ATLAS

Unfolding images from his memory - from pictures out of the family album and his mother's handiwork, boxes of his favorite brand of sardines or the Crucifixion from Studenica, putting on the Pioneer's neckerchief... - Dejan Kaludjerovic is visualizing the collages of his memories, maps of his memory, tying them together into his own private Atlas. From the moment of "the present", emphasized by drawing the map of Serbia - the obsessive locus of our time /"Best Wishes", "The Boy"/, he set his sails out for the childhood, which still carries the mark of a certain time /The Pioneers", "Eva"/ so that he could, at least, free him self from the boundaries of time, and step into the world of ideal, dreamed-about childhood /"Dolls", "Triptych"/.

Using photographs from his parent's and his close relative's childhood, depersonalizing the characters from the photographs he actually portrays dolls and cowboys, who look as if they are emerging from the foundation of the painting. For the foundation he chooses motives which reminds us on the warmth of home: motives from children's bed sheets, table cloths, a mother's handiwork. By printing lace, he leaves a mark of original handiwork, clearly suggesting the print of intimate family atmosphere in his memories. The print of the lace on Dejan's paintings is an expression of his attitude towards tradition, as well as the sign of embedding memories and feelings into the painting.
Unlike already mentioned paintings which do not belong to any period of time - or belong to every period - by painting "Eva" sardines the artist tells us about his own childhood. By multiplying the wrapping material of this product he does not give his comment on mass culture at the end of 20th Century, like pop art did. Quite on the contrary, he brings very personal, emotional moment into ordinary wrappings. A child's affection for the outside appearance of objects inevitably leaves it's marks on the adult personality. That is why this object from mass culture, in which the artist had been growing up, carries memories. Those memories are represented through embroidered figures - figures from personal photograph embroidered with a fishing line.
Opposite this colorful and idyllic world there are almost monochromatic paintings which leave space for recording the present. By carefully drawing the a map of Serbia - every single topographic unit - Dejan is showing the concentration and spirituality of embroidery. Giving special attention to every single needle point he shows us that for him this map is more than just a topography, just as "Eva" sardines are much more then just wrapping material. On a precisely drawn map the artist draws nonexisting, "topographic units" as his commentary. Those are figures that remind us of a child world, but drawn in a form of symbol or a pattern.
They belong to the world of an adult man - rigid of a first glance, but wounded deep inside, who is bleeding /red spots on the boy's heart and bloody trail that is left behind the boy in a formula 1 car remind us on wounds/. The depersonalized and schematized image of a boy is a comment on loosing values in modern life. He is on top of the idyllic landscape painted in white, just like a figure who is trying to replace idyllic memories. At first glance Dejan is naive and hurt boy who is not getting around the adult world, but when we take a look at the titles of the paintings '"Best Wishes", "Landscape M", "Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?"/ we wonder what his real intentions are.

Dejan comments the world he lives in with irony, but he does not exclude him self from it. He is well aware of the association that can be evoked by some elements in his paintings. That is why he is connecting them in a way that suprises the viewer at first who then becomes aware that our lives consist of these opposites that live in ourselves as a totality '"Pioneers"/. Dreaming an ideal, harmonic world, memories of better times when we were children, difficulties that we are dealing with now - every little thing is just part of one being. Dejan does not leave us without an answer, his answer on how to reconcile opposites in our lives. The answer is simple, already said so many times before, and often abused in the modern world - faith in good and love as a higher principle. As a symbol of that higher principle Dejan used the picture of a newlywed couple that he had embroidered on an original white table cloth. The purity and ikon-likenes of the figures is underlined by the embroidery that surrounds the young couple, and a real dimension is given to this scene through the gold cross in the middle. The deep Christian symbolism of this scene leaves no room for doubt and clearly invites us to take part in it's fulfillment.

Aleksandra Mircic