My Interview for Icelandic newspapers Fréttablaðið in January 2017. About my exhibition “Traces”: Jelena Antic – Abstract Art
Jelena Antic is an artist from Belgrade, Serbia, who has lived and worked in Iceland for one year. Last Thursday, Jelena opened her first solo exhibition in Iceland, behind four solo exhibitions abroad and has also participated in a number of group exhibitions. Jelena’s exhibition is at the SÍM Gallery in Hafnarstræti and runs until January 24.
Asked what had happened to her now living in Iceland, Jelena simply says, “I got married” and laughs so happily. “Of course, this is the best reason for switching land: love. My husband is an Icelandic citizen and has lived here for almost twenty years. I met him in Serbia from where he is, too and after we got married we started to explore various possibilities. See where we could get a job and where we wanted to settle down. We planned to move to Denmark first where more options were in place. But finally Iceland was chosen and we do not regret it.
Here it was easy for me to get a suitable job and besides, I immediately got into the Association of Icelandic Visual Artists, which has proved to me extremely successful. My master’s degree was recognized immediately and I immediately felt that everything I had done and everything I did was valued. It was very good as it pleased me a lot. I hope Icelanders know that I am grateful for what I have here and how I’ve been well received.
When I just came here I didn’t know anyone and it’s a bit special when you come into a community where everyone seems to know everyone. Everyone seems to be related or connected in one way or another, but it was good in a way to be an outsider, people were curious to learn what I do. Hopefully, one day I will also know everyone, ”says Jelena, laughing.
Jelena studied in Belgrade and immediately in high school she was very interested in design and visual arts. She completed a high school diploma in graphic design and went from there to art school to learn to paint. She continued her education and received a master’s degree in fine art, but she says it is difficult to be an artist in Serbia. “After a certain amount of time, I felt I was ready to do something different. So I turned back to graphic design and also learned web design and programming for websites.
This knowledge and experience meant that I was able to get a good job when I moved here. Now I work as an interface programmer and have done it here for almost a year. However, I try to do visual art at all times. ”Jelena says that it is not necessarily different from being an artist in Iceland than in Serbia, but that the difference lies in how powerful and supported is the artist’s work is in Iceland”
Want to express the feeling – Jelena Antic – Abstract Art
Jelena paints abstract paintings and she says it has it’s own story. “It’s all a definite process. You go to school and they start by teaching you how to draw the body and landscape and all that is based on precision and tremendous exercise. Then you learn to paint like the old masters and it is also a big process. But then it comes down to the fact that you have to forget everything you have learned and find your own way. To find your painting.
I was never really interested in recreating what we see. Because the camera would simply do it better than the painting. Rather, I wanted to express a feeling and require people to find something new and even something different than I feel and experience. Therefore, I strive to make paintings that can be read in different ways. However, it is not the goal itself to challenge but my sincere admiration for this phenomenon (how we can see same things in a different way). I am struck by the fact that one color may seem blue to some while others see it as green.
By the same token, abstract painting to me is like instrumental music – without lyrics, without descriptions, without images – rather a definite feeling when we look at painting or listening to music. Therefore, it is not possible to describe or define precisely, but it seems that we can sense the feeling or story presented by the artist without relying on lyrics or exact pictures in the painting. This is exactly what I want to emphasize in my art. ”
The article first appeared in Fréttablaðið January 7.