The Jump (cylindrical print 2004)The Jump (cylindrical print, 2004)

Where do we see recurrences in our lives? Let’s see: heartbeat (pulse), breath, rhythm in all biological functions, symmetry of the left and right half of our body and of all things in nature, repetitions of genes throughout generations, repetition of the same electrons in the molecules of all material things, recurring decimals and geometric progression in mathematics, repetition of the seasons in nature, repetition of the waves in the rivers and the sea, repetitive spinning of all planets and celestial objects in the Solar System, cyclical repetitions in the history of civilizations and cultures, recurrences in (natural and cultural) languages, rhythm in music and poetry, symmetries used in construction and architecture, repetition in the computer technologies, repetition of products in manufacturing and production, recurrent everyday obligations of all individuals, repetition as mater studiorum and as a way of socio-cultural training, recurrent patterns of mental judgment, similar repetitions in all ritualistic and religious practices, repetitive archetypal psychological patterns of behavior people are entrapped in… And so on and so on…

Tetris (cylindrical print, 2004)

Don’t you ever feel like every new face is only a repetition of the previous one (your own face, or a universal archetypal face), that every new place you visit is only a repetition of the previous one, or that every new event in your life is a déjà-vu…? And so on in an infinite sequence. Most of the times, we cannot differentiate what happened before or after, but we can’t escape the feeling that something is repeating in our conscience – like when we are dreaming that we are dreaming… It feels like we are faced with some internal law of natural and social life which has universal application and maybe a higher meaning.

Passing by (cylindrical print, 2004)

It seems like the first heartbeat triggers an infinite inter-weaving of rhythms, schemes, patterns, sequences, and cycles that are always happening in repetitive, recursive dynamics. They are never quite identical, every new repetition has its own characteristics and differences, but the same shape is always there in the background appearing in a cyclic pattern of recursions.

Nature (cylindrical print, 2007)
The City (cylindrical print, 2007)

In visual arts, printmaking is based exactly on this universal law of repetition. The repetitiveness of a work of art is the differentia specifica of the printmaking art form: producing an infinite number of the same, yet never identical, multi-original prints. The first time that Andrej Marjanovic noticed this link between the fine art form he was working in and this universal law of nature was in his graduation exhibition in 2004, which was titled ‘Recurrences’. Then, he dared for the first time to introduce a novelty in the technical instrumentarium of printmaking by using polyethylene plumbing pipes instead of flat printmaking plates as a formal expression of the idea of cyclical repetition, but also paying respects to the eldest printmaking techniques in the history of mankind (the Assyrian and Egyptian cylindrical stamp seals). His bold 2m high Tower of Babel was an impressive strike at the heart of his formal and thematic interest in this exhibition, and it irrevocably drew the attention of both the academic and non-academic audience to him as an original artist and also to the large-scale possibilities of this printmaking technique.

Tower of Babel (cylindrical print, 2004)

In this 2004 exhibition, his individual themes seem very diverse and inspired by the technical repeating possibilities of the engraved pipes: The Jump, Tetris, Tower of Babel, Phalanx, Passing by, Panic, Broken telephone. The themes are mundane or historical, but also personal and lucid. On first sight, they do not seem to be closely linked to each other, except by involving repetition as an internal principle. Although the author’s exhibition title hints very lucidly to the depth of the overarching theme, in 2004 his primary interest seems to be mostly focused on emphasizing the conceptual abstract meaning and significance of repetition, so the style and the expression in these prints are completely abstract, minimalist, and symbolical: the people are deduced to basic-line figures, the colors are black-and-white or primary, and the use of form and expressive means is minimal. Also by choosing repetition as his core interest, in a meta-artistic way, the author uses clear autoreferentiality toward printmaking as a visual art technique, pinpointing it as one of his major thematic and formal interests, dedicatedly searching for its most basic principle.

Phalanx (cylindrical print, 2004)
Panic (cylindrical print, 2004)
Broken Telephone (cylindrical print, 2004)

Three years later, in his second solo exhibition under the same title ‘Recurrences’ in 2007, he continued working on the same theme by reaching even deeper into the subject and by thoroughly and systematically researching the possibilities of his medium. In his prints from 2007, the themes grow into a single thematic whole, consciously depicting repetition as a universal principle of life: Tree/Seasons, Nature, The City, Haptata-Dshtata, Blah blah blah, and Dreaming (that I’m dreaming). Also, certain visual elements (clouds/smoke, the tree, the sun, and the moon) are deliberately reoccurring in the prints that are linked in a cycle, thereby formally inter-connecting the pieces among each other.

Tree/Seasons (cylindrical print, 2007)

Here, the author entirely opens up toward the content of his ‘recurrences’ idea and he embraces the wide range and weight of the idea’s semantic side that touches upon all areas of human life, in both nature and culture. The semantic aspects also open up some characteristics of the author’s style that were not able to break through before: the humoristic and the ludic-critical attitude toward the contemporary time and the tendency for the inter-media and multi-media approach (achieving the effect of sound by graphic representation of verbal elements, affiliation to comic art and film).

Haptata-Dshtata (cylindrical print, 2007)
Blah blah blah (cylindrical print 2007)

And still, there is enough room for the exquisite taste and the minimalist, abstract, and symbolic tendencies in some of the new prints (like Dreaming (that I’m dreaming),certain elements in all the prints, like the sun and the moon in The City and Nature, or the use of color, rain, apples, leaves, and snowflakes in Tree/Seasons), just as there is enough room for autoreferential exploration of the possibilities of the medium in representing complex compositions with abundance of forms and events (in The City and Nature), which successfully achieve vivid expressiveness, but also manage to depict entire actions and sequences of events in a story, almost like narration in film.

Dreaming (that I’m dreaming) (cylindrical print, 2007)

If we are looking for the common features of both cycles of ‘Recurrences’ by this author, however, we should mention the deep penetrative power of abstract thought, the instinctive tendency of interweaving the semantic aspects into the formal aspects of his works, and the great need to experiment. He is experimenting both with the themes and with the expressive means in general: the technique (the type of print, the matrix, the foundation, the forms, and colors) and the artistic medium. Each print is always embarking on a new challenging voyage. Yet, they all combine into a unified, but open and indefinite ‘Recurrences’ exploration, ever since the symbolical ‘jump’ in this conceptual way of thinking was made in 2004, with the first print of this series The Jump.

Written by Jasmina Ilievska-Marjanovic