MAPS OF BURIED TREASURE - between growing up and blood

Roland Bart once said that it would be an illusion to think that someone could be remembered by everyting he did in his life. Quite on the contrary, the people that surround us often remember unimportant details, fragments, bits and pieces - sometimes even something that doesn't have anything to do with the real meaning of some document, picture or gesture. That is the place where differences between the subjective and objective map emerge. If the artist's role in society seized to be shamanic a long time ago, if history and the development of technology had deprived him of the possibility to be a court chronicler as well as a court jester, at least he kept one privilege for him self to report to the public about his own subjectivity. To present for inspection his map, how ever it may look, whether it is made of comprehensible images and symbols or hermetic and very personal ciphers.

The series of paintings by Dejan Kaludjerovic wasn't named "Atlas" by chance. An Atlas is, as well all know, usually a collection of geographical /but also historical, geological, speleological, oceanographical and other/ maps. Mr. Kaludjerovic's paintings, created in the framework of traditional painting, with some deviation regarding the media, are maps at least in two levels.

One level of these paintings is very literal - the paintings are really maps or at least collages of maps. That level of the painting constitues the basis on which the other painting is projected. Those other, "main" paintings within the painting /portraits, scenes, situations/ have an added level because of their duality. Those other "maps" are, at one hand, intimate key points, metaphorically said "stops of the cross" - the stages of growing up in socialism. There is a part of experience common to all of us who lived in that social order. The other level is "personal history" - the artist is "present", he is "painted" on his paintings, in various ages and surroundings.

Boys and girls on the pictures, couples, are, on one hand, personal memories, but on the other hand they are signs readable for everyone who shared the ambient and segments of experience with the artist. On one of the paintings is, for example, a popular brand of sardines which carries inner contradiction - it is named Eva after the first woman, and at the same time it's mascot is a masculine walrus additionally cloaked with eminent male stereotypes of a sailor. One of the first "pages" in the "Atlas" are a boy and a girl. They are, as well, coded in two ways - it represents sexual differentiation, and also the reminiscence of a very popular brand of chocolates "Brother" and "Sister". On the next level this stereotype is even further emphasized: girls /of course/ play with dolls, and boys /what else?/ with weapons.

This series includes sequences with Pioneer's neckerchiefs - a representation of one of the most important socialist rituals of initiation into the social community - as a place of interweaving of the individual and the collective sphere. Interweaved layers of the "pioneers" painting include transparent image of an eye which brings it's own complex symbolism and revokes dimension of the absolute - "the eye that can see everything". The increase of elements in the complex narrative structure of Mr.Kaludjerovic's series closes with the wedding picture /paraphrase of the pictures that are usually hung for example over the bed of newlyweds, showing the couple in an embrace/. The wedding is a very strong archetypal image, but also some kind of stereotype. The name of the painting - "Building of a Temple" - suggests that this is the Gral towards which Kaludjerovic's pictorial story gradually leads. That is the reason why this series called "Atlas" is not just a collection of neutral geographical maps, but a map of buried treasure, a series of schematic and symbolic "instructions" that leads to solution, reconciliation, totality.
Nevertheless, under this complex and at the first glance almost innocent story, there is another layer from which the future of this region, the ambient in which "our hero" lives in, can be read. It is the blood on the paintings that warns us that our private histories are still happening in the surroundings where the theme about which the maps are informing us are usually seen through the prism of stories about blood and land.

Mileta Prodanovic