Retrospective exhibition of Šemsa Gavrankapetanović

The painter has two constant preoccupations, regardless of all the changes that have occurred and passed through her work. They are essence and meaning. The essence was usually expressed through a concept of matter, while the meaning was mostly represented in a form of character. From the very beginning, while still holding to classic painting form, acting still in the realm of realism, for Gavrankapetanović the essence has been neither infinite prominence of art that strives for the absolute, nor in an effort to realistically present reality. In this period, large canvases were created, with main motif of worn and discarded things, drapes, rags, placed in a larger space that determined their reason and gave meaning. The artist searches for the initial values that carry a trace of the primordial. During the process, she tries to eliminate the decorative and descriptive from the field of her artistic interests. Therefore, the composition is not built by carefully arranged elements like still lives of Cézannesque type and all subsequently created clichés, but is made with “some old discarded things”, that, regardless of their application value and purpose being taken away, continue with existence.

First as a motif, and later, often, as a living witness in the picture. Rarely will, and this only at the beginning, the canvas as traditional and conventional form prove to be satisfactory. Very soon it will become merely a support for art that will get weight and volume and often empty space, too. At first, process of choosing the material that makes picture becomes challenge for the artist, and in time it turns into an obsession. Layers of different materials are merged in skilfully crafted harmony of differences that ultimately make one entity. The works are empty in mimetic sense, but one can feel presence of spirit. They are ruled by reason and laws of logic. Abstraction is the answer with which the artist creates her own world and offers it to the viewer. The answer is multi-layered and complex, yet extremely clear. The pictures have powerful attraction, not so much because of their beauty, as because of power and energy that is concentrated in them. (Ivana Udovičić, form the catalog of the exhibition)