Change is the Only Constant

Jasna Damnjanović


May 29th – June 13th

Change is the only constant

I saw myself inside again I saw
myself a box inside
which kept me as I
grew and grew
too large and round for this or
did the box continue
to shrink and tighten
into a passionate claustrophobia.1


Jasna’s women are much larger than she is. Their bodies are sometimes unnaturally bent and placed in a dense and mute space. They have thick hair, wide open eyes and press their big hands against the canvas edges, which are worn out from previous layers of paintings that peek out and slowly drip whilst enclosing the large female figures. They are atypically beautiful, strong, and nevertheless vulnerable found in the mid-space of their own becoming. And disappearing. 

Shadows don’t conceal the female geometry of these superior figures. Jasna makes these women refute everything that’s closing them up. They are sometimes absorbed into the background – for the sake of their own survival. Lacking any sensuality, some of them hold the keys to their own downfall – blades, chimeras, huge fishes… A hand that supports a declining head is not just one of many possible human postures; it is an iconographic code for melancholy. It is a melancholic fight with the women’s own past! (they originate from and dissolve into the previously painted layers – they arose from Jasna’s illustrative bright-coloured drawings and light, enflamed conflicts…). But here conflicts stay in the background, skilfully painted to the benefit of female demise and primal fears (the fear of death and loneliness is emphasised by a still female body behind a curtain smeared with blood, much like a scene from “Psycho”…).   

The black sun of melancholy makes them stronger as the fleshy phallic snake soars towards the sky. This is not a tender female alphabet, although it is female hand-writing.

We are in the midst of allegories of growing up and outgrowing. Jasna’s women are symbols of change 2. They are liberal manipulations, proudly suggesting the indefinite; deconstruction, construction and reconstruction. They aren’t conscious that change is a weakness, or surrender or a shameful exile from one’s bygone days. They have no memory blamefully witnessing past times. They associate to healing, self-healing oneself – and the world. They are metamorphoses of fiction and figures of change in the form of monumental fabrications that attempt to supply the world with variety.

In that world, change is not an option.

Text: Jelena Spaić

1Natascha Le Bel, excerpt from “Boxing the Female”
2In Serbian, “change” is a feminine noun. A woman is born so that she could give birth. She isn’t made from God’s metaphysical words, but from a rib. In Hebrew, Eve is life, a rib and the name of a newly made, anonymous woman. Eve doesn’t signify life but the possibility to “make again” – recreate, to change. A woman is often a figure of melancholy.

Photo: Luka Đurić, Milan Kralj