostor kabineta retkosti, studiolla, ateljea, bio je nekako izopšten, udaljen od ostatka prostora. Uvek nekako zavučen, sa tajnim prolazima i sakriven iza lavirinta hodnika, taj „renesansni prototip“ zapravo referiše na opskurnost savremene umetnosti u Srbiji. Sakrivenoj u tržnom centru, sama galerija, koja je po definiciji ultimativni javni prostor, pretvara se u svoju suprotnost – opskurno mesto „drugog“, nečeg neprepoznatog i misterioznog u moru priznatih i legitimnih javnih prostora, u kojoj dominiraju kockarnice, prodavnice, kafići itd.

Dimitrijevićeve slike treba posmatrati kao segmente šire celine. Samo kao delovi celine, one zadržavaju kontekst konstituisanja jednog umetničkog identiteta. U Srbiji danas, sa neregulisanom pozicijom umetnika u društvu, kada je umetnost postala žrtva komercijalne kulture, kriminala i dnevnopolitičkih potreba, to je podvig vredan poštovanja.

Saša Janjić

Beograd 2010.


Contemporary gallery Smederevo, Serbia


Through a long term and very intensive artistic practice of conveying notes and memorandums from various social games onto canvas or objects, Aleksandar Dimitrijević problematizes and puts the numerous phenomena in the limelight; especially those dealing with pastime, the triviality of modern (non)living, interpersonal relationships ,and lastly, with leisure time as one of the basic concepts of neoliberal logic, according to which we work to afford nothing else but our own freedom; a freedom embodied and contained in indisputable phenomena of modernity No1 – leisure.

Dimitrijević does not designate the art of painting itself as the center of his artistic practice, but rather the very problem of leisure and pastime. To him, the painting or any other artistic form is just a media used to manifest his deliberation over this idle time of modernity. The idea underlying Dimitrijević’s art is an indirect dealing with the fundamental relations within the process of creation of an art piece, and the question whether the leisure and it’s products could become the legitimate part of artistic practice. Why is this idea important? Primarily because it somehow identifies the idea of art being a free activity that doesn’t have to depend on any ideological or political concept. Furthermore, art is freed from production and commercial aspects. In free and democratic societies art has always been considered as a bellwether of freedom of thought, and an activity that ’raised’ not only nations, but also the whole civilizations and epochs. It’s power and importance have been recognized by numerous leaders and coutries. It appears that our society and country almost do not recognize art, except perhaps as a minor practice performed in a free time, as a kind of a social game. At present time, in Serbian society, the art itself is observed as an excess, a leisure activity performed in spare time. In his works, and above all with his practice which puts art in the centre of idle time, excess time, Dimitrijević applies ironic strategy, thus emphasizing such invalidation of art imposed by present official cultural politics led in accordance with standards of neoliberal ideology.

The artist indirectly asks himself and all of us a question of the meaning and necessity of practicing art. The majority of artists can not earn a living off art , art is a secondary activity , a side effect. In a situation where the cultural politics practically does not exist and where the institutions that should be the bearers of contemporary artistic production are closed, practicing of art represents an excess, and a hobby, in a way. The parallel which Aleksandar Dimitrijević draws between art and social games that we practice in our leisure time, is a picture, an image of our times. This is also because the artist transfers a given state into some kind of a permanent performans, which, to be honest, isn’t always visible, but which has a plainly defined product in the shape of drawings, paintings and objects. Transformation of numerous dumped items, mostly peaces of paper containing miscellaneous messages, doodles and results of various social games into pieces of art, represents an act of producing a new meaning and a confirmation of one’s own status.

Curator Saša Janjić


Slobodno vreme

Kroz sada već dugododišnju i veoma intenzivnu umetničku praksu prenošenja zapisa i beležaka raznih društvenih igara na platna ili objekte, Aleksandar Dimitrijević problematizuje i postavlja u centar pažnje mnogobrojne fenomene, među kojima se izdajaju oni koje se bave dokolicom, trivijalnošću modernog (ne)življenja, međuljudskim odnosima i na kraju krajeva slobodnim vremenom kao jednim od osnovnih koncepta neoliberalne logike po kojoj mi našim radom kupujemo ništa drugo do sopstvene slobode; Slobode oličene i sadržane u nepobitnom fenomenu modernosti broj jedan – slobodnog vremena.

Dimitrijević kao centar svoje umetničke prakse ne postavlja slikarstvo, već problem slobodnog vremena i dokolice. Slika ili bilo koja druga umetnička forma je za njega samo medij kroz koji se manifestuje njegovo promišljanje tog praznog vremena modernosti. Ideja koja leži u osnovi Dimitrijevićeve umetnosti je posredno bavljenje fundamentalnim odnosima u procesu nastanka umetničkog rada, i pitanje može li dokolica i njeni produkti postati legitimni deo umetničke prakse. Zbog čega je ova ideja važna? Pre svega zato jer na neki način legitimiše ideju o umetnosti kao slobodnoj aktivnosti koja ne mora da zavisi od bilo kakvog ideološkog ili političkog koncepta. Šta više, umetnost je oslobođena ili treba da bude oslobođena proizvodnog i komercijalnog aspekta. U slobodnim i demokratskim društvima umetnost je oduvek smatrana perjanicom slobodnog mišljenja i aktivnosti koje su „uzdizale“ čitave nacije, ali i civilizacije i epohe. Njenu moć i značaj prepoznavali su i sponzorisali mnogobrojni vladari i države. Naše društvo i država skoro da i ne prepoznaju umetnost sem kao minornu praksu koja se izvodi u slobodno vreme kao neku vrstu drštvene igre. U našem vremenu, u srpskom društvu, sama umetnost je dakle posmatrana kao višak, kao dokoličarska praksa koja se izvodi u slobodno vreme.

