Contemporary Art Platform-Berlin
- Berlin 2020 -
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ForA Contemporary Art Platform / Berlin
ForA - CONTEMPORARY ART PLATFORM
presents you a new project:
''IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS STONE''
by MIJO Mijušković - wood & stone
Opening hours: Wed – Sat 12.00 – 18.00 and by appointment
Marburger Strasse 3. 10789 Berlin
With this introductory text ''Mijo Mijušković | In the Beginning There Was Stone''
by Boris von Brauchitsch, ForA is pleased to remind you of a unique experiance
of Time and Space realized by the sculptures of Mijo.
Approaching the archaic instead of chasing after trends, thinking precisely instead of consuming haphazardly, listening attentively in on nature instead of listlessly wallowing in social media all require tranquillity. And time. If you use time and tranquillity to come to your senses, then the meaning of your life and the lives of all of humanity become relative of their own accord. We are just a small constituent in world affairs that has been unduly blown out of proportion and considers itself the pinnacle of creation because it has drowned out all the other voices with the noise of wars, engines and hoopla, and smothered them in a flood of commodities and rubbish. This could almost give rise to the impression that the only reason we’ve created all of this, that we’ve mainly utilised our intelligence is to make us forget our own insignificance.
Every person has time and tranquillity at their disposal, albeit to varying degrees, and every person has the possibility to make something of this for themselves and for others. Mijo Mijušković listened in on stone and wood, the seemingly most primitive forms of existence. He, whose work has been appearing in exhibitions since 1964, had a lot of time and, even more importantly, the necessary tranquillity within himself.
That stones can be sacred because of their apparent eternality amidst all that is so frantically fleeting – just like trees that can sometimes live nearly a thousand years – has been a familiar phenomenon in the history of humankind. This timelessness gives them something of the sublime, their beauty lies in their permanence. You don’t even have to imagine them as being inspirited to be able to share in this magic. Indeed, in Christian liturgy today, the altar stone remains not only a symbol for the rock upon which Christ built his church, but also for Christ himself. In which Peter (“the rock”) recognised the “living stone rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him” (1 Peter 2:4). It can therefore be a divine act for an artist to not only listen in to a stone, but also to select it and give it special meaning.
Sometimes just a minimal intervention is enough, as Mijušković impressively demonstrates, whereby completely abstract objects become bodies with seemingly just a few accents and, often enough, also become entities that are instantly likeable, that you would enjoy having around, like good spirits. They’re basically never anthropomorphic, because this isn’t about teasing something human out of them, but rather to respect them for their peculiarities and idiosyncrasies. If they are grouped together in a garden, a gallery, or museum, they immediately start communicating with one another. They exchange information about the visitors and passers-by, and when we look at them, they look back. It’s certainly a mistake to believe that we’re the beholder because, in reality, it is they who are beholding us.
They are beautiful, sometimes mysterious, always unique; they rest quietly in themselves, they lurk, they whirl about, they stroll along. They’re rarely reminiscent of animals, mostly just individuals of indeterminate origin who lived among us, undiscovered for quite some time, before the artist offered them a platform. What you as a viewer see in them is also rooted in your own daily form; a stone head can sometimes look sceptical, sometimes friendly, sometimes a root rears up in pain, sometimes seems to dance in pleasure.
They have been assigned many attributes in the past – exciting, honest, rhythmic, sensitive, clear, tender – and they have been described as the “atavistic potential of the material” and “modern totemism” (Slobodan Vušurović), as “poems in stone” (Ratko Božović), or simply as “sincere and unadulterated art” (Tomislav Šuljak).
There’s no question that the famous statement by Paul Klee also applies to Mijušković’s sculptures: “Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.” It even applies in two aspects. Firstly, some of Mijušković’s creatures remind us of Klee’s fantasy creatures, while secondly, you cannot help but get the impression that the artist actually captures the spirits of nature in his work, provides them with a physical form, and thus makes them visible in the first place.
However, the technique that Mijušković uses for the purpose of such visualising is much older. It also has two aspects and is linked to two of the greatest names of the Renaissance: Michelangelo Buonarroti and Leonardo da Vinci.
Due to the abundance of commissions he accepted without having the time to be able to complete them all, most of the sculptures in Michelangelo’s workshop remained unfinished – some parts were perfectly worked out and polished while others were still the raw stone. One might assume that Michelangelo himself soon realised the special effect of this non finito as a means of heightening contrasts and stimulating the imagination. This unfinished has been an integral part of art history ever since, from Giambologna to Rodin. The second, perhaps even more important aspect was contributed by Leonardo, who anticipated a method of surrealism in his writings. It also serves to inspire the imagination, if in a completely different way: the artist recommends, for instance, that you look at a wall with crumbling plaster. In the structure of the plaster, the eye may be able to discover landscapes as well as scenes of battle, strange faces or even draperies. Or, as Leonardo also writes, you can simply throw a sponge soaked in paint against a wall, and then you can see “fantastical structures” in the abstract patterns.
Mijušković considers both strategies in his work. A meteorologist by trade, professionally trained in observing natural phenomena, he gives himself time to analyse the ornamental structures of nature until he discovers the fantastical structures and reveals them to others, often having made just a few interventions. And he magnifies the effect of his sculptures by repeatedly leaving parts unworked, by exploring the characters of the different stones – warm or soft, cold or melodious, lucid or impenetrable – and revealing the different manifestations of the material. The contrast between polished and unworked stone isn’t just a brilliant effect, as it also makes visible the process, the transitory, the where from and where to. And it directly manifests the areas of friction between nature and culture, between material and intellect, however without turning it into a problem but instead by harmoniously melding the two.
The secret of his work is the connection to the primitive, the visible contribution of the geological serendipity that never gets lost despite all the technical bravura and that is also very vividly on display in the unworked parts of many sculptures. Yet Mijušković always pays it the greatest respects nonetheless, because nature is never trivialised, never belittled, never tamed. It is always just about one thing: extrication. Extrication of the body, the arteries, the grain, the colours. And the artist naturally also succeeds without a hitch in proving the existence of aliens. For beneath his hands, even meteorites awaken to unexpected life.
Boris von Brauchitsch, 2021