The Other

Oil on canvas, 110 × 150 cm and 160 × 200 cm, 2015.
Gallery Galženica / Velika Gorica

Throughout the history, the relationship between different civilisations has been marked by incomprehension and conflicts rather than by curiosity and cooperation. Relying on the concept of the Other, within the Western civilisation there is an entire field of science dealing with that relationship. To put it very simply, the Other is anyone or anything that cannot be explained through the familiar, established value system. The encounter with the Other is always preceded by a long, strenuous journey, whether a real or imaginary one. When it comes to Marco Polo's, Christopher Columbus's, James Cook's or the Seljan brothers' encounter with the Other, we know almost everything. When it comes to Jelena Bando's and Ivan Prerad's encounter with the Other, we will discover something at this exhibition.
In the history of Modern art, the Other played a short, but prominent role. Around the turn of the twentieth century, the so-called primitive art of the African, Oceanian and Far Eastern peoples changed the manner in which we observe the world through the works of European artists. Whether it is the influence of Japanese prints on the works of Toulouse-Lautrec, the Gauguin's portrayal of life in the Polynesian islands or the influence of African masks on Picasso's art – e.g. on the key painting of Europeanavant-garde “The Young Ladies of Avignon” – each time, we witness the fruitful contact of European art with the art of the so-called New World.
In the age of technological globalisation and instant communication, what is the destiny of the Other? What is happening with the cultures of other and far-away peoples today? Is it possible that the Other has lost its exotic identity nowadays? Having conquered, measured, mapped and digitalised the “New World”, how do we Europeans see it today?
The paintings by Jelena Bando and Ivan Prerad presented in this exhibition imply that there is still some latent and creative tension between different cultures. But even more than that, maybe the paintings of these young artists suggest to us that the Other, either real or made up, is something without which the art would not make too much sense.

Photos from the exhibition opening

Jelena Bando — 2018