PAINTINGS ON CANVAS
tragedy as a destiny
Pedja Djaković brings into the contemporary European painting an uncommon starting point: a painted legend. As an artistic genre, painted legends evolved from and were inspired by the ideas of the classical tradition. In the Middle Ages, legends frequently took form of versified or prose epic telling of the lives, deeds, miracles, and martyrdoms of various saints. as a literary genre, it transcended the confines of religion and has been cultivated from the romanticism to this day. Djaković’s style, however, cannot be entirely identified with tradition. he draws his inspiration from it, and in fact the essence of his paintings reflects this artistic genre as a starting point. for example, he has avoided merging of the spirituality with the folk tradition, he doesn’t rely on religion but brings about the epic devoid of theological didactics and naive naturalism. He is a modern painter who has forged his own brand of existential drama from a symbiosis of expression and impression. He does not return, either compositionally or in his drawings, to the Renaissance stereotypes which combine the sense of perspective and optics, even though he studied the subjects thoroughly. he rather seeks his vision of the world in the spirit of modern art and the synthesis of decorative and the symbolic... In his painting, Pedja Djaković presents us with what we could call sublimeness of vision that comes to life in the magnificence of colors and the perception of reality through the psychology of figures. humbleness, desire, despair, heroism, decisiveness of the spirit, and many other human feelings speak to us from Djakovic’s paintings.
Dr. Miroslav Klivar
Masaryk Academy of Art in Prague
The dynamic plasticity and powerful forms are essential for Djaković’s creative method. The contour is not finished off, but it rather symbolizes the volume of the color while all the motives and forms are united by a surreal light. The presence of this magic radiation increases during his stay in Prague where he is influenced by the baroque culture. It can be said that the artist’s sense for the mystery has deepened precisely in this period with an unusual force. It is obvious especially in Djaković’s works where the painted area emerges in the foreground and we could in fact define it as “various lives of the surfaces”, including the Prague motives where he merges imaginary motives with the reality, for instance painting a sequence of bridges within a street etc. These paintings bring out something special – the simultaneity of visual reality and fantasy, the compenetrating fragments of the city, and this fragmentary character of his aesthetic method is close to Kafka’s literary work. Motive as a fragment, form as a fragment, color as a fragment, light as a fragment. Let’s remember that this light is not real, but it still respects the local color. Djaković has reached the peak in his painting where he replaced the atmospheric space with an artificially created one. For instance, he represents the subject simultaneously in still life, but also in figurative compositions.
This new Djaković’s creation, quite different from the Yugoslav experience, is the result of a deep fascination with the Jewish culture of Prague which has always been a synthesis of the Czech, German and Jewish cultural milieu. That is why he paints Golem in the work “The Prague Golem”, inspired by Meyrink’s novel “The Golem”, he is looking for the dramatic mysteriousness and feels a mythical horrification. Djaković is fascinated by the fate of solitary Kafka, and returns to him repeatedly through his own experiences, when he lives the destinies of Prague underground under the totalitarian regime, when he spends his time at the Cafe Slavia etc.
Dr. Miroslav Klivar
Member of the American society for Aesthetics
THE PRAGUE HAGGADAH
ALL THAT JAZZ
Pedja Djaković in not only the painter but also a very good musician with wide melodic imagination and colourful sensitivity to sound. The magic of jazz music pulsations, the uniqueness of concert atmosphere together with encounters and friendships with musicians have represented a huge potential in his opus for understanding and expressing himself.
The energy of jazz set against the brightness of painter's Yugoslav temperament and, at the same time, combined with his purity and openness towards people, made him search for his personal symbolic expression. Djaković has a charming gift - the one of feeling and being able to express the melody and rhythm through colour and form. He cultivated this talent through a combination of his two artistic expressions, painting and music.
During his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, he often visited the Prague Reduta club where numerous inspirations came from for his jazz cycle. (That is why in June 1990 we had the possibility to see his paintings for the first time in this very place). You can see for yourselves how Djaković's paintings intensify and create the Press jazz club atmosphere. Free musical motives represented by the author are based on a careful preparation of drawings, studies of figure movements as well as of characteristic contours of musical instruments. The drawing itself - in ink or slightly watered - reveals the soundness of this sophisticated dynamics and explains the power of Djaković's artistic expression. He is applying energetic stylised lines enlivened with gentle chord of colour (often blue or yellow) evoking silhouettes of musicians with instruments. Djakovic has recently started composing his musical paintings on collages made of newspapers, thus brining the element of social awareness into his work.
Dr. Oldřiška Tylová
LOVE AS THE WAY OF LIVING
In his paintings Pedja Djaković is presenting us with what we could call sublimeness of vision, transmitted primarily using refined colors intertwined with the harsh vision of reality revealed through the psychology of the figures. Humbleness, desire, despair, heroism, certainty of the spirit, and many other human feelings speak out from Djaković’s paintings with a sense of urgency.
Another significant theme woven into his works is masculinity and the fragility of the feminine. For instance, the painting of princess Drahomira is not a historic idyll, but rather a symbol of human psychology which has continued to grow from the legend to this day. This is the meaning found in the legends as conceived and portrayed by Pedja Djaković…. We should also recall his capability of synesthetic imagination, i.e., of the transfer of stimuli from one sense to another, from sight to hearing, and vice versa. He also has the gift of visual tactile receptivity, which is quite special because it relates to the ability to perceive smell, odor and atmospheric changes. We can comprehend the relationship between the visual perception and music for instance in his paintings such as “Lakatoš”, “The Jazzmen”, “The Phantom of the Opera” etc. Jazz improvisation as a musical principle corresponds to Djaković’s dramatic expression. His opus is genial above all because he is courageously looking for new horizons of his style in the spirit of the modern art world.
Dr. Miroslav Klivar
Member of the American society for Aesthetics
The artist is perfectly at ease in the atmosphere created through his other vocation, music. He transposes the psychological interaction between the two forms of art, painting and music, to his canvases. Djaković transmits the feeling that his paintings should have been even larger in size so as to generate additional tension through the dense explosion of colors.
Djaković skillfully inserts motives from his homeland, for instance a fragment of the “Politica” newspaper title, into the paintings made in Prague. The surreal sequence of his blurred or lit up human beings forms a sort of a ring made of color and music that stretches around the whole planet Earth.
Using his signature drawing style with passionate colors as a base for oil paintings, the author destroys the myth about the universal symbolics of tragic entertainers. The portraits are powerful with striking contours. The figures are balanced in their performing, while the elements of expressionism and eroticism help us enter into the mystical part of Djakovic’s being that has gifted us with these paintings.
Dr. Žarko Dimić
The artist replaces the communicativeness of collage with the color. From figurative motives of historical scenes and musical atmosphere, he migrates towards the symbolism of shapes and pure colored surfaces in harmonic unison. Once again, the blue and yellow prevail. Djaković’s paintings should not be taken in only visually; it is necessary to listen to them, to immerge ourselves in the rhythmical composition play of colors through our own comprehension and experience. Only in such a way we can truly understand Djaković’s art.
Dr. Oldřiška Tylova