The Archeology of Privacy

By Sava Stepanov

Since the beginning of the seventies, Andrej Tisma has been a part of the Vojvodinian art scene in a distinct, alternative and nonexclusive way. This artist has expressed his engaged relationship towards everyday life by means that are, themselves, a product of the world and time which he lives and creates in. Photographs are the main artifacts in his mail-art works, his Xeroxes and electro graphics, his video and computer web-art achievements. In keeping with the desired type of statement, Tisma utilizes photographs as documentary proof of a completed piece of work (actions, performances, records), as a creative gesture by which he expresses his own privacy and artistic personality (a series of Polaroids from the eighties), or he actualizes meaningful, engaging, at all times sarcastic and metaphorically rich conclusions about the current moment of humans of our time, by using found or scanned photographs.

In his works with photographs Andrej Tisma does not deal with issues of media authenticity. His approach towards the themes and functions of a photograph is modernistic due to the fact that everything is based on the elementary peculiarities of a photograph - it is the eternal segment of actuality and the personification of reality. Very often, Tisma intensifies this attitude to the ultimate consequences, especially in those works where a photograph is the document of the author's own privacy and the reflection of an honest and sincere confession.

In his series of photographs taken during the eighties (cycles and art-shows titled "Death Around the Eyes", 1985; "Danger", 1986-87; "Temptations", 1987-92), Tisma has insisted on rigid confrontations between Eros and Tanathos, on clashes between vitalist and catastrophic symptoms in order to accurately diagnose an individual's state of mind in social surroundings… During the art period of the nineties he holds on to similar principles, however, he no longer portrays the erotic and pornography solely as a personal act of confession, but as a sociological occurrence whose treatment in the encompassing mass-media system is equated with the inevitability of the daily news which - simultaneously - have the dignity of representative manifestations of the modern world's impulses but also the trivial meaning of expendable information goods… During the nineties of the now already previous century, Tisma's art is markedly critical towards the new world order, the USA and all the spiritual products of that social system, towards perverted events held in the completely advanced contemporary civilization (Natural Resorts, Collateral Art, American Art School, American Millennial Chocolates…). Not without reason, a while back, Daniel Stringer concluded in "Digital Arts" magazine (2001) that "anyone interested in understanding the political, artistic and ethical situation in the world today could start by looking at the Web.Art of Serbian artist Andrej Tisma", the art that, by utilizing photographs (as well as informational and communicational experiences of mail art and internet art) reaches witty, ironic, engaging and critically defined artistic conclusions about the very essence of the sensibility of the turning-point age for centuries and millennia.

In his series of prints from the suite "In my Room", Andrej Tisma sublimates his past authorial experiences and establishes a balance between his own intimate mood and the aggressive public eye. In his series of large photographs taken "in my room" privacy is merely an environment reached by the impulses of everyday life. At the beginning of this century, Tisma is a mature artist, a creative personality, who, in his own specific way, "chooses" and accepts the echoes of worldly events. In the plastic whole of his large photographs these "echoes" are defined by an inserted press shot as specific "evidence" of the existence of all those things which slip into our life, our soul, and our consciousness of the ruthlessness of everyday life and of miraculous human fate… The critical view of the artist with a new perspective on things is defined with precision in these photograph-computer creations. The whole of artist Andrej Tisma's engagement in "exploring his own surroundings, the archeology of privacy and the simultaneous registration of the world's impulses" seems like the artist's attempt, possibly even a desperate one, to assume the correct attitude towards the feeling of an epochal crisis, an attempt to find a measure for all things, to achieve spiritual harmony and balance, to reach his own being, himself.


Translated by: Snezana Perc


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