Screen Light paintings by Ivan Milenkovic.
The pictures portray people absorbed into their devices – laptops, tablets and mobile phones – where the only light source is the light of a PC monitor or other kind of display tech. These portraits focus on light, a key element of painting. Light not only evokes the mood, but does something far more important: it colors the very Zeitgeist of an epoch. Throughout history, people have attributed various symbolic meanings to light, which is why painters have used it as a metaphor. Though gadget screens are the only light source in these portraits, each portrait has a unique lighting solution; thus the specific ambiences invoke hermetic, virtual worlds where the person is confined or voluntarily exiled. Ivan demonstrates an observation about the contemporary, cultural phenomenon characterized by ever increasing absence of direct, interpersonal (eye-to-eye) communication between people: our communication is now mediated by machines. He neither offers a positive nor a negative critique of society – although modern alienation really is a serious social and cultural issue – but portrays the current state of social relationships as it is. The portraits are based on photos that were captured spontaneously; though the style is realist, this realism is in the service of authenticity, which is why these portraits could be interpreted as a characteristic, unique document of our time.
Humans have evolved in groups (not in isolation) and it is important that we can recognize each other and identify with each other. Finally, it is perhaps time to ask ourselves the following: how will we manage to sustain face-to-face communication with other human beings if we spend our lives in dark, enclosed, inner, virtu-o-real worlds where the light of technologies is our only guiding light? Do we even need such a way of communication? Have human beings lost control over information and visual stimuli? Will our remarkable technical progress take its toll and, as a consequence, lead us humans to solitude and complete alienation from each other? How will we sustain our humanity if the first thing we do in dire situations is photograph injured people instead of helping them?!
Art Historian: Kristina Stefanovic Zivanovic
Smartphone Light 9, oil on canvas, 50×40 cm
Tablet Light 3, 170×300 cm, ditych, oil on canvas Smartphone light 2, oil on canvas, 100×150 cm
Smartphone light 2, ulje na platnu, 100×150 cm
Ivan Milenkovic near his painting on exhibition in Germany
Smartphone Light 7, oil on canvas, 80×100 cm Tablet light 2, oil on canvas, 70×100 cm Smartphone Light 5, Oil on canvas, 137×190 cm
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