Živana Mijailović


January 18th – February 10th


In the works of Živana Mijailović, abandoned spaces overgrown with vegetation take a central role, inhabited solely by animals and their remains. These scenes represent a sort of scenography for the artist’s personal experiences and childhood memories. The distant sound of barking dogs, the architecture of nests, crows, or her mother’s wedding dress becomes the emblem of a magical, childlike, and fanciful world where unreal beings dwell.

Živana Mijailović illustrates the ambience of spaces with sentimental significance, exploring the transformation of these places and the phenomenon of nostalgia within a familiar environment that becomes a silent witness to everyday occurrences. The artist chooses to depict her own hazy childhood memories through reflections, comments, details, and personal interpretations, placing the observer in the role of an explorer given her own diary, allowing them into an almost sacred, at times even eerie atmosphere.

On the other hand, these spaces can be anyone’s and no one’s, everywhere and nowhere, here and now or nowhere and never, as scenes from a child’s perspective clash with the current perception of the same. In this liminal space between the past and present, Živana Mijailović manages to capture the atmosphere, feeling, and pulsating tension emanating from these places.

The landscapes in her drawings transcend all classifications, creating their own space of existence, becoming somnambulant, melancholic, and somewhat ominous. In the absence of people, the space transforms, inhabited by imperceptible life, portrayed through detailed scenes with vegetation and animals functioning in their own microcosm.

Drawings executed with a combination of ink and watercolour or ink and pencil showcase the artist’s connection to meticulous detail. Beyond manifesting through precision, this technique combination serves as a bridge to conceptualize her body of work. Technical virtuosity becomes a means of conveying deeper ideas and emotions. Each drawing becomes a kind of cabinet of curiosities, inheriting a multitude of intangible heritage in the form of memories, with every detail having its place in the whole.

The passage of time and the porosity of memories create a hybrid version of the depicted places that become pale, distant, and unrecognizable. Each drawing transforms into an artefact recording the process of changing the perception of space and time in the depicted landscape. Places that were once vibrant and recognizable become melancholic shadows of their past, as the artist explores the subtle dynamics between forgetting and remembering.

Živana Mijailović questions the fundamental needs of every person, which is the preservation of personal heritage and memories of moments that influenced the formation of who we are today. By recording, collecting, and preserving them, akin to a museum context paying homage to significant and big events from the past, here the focus shifts to small creatures, ordinary places, and everyday actions that are now moved from marginalias to a central position.

Text: Bojana Jovanović

Photos: N. Ivanović