When we talk about something that impresses, one of the most usual ways is to refer to better known precedents to recall its possible proximity, but lingering on that gap that sanctions the mysterious singularity of the “something” in question. I’m talking about the work of Danilo Stojanović (1989, Pula, Croatia, lives and works in Venice) to whom CAR DRDE dedicates the solo show Midnight Blossom, which inaugurates the artist’s collaboration with the gallery. Wanting to bother the tutelary gods of modern painting, it could perhaps be argued that his pantheon of reference includes names such as Cézanne, Chagall, Modigliani, Picasso blue period and (why not?) Goya, provided that it is immediately specified that in Stojanović there is a precise a figure that does not allow to situate it with respect to any precedent, however illustrious.
The almost “pocket” format of his paintings immediately suggests that this work is characterized by minimalism. A minimalism that is above all aesthetic substance. What blooms the artist’s midnight are in fact the buds of an ancestral chromatic and imaginative lexicon. What we see here is like a fleeting and peremptory fragment of a timeless instant, of a being without context, but all leaning towards a possible contextualization, in which the observer is invited to practice. Fantasy is thus the first emotional resource summoned.
Appropriately, in the critical text accompanying the exhibition, Laura Rositani recalls the artist’s Dalmatian origins. And the inspiring sources of the decidedly fabulous atmosphere, from the saga between the lyrical, the grotesque and the disturbing, which saturates the entire work of Danilo Stojanović, are traced back to these origins. But, it is worth noting, the young painter is far from any sublimated nostalgia for folklore or popular art. The evocation of the fairy tale that Danilo Stojanović uses points in a completely different direction: in showing and feeling that the represented image draws its expressive force, not from what it represents, but from an enigmatically suspended, floating absence, which is perceptible by its symptoms, almost as in a spell in progress.
Thus, the contortions of a greenish-pigmented acrobat dressed in a thunderously vermilion jumpsuit (the theme of two paintings, both from 2022, titled Contort) forces the viewer to imagine where and how such a solitary performance takes place. Likewise, the disturbing hand with tapered fingers and pointed nails (worthy of a Cruella Demon or the persecuting witch of Snow White from Disney’s memory), a recurring motif in some of the paintings on display (for example Root and Stem, 2022, or Midnight Blossom, 2022, from which the title of the entire exhibition derives) suggests a magical gesture with unpredictable results. Among the various portraits of unlikely characters who seem to be torn from a fairy tale to frighten the children, one (Untitled, 2022) is very equivocal, immersed in a nebulous reddish atmosphere.
In fact, the absolute protagonists of the whole still remain the colors, which, declining from bluish greens, to bright reds, to their various nuanced shades up to an unexpected evanescent celestine (The everlasting question, 2021) act as catalysts for the enchantments of which Danilo Stojanović’s work is lavish.
Danilo Stojanović. Midnight Blossom
23.09.2022 – 12.11.2022
via Azzo Gardino 14/A, Bologna
Danilo Stojanović, Midnight Blossom, installation view at CAR DRDE Bologna, courtesy CAR DRDE
Danilo Stojanović, Root and Stem, 2022, courtesy CAR DRDE
Danilo Stojanović, Contort I, 2022 (left) and Contort II, 2022 (right), courtesy CAR DRDE
Valerio Romitelli (born in Bologna in 1948) taught, researched and lectured in Italy and abroad. His disciplines: History of political doctrines, History of political movements and parties, Methodology of the social sciences. Among his latest publications: L’amore della politica (2014), La felicità dei partigiani e la nostra (2017), L’enigma dell’Ottobre ‘17 (2017), L’emancipazione a venire. Dopo la fine della storia (2022).