Dimitrijević svojim radovima, pre svega svojom praksom koja samu umetnost smešta u središte praznog vremena, vremena viška, primenjuje ironijsku strategiju, naglašavajući tako poništenje umetnosti u vizuri današnje oficijelne kulturne politike vođene prema standardima neoliberalne ideologije. Umetnik posredno postavlja sam sebi ali i svima nama pitanje smisla i neophodnosti bavljenja umetnošću. Od umetnosti se u Srbiji uglavnom ne može živeti, ona je sporedna aktivnost i nus pojava. U situaciji kada kulturna politika praktično ne postoji i kada su glavne institucije koje bi trebalo da budu nosioci savremene umetničke produkcije zatvorene, bavljenje umetnošću predstavlja eksces, i na neki način hobi. Paralela koju Aleksandar Dimitrijević pravi između umetnosti i društvenim igrama koje praktikujemo u slobodno vreme, je slika stanja našeg vremena. Takođe i zbog toga jer umetnik prevodi jedno stanje u neku vrstu permnentnog performansa, koji istina nije uvek vidljiv, ali koji ima jasno definisan produkt u obliku crteža, slika i objekata. Transformacija mnogobrojnih odbačenih predmeta, uglavnom papira sa raznim porukama, žvrljotinama i rezultatima raznih društvenih igara u umetnička dela, predstavlja čin proizvođenja novog značenja i potvrđivanja sopstvenog statusa.

Kustos Saša Janjić



This text was publihed as a catalogue essay for the solo show  at City Gallery Užice, Serbia, 2013.

“New painting has broken down every distinction between art and life”

Harold Rosenberg

There’s a few artists on our scene, especially painters, who have had, so vital development like Aleksandar Dimitrijević, in last ten years. Acknowledged by his colleagues for his recognizable consistent manner, he demonstrated freedom simultaneously to be traditional and insist on innovation. What defines Aleksandar Dimitrijević as competent artist is not only perfect control of his own technical resources, but balanced brave search for him self. His interest from the very begining is on the side of big art and he has already done enough to ensure himself a place on that side.

Aleksandar Dimitrijević’s painting is the act with which the artist gives himself a right to immerse in to art. Since the act of painting was proclaimed as art work per se, way back in the middle of 20th century, Dimitrijević’s “immersing” into his own expression isn’t innovation. Still, we can notice perfect knowledge of subtle relations between automatism of his own creation, spontaneity and symbolism. Starting from motives of board games notes, Dimitrijević builds his own pictographic system of abstract figures, signs, lines. He is free enough, his own enough to praise and perpetuate human’s need to, through leisure time and board games, build personal social relations. He transposes accidentally found artifacts into art work. “Artifacts” by Dimitrijević, consisted of found drawings – notes of unknown people, gathered and organized into one unity, explore characters, interests and habits of an unknown author. Using the method of inversion, the artist analytically approaches the information conveyed by visual language on a peace of paper, searching for the character and profile of the author of the note, mostly in order to transfer identical graphism on huge surface.

Pictographic system established on Dimitrijević’s works is immense field of variables. What we are used to when talking about Dimitrijević’s artistic expression is diversity of formats and surfaces (canvas, wall, puzzles). What can surprise us even more are his explorations of coloring. Positive-negative relation is often present. Centrifugal forms of purified pictograms on monochromatic background of puzzle are result of years of devotion to the motive, and they go into the field of questioning of concepts according to theory of color and space. This way the initial need for articulation of each peace of surface, using chromatic and graphic details, is being reduced and purified. Drawing is clear and direct, coloring in the synthesis with graphisms. Images are given frontal. Simple sequences of symbols are fitted into format. The beauty of the simplicity is emphasized.

Dimitrijević is one of a few of our artists who succeeds today to avoid the choice between either political or aesthetic in art. His decision to paint and only to paint sets him free from big social dilemmas and demands to change the world. With his own authentic style and choice of topic, Dimitrijević documents the world around him and matherializes experience of reality, breaks down distinction between art and life.

Slađana Petrović Varagić

january,  2013


„Novo slikarstvo je izbrisalo svaku razliku između umetnosti i života“

 Harold Rosenberg

Malo je umetnika na domaćoj sceni, posebno slikara, koji su poput Aleksandra Dimitrijevića, u poslednjih desetak godina, imali tako vitalan razvoj. Prihvaćen od strane struke na osnovu svog prepoznatljivog konzistentnog manira, pokazao je slobodu da paralelno biva i tradicionalan, ali i da insistira na inovativnosti. Ono što Aleksandra Dimitrijevića određuje kao kompetentnog umetnika, nije samo savršeno vladanje sopstvenim tehničkim resursima, već odmereno ali i hrabro traganje za samim sobom. Njegovo interesovanje je od samog početka na strani velike umetnosti i on je učinio već dovoljno da sebi osigura mesto na toj strani.

