Ivan Petrović’s photographs originate, primarily, from a documentary approach and actualize the principle of perceptive interpretation. This fact, as well as the fact that Petrović contextualizes some of his works by subsequently forming groups of photographs from heterogeneous series of works, making them functional by a posteriori rendered meanings, can partly serve as a key to understanding the work on display here. The interpretation of Exemplary photographs, putting aside the meaning of single photos that constitute this work, is mostly intended for the mental, rather than the aesthetic, plane, although the title of the work implies both possibilities. The question remains, is this work about the photograph as aesthetic object, about photography as medium, or should we focus on the complex causality of certain circumstances and phenomena that, based only on the photographs, remain insufficiently clear?
Exemplary photographs is a selection of photographs made in Serbia in 2007-2010. The subjects depicted, such as a museum depot, a flower shop, a street poster ad, an art exhibition, or a courtyard fence, designate silent scenes “[...] as referential values, not for specific events, but for the unpredictability of consequences that particular process changes may imply; as metaphors of saturated quotidian socio-political processes and the age in which we live in, which resembles more of a certain state, than it could be described as eventful.”1
Vaguely resembling documentary material, these photographs represent riddle images more than explicitly suggesting the meaning of their motif, especially because they have been deprived of the attribution that would explain the subject or the place presented – we don’t have any data about them, except the year and the fact that they have been made in Serbia. Although the subject of Exemplary photographs does not include entropy as a final consequence, they seem to offer an unstable picture of political uncertainty and possible social trauma. The past seems to be unreachable to the viewer of these photographs – the past, far wider and more complex, whose events are lost from the map of memory, and which is a testimony of a broken political, social, and cultural continuity of the environment in which they were made.
Una Popović, 2013
(translation into English: Ivan Šuletić)
b. 1973, Krusevac, Serbia
Lives and works in Belgrade. In 2002 he graduated in photography from the Academy of Art “Braća Karić”, Belgrade. His photographic work could be observed as a relationship between practices of documentarism, appropriation and revaluation. Photography always represents the extension of perplexity about the interpreted reality; the possibility to create narratives which could explain the circumstances from which the photographic image is coming from. Recent exhibitions include: Amuse Me, City Gallery of Ljubljana, Slovenia (2013) • VOIES OFF Festival 2013: Le voyage impossible, Arles, France (2013) • Arles Photo Festival 2013: Voice Off, Arles, France (2013) • The Building, City Gallery of Požega, Serbia (solo, 2013) • Photodocuments 02, Salon of Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade (2012) • Donumenta 2011 / Views: Visions – sketches of Serbian art after 2000, Kunstforum Ostdeutsche Galerie, Regensburg, Germany (2011) • 25th NADEŽDA PETROVIĆ MEMORIAL: “I am what I am”, Art Gallery Nadežda Petrović/Čačanska Gimnazija – permanent installation, Čačak, Serbia (2010) • The Documents, Salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade (solo, 2009) • Micro Narratives; Musée d’ art moderne, Saint Etienne, France (2008) • Actual Serbian Photography, FOTOHOF Gallery, Salzburg (2005) • Images, Gallery Remont (PUNKT, with Mirijana Stojadinović and Andrija Pavlović), Belgrade (solo, 2003).