Balkan Art Scene
Jovana Štulić and Elma Čavčić - Ljubavni Sudar
In autumn of 2020, Elma and Jovana started a collaboration based on our shared desire to find the balance between the two cultures in which we grew up. Elma Čavčić, who fled Bosnia in the 1990s with her family, and Jovana Štulić, who was born in the Netherlands, 2nd generation of Serbian guest workers in the late 1960s. Ljubavni Sudar is an indirect reference to the disintegration of former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, when the states of Serbia and Bosnia came to face each other. Although the war is not directly a theme in our collaboration, it is an important wink in the 'clash' that our collaboration has brought about. The title translates freely to 'a loving crash;' The name of the exhibition is derived from the Centerpiece; the large painting in which two girls are connected through a telephone line. The painting bears the same title as the exhibition, translated in English as Romancing Collision.
The starting point of the collaboration was an analog photo that Jovana took to the very first meeting in Elma's studio in Utrecht. In the photo you see two cars collide in a crash. This was the starting point to start making work. The collision symbolizes the two worlds in which we both grew up, but also the two worlds of former Yugoslavia. The experimental collaboration came about after a meeting in which we found many similarities and interest in each other and each other's work. The work was created with the aim of gaining new insights and challenging each other within the theme of melancholy and nostalgia for the past. The longing, the homesickness that comes with growing up between two cultures and countries is the driving force of our work and our collaboration.
By challenging each other to adopt new positions with regard to the themes, several works have been created that reinforce the narrative. During Ljubavni Sudar we are showing an overview of new works that have been created in the past year. The multidisciplinary works arose from the same nostalgia for the past and cultural traditions that have gradually been diluted and Dutchified.
About the artist Jovana Štulić (1989) Amsterdam. Researching contemporary life and the cross-cultural identity of her personal life between the Netherlands and former Yugoslavia, more specifically Serbia, results in a hybrid body of work that consists of a combination of video work, sculpture and photography. A significant part of her research and studies revolves around themes like childhood, culture, identity, tradition, nostalgia, and melancholia. With a sense of existential loneliness, a sadness that we all carry with us, the body of work is not about what is visible, but what you can feel in the emptiness of it. This leaves room for imagination, opportunity and interpretable space. 'My work stems from a longing for lost time and place. The double layer of sadness and beauty in melancholy to me is beautiful and therefore a very valuable inspiration in my work. Photographic material from family archives is currently an important element in my work.' Elma Čavčić (1995) Utrecht. The topics that you can most often find in the works of Elma Čavčić are war, political power and her false brilliance. Her work shows various elements related to these topics such as weapons, soldiers, planes and flags. These topics fascinated Elma both as a child and as she grew up, which led her to present and explore through artistic work while studying at the Academy of Fine Arts (HKU) in the Netherlands. The starting point of the work was the stories of her parents, which she tried to present through artwork in paintings and ceramic sculptures. “In my works, if you observe long enough, you will notice contradictions in the work, the playfulness of colors versus war elements. By doing so, I try to give the viewer more space to ask questions rather than impose just a serious topic. My focus for my art is mainly the conflict and war in Bosnia in the 90s, but it doesn’t stop there. In my ceramic works, such as the medal and awards I make, are also a symbol of social performance that is present to this day. The medals that the veterans received as a reward actually represent lifelong trauma and memories of war events. For me, it is a paradoxical and contradictory medal worn by veterans, which symbolizes a traumatic experience. ”