 Slikarstvo Aleksandra Dimitrijevića, čin je kojim umetnik sebi daje za pravo da se sa umetnošću saživljava. Budući da je slikarski čin još sredinom 20. veka proglašavan za umetničko delo po sebi, Dimitrijevićevo „uživljavanje“ u sopstveni rukopis, nije novina. Ipak u njegovom radu uočavamo savršeno poznavanje suptilnih odnosa između automatizma sopstvenog čina, spontanosti i simbolike. Polazeći od motiva beleški društvenih igara, Dimitrijević gradi sopstveni piktografski sistem apstraktnih ispisa cifara, znakova, linija. Dovoljno je slobodan, dovoljno svoj da veliča i ovekoveči ljudsku potrebu da dokolicom i društvenim igrama gradi lične socijalne odnose. Slučajno pronađene artefakte transponuje u umetnička dela. Dimitrijevićevi „Artefаkti“ sаčinjeni od pronаđenih crtežа – zаbeleški nepoznаtih ljudi, sаkupljeni i orgаnizovаni i jednu celinu, istrаžuju kаrаktere, interesovаnjа i nаvike nepoznаtog аutorа. Metodom inverzije, umetnik аnаlitički pristupа informаciji sаopštenoj vizuelnim jezikom nа pаrčetu hаrtije, trаgаjući zа kаrаkаterom i profilom аutorа sаmogа zаpisа, u nаmeri dа nаjčešće prenese identičаn grаfizаm nа veliku površinu.

 Piktografski sistem uspostavljen na Dimitrijevićevim radovima nepregledno je polje varijabli. Ono na šta smo navikli kada je u pitanju Dimitrijevićev likovni izraz, jeste raznovrsnost formata i podloga (platno, zid, slagalice). Njegova istraživanja po pitanju kolorita nas tek mogu iznenaditi. Odnos negativ-pozitiv često je prisutan. Centrifugalne forme pročišćenih piktograma na monohromatskoj pozadini slagalice, rezultat su dugogodišnje posvećenosti motivu, a zalaze na polje preispitivanja koncepata prema teoriji boje i prostora. Na ovaj način se prvobitna potreba za artikulisanjem svakog delića površine, hromatskim i grafičkim detaljima, svodi i pročišćava. Crtež je jasan i direktan, kolorit u sintezi sa grafizmima. Slike su date frontalno. Jednostavni znakovni nizovi ukljopljeni su u formate. Naglašena je lepota jednostavnosti.

 Dimitrijević je jedan od ređih umetnika koji danas uspeva da izbegne izbor između ili političkog ili estetskog u umetnosti. Njegova odluka da slika i samo da slika oslobodila ga je krupnih društvenih dilema i zahteva da menja svet. Sopstvenim autentičnim rukopisom i izborom teme, Dimitrijević dokumentuje svet oko sebe i materijalizuje doživljaj stvaranosti, briše razliku između umetnosti i života.

Slađana Petrović Varagić

 januar, 2013


Art project (Aleksandar Dimitrijević and Danica Karaičić)

 “Clothed paintings” is joint project of two young artists, Aleksandar Dimitrijević and Danica Karaičić, conceived as unusual hybrid of clothing and painting. One of clear results of this fusion are garments composed from peaces of fabric to which, previously,cuts and peaces of textiles, from randomly chosen garments, had been transposed. Garments made this way would rather be „symbol of clothing than clothing itself“, and this „embodiment“ of art actually aspires to, in Danica’s words, reassess our established ideas about ways in which we observe contemporary art. The works born this way, that could be defined also as clothed paintings, in a funny way pose a series of questions about contemporary society, relation between the act of consuming and observing, observing and intimacy, intimacy and hiding, hiding and revealing.

The connections between cloths, patterns and painting, the three things that make the tissue of this project, and which are imposing themselves as separate entities in the very process, have pushed its developement in unexpected, and even surprising directions.

Danica’s previous experience in work with fabrics and shapes she has created so far, imply compleetely authentic creation that balances between fashion and performance. Her work has been moving so far towards questioning of old, as well as discovering of new forms which combine experiences of contemporary architecture and experimental fashion design. On the other hand the paintings of Aleksandar Dimitrijević were creaed as his „appendix“ or „introduction“ to the project. Instead of just being the basis for a pattern which is then being cut and tailored into garment-pictures, the cuts gain new meaning and purpose. Recognizing their visual peculiarity, Dimitrijević, by his transposing to the canvas, converts these tailoring patterns along with all their specific graphic aesthetics into a painting, a work of art.

The pictures made this way are taking the cue from Dimitrijevic’s previous obsession by traces of human activities, but this time instead of using grafic templates as cast away papers for social games that fill the leisure time, Aleksandar takes the cuts, as traces of a process which contains creativity, but also planning, both in the very center of fundamental human need for structure. That result maybe isn’t a coincidence, especially considering that this is the project of cooperation between one painter (Dimitrijević) and an architect (Karaičić).

