The Land that never was (or Is)
The Land that never was (or Is) is Milojevic’s first solo exhibition at FireWorks Gallery comprising nine limited-edition prints including one on short pile fabric.
The artists work explores contemporary cultural identity and the complexities of a cross-cultural position. The imagery in the artist prints evolves from two worlds – one evocative of a European landscape and the other reminiscent of a Tasmanian one. The impulse to construct fictional narratives and spaces is a response to collected stories of a homeland Milojevic never witnessed, and is instead based upon memory, myth, and fact.
Aesthetic and visual languages developed by 18th and 19th century engravers such as Thomas Bewick and naturalist artists (such as John J Audubon) have informed and inspired Milojevic’s imagery. The artist uses a combination of digital technologies and analogue (traditional etching and woodcut) print techniques to create highly patterned chimeras of fictitious flora and fauna. With this ‘hybrid’ printmaking process, as the images change, one world disintegrates as the other gradually comes to the surface. These complex constructions originate from a collection of marks and textures - built up over many years – which he scans into the computer and then reconstructs and overlays into his imaginary landscapes.
Milojevic’s works frequently employ design principles of symmetry and repetition. The ordered appearance of ambivalent forms makes the prints seem both alien and familiar, like fragments taken from nature that have been enlarged and re-contextualised to form new species.
Through experimentation, the artist has created a magnificent universe populated by imaginary flora and fauna that generates a sense of wonder in its audience. This ‘wonder’ is accompanied by the uneasy knowledge that the world created is a dystopian one, a fabricated version of reality that nonetheless seduces. With technicolour intensity, spectacular forms leap from the paper, into the space the viewer inhabits.
The artist and FireWorks Gallery, 2023
Golum (after Audubon) (Ed.2) 2009/23 is inspired by images of a series of birds as homage to John J Audubon. The ‘Golum’ appears in a (1969 first English translation of the 1957 original in Spanish) book by Jorge Luis Borges titled The Book of Imaginary Beings. (Artwork printed by Ian Jeanneret)
Once Was Is (Ed.3) 2021 depicts both a landscape past (imagined) and present (fact). (Artwork printed by Ian Jeanneret)
Elements in the work Big Tree 2 created 2016/23 originated from images in the 2016 series Night &Day (The Tree) where the ‘tree’ is the only constant.
Night and Day (The Tree) 2016 is a series of thirty-two panels inspired by diverse sources such as 18th and 19th century engravers/naturalist artists, Japanese woodblock prints, Hieronymus Bosch, psychedelic music/art as well as Jorge Luis Borges and Edvard Munch’s ‘Frieze of Life’.
Tide after Tide (Ed.5) 2021 is a celebration of the sea and what it offers up to us. (Artwork printed by Ian Jeanneret)
Ten Days (Ed.3) 2023 is a commission for Tasmania’s recent ‘Ten Days on the Island’ festival. (Artwork printed by Art House Reproductions)
In Possession (Ed.5) 2022 the landscape is constructed from prints recording the exploration of Terra Australis Incognita. Discovery, Colonisation, Possession. Possession is nine-tenths of the problem.
Terra Incognita Rug (Ed.3) 2023… strange, beautiful, and uncomfortable concocted flower-animal-landscape forms allude to my own cross-cultural position as an Australian first-generation migrant. The works exist in a liminal space, reminiscent of truth and redolent of a world rich with infinite possibilities.
Portal 3 2011 is inspired by French wallpapers which, during France’s Age of Discovery in the 16th century, utilised flora and fauna in their design. These motifs were not only used for wallpapers, but also with furniture and general interior design and decorating practices.
Additional Available Works
Mapping Terra Incognita 2021/23 is about discovery, mapping, gathering of information and constructing an imaginary other/new world.
Utopia Dreaming 2021/23 is inspired by the search for that ‘fantastic place’.
The artist 2023 unless otherwise stated