We have in front of us paintings that are the result of collaboration between two artists with very different sensibilities: Ivana Jurić, multi-award winning animation artist, whose film The Room won the grand prix at Croatian Animated Film Festival 2011, and painter Fedor Fischer, who has authored many exhibitions, most noticeable is the recent Eclipse at Vladimir Bužančić Gallery last month.
The approach consist of playful combinations of realistic painting and plain illustration. The protagonists come from the animal kingdom that find themselves in human-like situations, and the looks of the animals are painted in such a way as to evoke people under different circumstances. Someone may relate this with fables, but these paintings, however, try to keep a safe distance from providing any morals of the story and primarily focus on visual pleasure. A lot of thought has been put into each of them, including vast knowledge of visual elements and painting itself.
How did your collaboration start?
It all started with the painting Voodoo-Moodoo. It was the first work we had done together and a sort of experiment. We tried to create a painting from Ivana's illustration. It had to be magnified and trasferred onto a 180 x 228cm canvas. In the process, we dealt with many problems. Small patches of colour would become dull when magnified. We had to apply the whole painting process in order to make them more visually appealing, and that caused changes in the composition, so corrections had to made there as well. Magnification of a sketch also brings a new element, that is the material of the paint that is being applied on the canvas. In the end, something was missing to complete the whole story, so we added sound. Soothing, realistic sounds of nature complement the visual experience.
That's how the painting turned into an installation?
Yes, of course. Both of us stepped outside of the safety our comfort zones.
Which also reminds me, the two you have no common background, although you both graduated from the Fine Arts Academy in Zagreb.
Yes, we live in two completely different worlds which we try to connect through JUFI. We try to suck the audience in and convince them the two-dimensional creatures from illustrations and realistically painted animals can co-exist.
When I walked into your studio, I noticed a lot of works in progress. Do you work simultaneously on all of them? How does that process unfold?
We start with small A4 sketches that Ivana prepares. In that stage, we agree on the composition and the outline for the colours and the characters. It's a sort of collage that we draw on the canvas and start applying the paint. We paint together, often at the same time. Those are the moments when we upgrade or destroy what was painted previously, we agree or we get mad at each other.
That's very life-like. We cannot control the situations that we are in, so we have to compromise. Does that stifle your creativity?
No, on the contrary. Creativity does not exist on its own. It's a process in which you rely on someone else's work, something that has already been realized, and you enrich that, and the more pressure and limitations you feel, the more creative you become. In our case, we struggle within ourselves and with each other. When two opposite worlds begin co-exisiting on a single canvas, our work is done.
So your work is a kind of ying and yang?
Exactly. Balanced energies, peace and positivity... we want to put a smile on the person watching our work. That's why the exhibition is called LET US ENTERTAIN YOU.
What we find so fascinating is the interplay, the combination of elements and experiences as well as the unexpectedness, which amount to an extraordinary achievement when used together. And what deeper message could there be apart from the one that is so openly presented to us by these paintings, the message of painting as pure joy?
Feđa Gavrilović and JUFI