Garment/painting which these two artists make is a process that also means a game with often unceartain outcoms. The other would be interactive study performance  „Shaking hands“ which is successfully continuing performances of Danica Karaičić. Concieved as a call for literally „clothing a painting“, which this time keeps its 2 dimensional form, that is a call to go behind the canvas and put a hand into the sleave tailored to the canvas and in that way to shake hands with obesrver, or to wave a hand to present audience.

Working in pair, the artists let themsevles into the game instead of „just“ presenting it on their paintings, viz garments. In his previous works Dimitrijević was dealing with ambivalent nature of the game and that nature shows itself in this project as well. Danica, on the other hand, insisted on investigating which was very often permeated with moments caracteristic to the very process of the game. The game is connected to relationships, but this time between painting and clothing, between two artists – two persons. This „relationship“ is one of preoccupations of this project. Research, dialogue, playing and compeeting, these are the elements of the project.

On the other hand, one of parts of the game is uncertainty, and these artists’ awareness of it makes this project flexible and, by this, open for new exploration. From the initial concept of „embodied image“ and basic technique of „playing with patterns“, it actually overgrows the questions posed at the begining, and adds one more question to the reflections about relation between the art and the audience, about consumeristic nature of picture observing, that is the question about the very process of creating as well as the question about artistic space in which it takes part, diverting the focus from the compleeted work of art and the perception of it to the begining, to idea and the process, taking us back from reflection about public space and exposure to views to intimate space and the act of creation, form observing to introspection, from distant and public to closeness and private.

Starting from the space of the art studio in which the whole project was taking place, thematization of the space has gradually crystalized as a category of creation and observation of the art,  as one more structure which, paradoxically, like garments, both protects and exposes, covers and shows. Katarina Mitrović, art histori


Umetnički projekat (Aleksandar Dimitrijević i Danica Karaičić)

 “Clothed paintings” je zajednički projekta dvoje mladih umetnika Aleksandra Dimitrijevića i Danice Karaičić zamišljenom kao čudnom hibridu između odeće i slikarstva. Kao jedan od jasno smišljenih rezultata ove fuzije bili su odevni komadi sastavljeni od komada platna na koji su prethodno transponovani krojevi i komadi tekstila  od nasumično odabranih odevnih premeta. Ovako nastali odevni predmeti bi bili više “simbol odeće nego sama odeća”, a ovo ostvareno “otelotvorenje” umetnosti  zapravo teži da, po rečima Danice Karaičić, preispita naša uvrežena shvatanja o načinima na koji posmatramo savremenu umetnost. Ovako nastali radovi, koji se mogu definisati i kao slike koje se oblače, na duhovit način postavljaju niz pitanja o savremenom društvu, odnosu između činova konzumerizma i posmatranja, posmatranja i intimnosti, intimnosti i sakrivanja, sakrivanja i otkrivanja.

Veze između odeće, šablona i slike, tri stvari koje čine tkivo ovog projekta i koje su se nametnule kao posebni entiteti u samom procesu su uticale na njegov razvoj u nepredviđenim, pa čak i iznenađujućim pravcima. Danicino iskustvo u radu sa tkaninama i forme koje je do sada kreirala nagoveštavaju jednu sasvim autentičnu tvorevinu koja balansira između mode i performansa. Njen dosadašnji rad se kretao u pravcu preispitivanja kako starih tako i otkrivanju novih formi koje u sebi spajaju iskustava savremen arhitekture i eksperimentalnog modnog dizajna. Sa druge slike Aleksandra Dimitrijevića su nastale kao njegov “dodatni deo” ili “uvod” u sam projekat. Umesto da samo posluže kao osnova za šablon koji se potom seče i ukraja u odevne predmete/slike, krojevi dobijaju novo značenje i smisao. Prepoznavanjem njihove vizuelne osobenosti, Dimitrijević svojim prenošenjem na platno, ove krojačke šablone sa njihovom specifičnom grafičkom estetikom pretvara u sliku, umetničko delo.

Ovako nastale slike nadovezuju se na Dimitrijevićevu raniju opsednutost tragovima ljudske aktivnosti, ali ovog puta umesto da kao grafičke predloške koristi odbačene papiriće igara koje ispunjavanju dokolicu, Aleksandar uzima krojeve, kao tragove jednog procesa koji u sebi sadrži i kreativnost, ali i planiranje, oba u središtu fundamentalne ljudske potrebe za stukturom. Takav ishod možda nije slučajnost posebno kada se uzme u obzir da je ovo projekat saradnje između jednog slikara (Dimitrijević) i arhitekte (Karaičić). Odeća/slika koju prave ovo dvoje umetnika jeste i proces koji podrazumeva igru sa često neizvesnim ishodima. Drugi bi bio interaktivni studijski performans “Shaking hands” koji se uspešno nadovezuje na performanse Danice Karaičić. Zamišljen kao poziv da se doslovno “obuče slika”, koja ovog puta zadržava svoju dvodimenzionalnu formu, odnosno zađe iza platna i ubaci ruka u prišiveni rukav i time rukuje sa posmatračem ili maše prisutnima.

Radeći u paru, umetnici se upuštaju u igru, umesto da je “samo” predstavlja na svojim slikama odnosno odevnim predmetima. U svojim dosadašnjim radovima Dimitrijević se bavio ambivalentnom prirodom igre, a ta priroda se pokazala i u ovom projektu. Danica je sa druge strane takođe insistirala na istraživanju koje je često bilo prožeto momentima koji su karakteristični za sam proces igre. Igra je vezana za odnose, ali sada između slikarstva i odeće, dvoje umetnika – dve osobe. Ovaj “odnos” jedna je od preokupacija ovog projekta. Istraživanje, dijalog, igranje i nadigravanje, to su njegovi elementi.   

S druge strane, deo igre je i neizvesnost, a svest ovo dvoje umetnika o tome čini ovaj projekat fleksibilnim i samim tim i otvorenim za nova istraživanja. Od početnog koncepta “otelotvorene slike” i bazičnog postupka “igre šablonima”, on zapravo prerasta pitanja postavljena na početku i u razmišljanja o odnosu između umetnosti i publike, o konzumerskoj prirodi posmatranja slika, uključuje i pitanje o samom procesu stvaranja   i umetničkom prostoru u kome se ono odvija, preusmeravajući time fokus sa dovrešenog umetničkog dela i njegovu precepciju, na početak, na ideju i proces, vraćajući nas sa razmišljanja o javnom prostoru i izlaganju pogledima, na intimni prostor i čin stvaranja, sa posmatranja na introspekcija, sa distanciranog i javnog, na bliskost i privatno. Polazeći od prostora samog umetničkog studija u kome se odvija čitav projekat, postepeno se kristalisala tematizacija prostora kao kategorije stvaranja i posmatranja umetnosti, kao još jednoj strukturi koja, paradoksalno, poput odeće, istovremeno i štiti i ogoljuje, pokriva i pokazuje. Katarina Mitrović, istoričarka umetnosti

Clothed Paintings


This text was publihed as a catalogue essay for the solo show,,Idleness,,  at Gallery ,,Belgrade,, Serbia , 2008.


The artist linked all the works presented at this exhibition by giving them a joint title “Leisure Time.” And if we can recall the idle moments of our life when we played a game of cards, threw dice or played other social games whose traces represent the basic motif of all of Dimitrijevid’s works, we can identify them as moments of pause, rest, leisure.
Such moments of leisure enable us to relax while numerous variations of subconscious records are created that intertwine with factual information which reminds us of the reality of the moment (a signature, a date, the names of the players). Dimitrijevid transfers the course of the game onto canvas, paper, or cardboard and it becomes a basic document of a specific, at first glance, banal event. The artist is focused on these very records which reflect the atmosphere and the state of mind. He recreates them, each time anew, challenges and experiences them, indirectly giving us a reflection of contemporary society.
Dimitrijevid is committed to classical techniques of painting, paying special attention to the creative act itself. Although expressive in character, he consciously directs the creative process towards documenting those forms of reality that can be found on the other side of the visible. The fine art elements, the line and color, that represent the primary language of Dimitrijevid’s work create the high dynamics and drama by creating prints of situations taken from daily life burdened by loss, victory, success, disappointment, happiness, stress, hysteria, depression, euphoria.
In the world of modern technologies, accelerated dynamics of life and a precisely formed aesthetics that is constantly imposed on us, it may seem that Dimitrijevid’s work is abstract in its essence. However, if we find the strength to pause and look at the piece of paper showing the results of a just finished game of cards, before it is thrown into the dustbin, we will see reality in its most picturesque form.
This recalled image that remains detained in our subconscious and which is not present in our daily visual experience of the world is what Dimitrijevid uncompromisingly confronts us with: a crumpled piece of paper documents the very moment when the experience of reality is materialized. In that sense, Dimitrijevid is a tireless explorer, activist, and analyst of contemporary society. In his work he saves the discarded, records the forgotten, paints the invisible, and speaks the suppressed.

Milica Pekić


Tekst povodom samostalne izložbe..Dokolica,, u Beogradskoj prodajnoj galerij, 2008.

Radove predstavljene na ovoj izložbi autor objedinjuje nazivom “Dokolica”. I zaista, ako se setimo momenata u životu kada smo odigrali partiju karata, kockica ili neke slične društvene igre, čiji su tragovi osnovni motiv na svim Dimitrijevidevim radovima, možemo ih okarakterisati kao trenutke predaha, odmora, dokolice.
Ovakvi trenutci dokolice otvaraju mogudnost za relaksaciju tokom koje nastaje bezbroj varijacija podsvesnih zapisa ispreplitanih sa konkretnim informacijama koje podsedaju na realnost trenutka (potpis, datum, imena igrača). Dimitrijevid na platno, papir ili karton prenosi tok igre koja postaje osnov dokumenta jednog specifičnog, na prvi pogled, banalnog događaja. Upravo ovakve beleške na kojima se oslikava atmosfera i stanje duha nalaze se u fokusu autorovog interesovanja. Umetnik ih svaki put iznova rekreira, izaziva i proživljava, posredno oslikavajudi savremeno društvo.
Dimitrijevid ostaje privržen klasičnim slikarskim tehnikama u okviru kojih posebnu pažnju posveduje samom stvaralačkom aktu. Iako ekspresivan po karakteru, proces stvaranja autor svesno usmerava na dokumentovanje one realnosti koja se nalazi sa druge strane vidljivog. Likovne elemente, liniju i boju, kao primarni jezik svog rada Dimitrijevid dovodi do pune dinamike i drame kreirajudi otiske situacija iz svakodnevnog života opteredenih gubitkom, pobedom, uspehom, razočarenjem, sredom, stresom, histerijom, depresijom, euforijom.
U vremenu savremenih tehnologija, ubrzane dinamike života i precizno oblikovane estetike sveta koja nam se namede na svakom koraku, može nam se učiniti da je Dimitrijevidev rad u osnovi apstraktan. Ipak, ukoliko smognemo snage da zadržimo pogled na papiru sa rezultatima upravo zvršene partije karata, pre nego što odbačen završi u kanti za đubre, ukazade nam se realnost u svojoj najslikovitijoj formi.
Upravo ta prepoznatljiva slika koja ostaje zarobljena u podsvesti i nije prisutna u svakodnevnom vizuelnom doživljaju sveta koji nas okružuje, u Dimitrijevidevom radu nas beskompromisno suočava sa zgužvanim papirom kao dokumentom trenutka u kome se materijalizuje doživljaj realnosti. U tom smislu Dimitrijevid je neumorni istraživač, aktivista i analitičar savremenog društva. Kroz svoj rad on čuva odbačeno, beleži zaboravljeno, oslikava nevidljivo i govori predutkivano.

Milica Pekić


Mudrost je najviše znanje; znanje onoga da je život lep, ali besciljan, nema značenja, nema smisla. Da čovek postoji znači samo da postoji.

Bela Hamvaš

Dosada je autentično ljudsko iskustvo, toliko opšte da zahvata sve ljude i sasvim je posebno, jer svakog pogađa na drugačiji način. Egzistencijalna dosada – ona koja nije uslovljena situacijom, već predstavlja duboko, temeljno osećanje sveta – proizilazi iz nedostatka opšteg smisla. Romantičarsko traganje za ličnim smislom, koje karakteriše moderni subjekt, samoobmanjujući je i uzaludan posao jer je smisao nešto što nadilazi individualno postojanje.[1]Nepristajanje na besmislenost egzistencije pokreće nas u pravcu postavljanja i postizanja ciljeva kao nečega što se nalazi na kraju iskustava i u retrospektivi čini iskustvo smislenim. Ako cilj ne postoji, a čak i kada postoji, treba do njega ubiti vreme, jer doživljaj (ne)proticanja vremena je ono što, na prvom mestu, čini dosadu mogućom.

Stalan motiv slikarskog opusa Aleksandra Dimitrijevića je univerzalno sredstvo za ubijanje vremena – društvena igra. Bilo koja aktivnost može biti usmerena ka ubijanju vremena. Vreme se može ubiti kartanjem, ali isto tako i slikanjem. Slikarstvo 20. veka je paradigmatičan primer transgresije koja podrazumeva neprestanu potragu za novim i stalnu potrebu za prekoračenjem granica u bekstvu od dosade. Ipak, skloni smo da igranje igara smatramo aktivnošću nižeg reda, odnosno da umetničko stvaranje proglasimo transcendentnim, pre nego transgresivnim iskustvom.[2] Razlog može biti u tome što je stvaranje autentično romantičarski odgovor na zahtev za samoproizvođenjem smisla, a umetnik se u romantizmu, kao i u modernizmu, pojavljuje kao ultimativni stvaralac; ponekad sa tako značajnom posledicom da odmenjuje mrtvog Boga.

Dimitrijević iščitava pobede, poraze, mat pozicije igrača, čovekovu potrebu za nadmetanjem sa drugima i sa samim sobom, sve one odnose kroz koje otkrivamo svet iz beležaka o rezultatima igre, koje sakuplja kao nekakav forenzički socijalni antropolog [3]. Preko nadmetanja upoznajemo još jedno specifično ljudsko iskustvo, a to je osećaj usamljenosti u zajednici. Neophodnost pripadanja, koja se delimično zadovoljava potenciranjem sličnosti/jednakosti, ugrožena je takmičarskim duhom, prinudom da se bude prvi među jednakima, što čini međuljudske odnose beskrajno komplikovanim. U brojevima, reckama, tablicama, plusevima i minusima Dimitrijević čita sa papirića odbačenih nakon igre ovu raspolućenost subjekta,  ili, kako kaže, stalnu ljudsku potrebu za stvaranjem suprotnosti.[4]U kontekstu društvenih igara odnosi se pojednostavljuju i verovatno je to jedan od razloga zašto mnogi uživaju u njima. Odnosi u društvenim igrama uspostavljaju se unutar čvrstog okvira i definisani su unapred određenim pravilima. Ipak, preciznost pravila ne čini ih manje proizvoljnim i ona ne slede nikakvu logiku izvan logike same igre. Odnos između dvoje u igri je stoga strukturiran na način koji nije prevashodno uslovljen karakterom, iskustvom i stremljenjima igrača, već pravilima igre. Igra je uvek i iskustvo i surogat iskustva, i život i simulacija življenja u kontrolisanoj sredini.

Kodirani zapisi rezultata igre su konstanta u serijama crteža i slika, koja umetnikov opus čini koherentnim. Serija Rekonstrukcija igre može predstavljati pokušaj utvrđivanja kauzalnosti. Povezivanje izolovanih incidenata na uzročno-posledičan način otkriva potrebu za izvesnošću, još jednu tipično ljudsku osobinu. Nasuprot tome, slike-table, klizeće slagalice i trodimenzionalna struktura nalik Rubikovoj kocki, ukazuju na fragmentiranost savremenog ljudskog iskustva i značaj slučaja za ishod igre/života. Mada ovladavanje pravilima u velikoj meri obezbeđuje kontrolu nad igrom, faktor slučajnosti utiče na konačan ishod više od veštine igrača. Početnička sreća je dokaz za to. Ukoliko slučaj upravlja igrom više nego majstorstvo igrača, utoliko je ona neizvesnija i više liči na život. Ovo posebno važi za igre lako savladivih pravila kao što su jamb, tablić, iks-oks i većina onih čije tragove vidimo na Dimitrijevićevim radovima. Na taj način igra, koja ne pripada ozbiljnim, konstituišućim aspektima života, postaje životnija od svakodnevne stvarnosti. Borba, saučešće, rivalitet, konačni uspeh ili neuspeh nisu manje stvarni samo zbog toga što se doživljavaju na terenu igre. Teren igre nije ništa drugo do polje u kojem se saživljavamo, u kojem se usamljenost na trenutak povlači pred osećanjem saučešća, deljenja iskustva (makar trivijalnog, kao što je kartaroško nadigravanje).

Bez poznavanja konteksta, Dimitrijevićevo slikarstvo bi izgledalo apstraktno i kriptično da na svakoj slici ne postoji referenca koja nas upućuje na njeno poreklo – signatura, datiranje i tehnički opis slike kao bitan deo kompozicije. Na ovaj način Dimitrijević smešta i sebe među igrače, kao što poziva posmatrača da se aktivno uključi u igru stvaranja umetnosti, što je posebno evidentno u seriji interaktivnih slika Slagalica.

Subjekt je obeležen samosvešću, još jednom specifično ljudskom osobinom, koja nas postvaruje pred samim sobom i čini nas pasivnim. Ali postoje retki trenuci u kojima je svest o sebi zamagljena i to su, između ostalog, trenuci prepuštanja igri kada se čovek realizuje kroz neposrednost i spontanost, uprkos pravilima ili možda baš zahvaljujući jasnim pravilima. Pravila su neophodnost, jer bez njih nije moguće uvesti red u haos, nije moguće praviti razgraničenja. Da bi se nešto razlikovalo, ono se mora izdvojiti iz pozadine, mora se ograničiti da bi uopšte postojalo. Brojevi, azbuka, mrežne strukture koje se izdvajaju iz pozadine Dimitrijevićevih slika su rezultat napora uređivanja sveta i utvrđivanja granica, jer je granica mesto na kome se dešava kontakt. Granica između slikara i posmatrača je platno.

Ako postavimo sebe pred sliku (kao zainteresovanog sagovornika), umesto sliku pred sebe (kao nemi predmet), stupićemo sa njom u dijalog pod uslovom da smo „dijaloški budni“ (Hamvaš). Hamvaš još kaže da je umetničko delo „sila koja oslovljava“, a da je veliko delo ono ispred kojeg se ne možemo ukloniti. Jasno je da ova vrednost ne može biti objektivno pripisana nijednom umetničkom predmetu, ali neki radovi nas instinktivno privlače više nego drugi.

Teško je objasniti instinktivnu privlačnost. Kad nam se nešto sviđa, tu možemo staviti tačku. Artikulisati šta je ono što nam se dopada u vezi sa nečim je zamoran proces demistifikacije stvari sa nejasnom svrhom. Pokušati naći razloge za dopadanje je nešto kao obrnuta alhemija u kojoj nas racionalizacija udaljava od doživljaja, a na taj način i od istine. Ali nećemo se udaljiti od istine ako prepoznamo da je ono što nas privlači Dimitrijevićevim platnima ono što nam je svima zajedničko. Groznica koja trese strastvene kartaroše, stvaralačko nadahnuće i uzbuđenje koje obuzima nas „dijaloški budne“ posmatrače, istog je porekla. Ono proističe iz učešća, iz naše smeštenosti u svetu sa kojim činimo celinu.

Ako je mudrost prihvatiti postojanje u životu bez smisla, bez značenja, bez božanske promisli i ako uprkos besciljnosti treba uvideti da je život lep, onda naša jedina nada u ostvarenje ovog uvida leži u odbacivanju samodovoljnosti modernog subjekta i prihvatanju ideje da postoji razumom nepojmljiva veličina koja nas obuhvata i koje smo integralni deo. A taj uvid može se desiti bilo kada i bilo gde – nad praznim platnom, pred umetničkim delom, za kartaškim stolom, nad zelenom čojom sa kockicama u šaci.

Istoričarka umetnosti, Irena Šimić

[1]Laš Fr. H. Svensen, Filozofija dosade, Geopoetika, Beograd 2004

[2]Razlika koju Svensen pravi između transgresije i transcendencije i koje se držimo u ovom tekstu, tiče se nivoa prekoračenja: transgresija se odigrava u istoj ravni, dok transcendencija podrazumeva kvalitativni skok ka nečemu radikalno drugačijem. Drugim rečima, transgresija je horizontalno, a transcendencija vertikalno pomeranje.

[3] Artists statement,




This text was publihed as a catalogue essay for the solo show,,Reconstruction of the Game III ,,  at OZONE gallery, Belgrade, 2012.


Aleksandar Dimitrijevid does not deal with graphology but, however, as a visual artist he is attracted by the expression value of notes. In his work he uses aesthetic qualities of hand-written sheets of paper with results of various social games as well as inspiration they provide for further development of their visual elements. What leads his work further from just being appealing is Dimitrijevid’s fascination with the phenomenon of personal and social relations which are integrated in symbol-based records of games. The presence of these relations and all levels they reflect upon, provides richness of content of created images and their reading includes all the possible interpretations of symbolism of game. Within exhibitions Artifacts – Reconstruction of the Game Dimitrijevid for the first time makes visible solid construction of his artistic explorations, previously only hinted in seemingly light images on his canvases. By displaying „artifacts“ and the „reconstruction of the game“ Dimitrijevid enters a new phase of his artistic development. “Yamb” – Portraits of “Players”
In a series of paintings „Yamb“, the artist literally conveyed the used yamb sheets onto the canvas. Just like portraitists select and emphasize the elements that would depict the essence of the given personality, Dimitrijevid takes the authentic notes and lets them reveal the characters behind them. On this indirect way artist presents personalities of players portraying them with the use of the characteristics of their own handwritings. The „players“ are social beings who play/ live / fight , and their complexity deserves monumental dimensions (260x200cm) in which artist represents them.
Game “Behind the Mirror”
Documents of finished games, starting point of his work, Dimitrijevid introduces in exhibition naming them Artifacts. This wordplay implies that, apart from reflecting activities, conditions and relations among players, they also contain autonomous aesthetic values. Artist takes them and creates their new life “behind the mirror”. Further on, he reinterprets them in his drawings as well as in the object “Deconstruction of the Game” in which are presented selected details of the drawing in various combinations of complementary colors. With this interactive object – puzzle artist introduces public in the emerging situation “behind the mirror” maintaining the nature of “game” which implies active participation of all the “players”.

Art historian Marija Radoš


Artefakti – Rekonstrukcija igre 3

Aleksandar Dimitrijevid se ne bavi grafologijom ali je kao vizuelni umetnik privučen snagom izraza beleški.
U svom radu on koristi estetske kvalitete papirida sa rezultatima odigranih partija različitih društvenih igara kao i inspiraciju koju oni nude za dalji razvoj likovnih elemenata. Radovi koji na osnovu njih nastaju su ekspresivni, energetski napunjeni i istovremeno formalno stabilni. Ono što ih vodi dalje od dopadljivog je Dimitrijevideva fascinacija fenomenom znakovnih zabeleški igara kao tragova ličnih i socijalnih relacija. Prisutnost tih odnosa i svih nivoa na kojima se oni reflektuju daje sadržinsku punodu predstavama koje stvara a njihovo iščitavanje uključuje sva moguda tumačenja simbolike igre.
Na izložbama Artefakti – Rekonstrukcija igre Dimitrijevid po prvi put čini vidljivom solidnu konstrukciju svojih umetničkih istraživanja koja se samo nasludivala u prividno rasteredenim predstavama na njegovim platnima. Otkrivanjem “artefakata” i “rekonstrukcijom igre” Dimitrijevid je ušao u novu fazu razvoja svog stvaralaštva.
“Jamb” – Portreti “igrača”
U seriji slika Jamb iskorišteni listidi za igru su doslovno, u celini, preneti na slikarska platna. Kao što portretista odabira i ističe elemente koji de najbolje dočarati suštinu predstavljene ličnosti tako i Dimitrijevid preuzima originalne beleške i pušta ih da otkrivaju karaktere koji stoje iza njih. Tim postupkom, na posredan način, umetnik prezentuje ličnosti igrača portretišudi ih karakteristikama njihovih sopstvenih rukopisa. “Igrači” su socijalna bida koja se igraju / žive / bore i u svoj svojoj kompleksnosti vredni su monumentalnih dimenzija(260x200cm) u kojima ih umetnik prikazuje.
Igra “iza ogledala”
Dokumente odigranih partija, ishodište svog rada, Dimitrijevid uvodi u postavku izložbe i označava kao Artefakte. Ova igra reči implicira da oni, osim što reflektuju aktivnosti, stanja i odnose međuigračima, sadrže autonomne estetske vrednosti. Umetnik ih preuzima i stvara njihov novi život “iza ogledala”. Dalje ih reinterpretira u svojim crtežima kao i na objektu“Dekonstrukcija igre” na kom su u različitim kombinacijama komplementarnih boja predstavljeni odabrani detalji crteža. Interaktivnim objektom – slagalicom umetnik u novonastalu situaciju “iz ogledala” uvodi I posmatrača održavajudi samu prirodu “igre” koja podrazumeva aktivan odnos svih “igrača”.
Marija Radoš