Lidija ’s work is like finding oneself on a post-eruption terrain of a glittery volcano. Shiny, glossy and fluffy materials melted, cured and assembled together, standing firmly. The nature of her work matches her personality well: it’s like a sweet explosion. Entering her studio, we’re on treasure island. Her weapon of choice: the heat gun. Behind the playfulness of colorful shapes and forms, you find a strong and assertive character, though not any less sweet. She has a striking presence, just like her art.
Lidija was born in Serbia, grew up in the US, lived and worked in both New York and San Francisco. Therefore, she has a diverse and complex personal history, which also translates into her work.
Her practice is very much three dimensional. Even the earlier series How My Garden Grows (2017) or Icons and Idolatry (2015) where she often creates collages and assemblages on tableaus or in frames, are far from the classic definition of painting. Accordingly, the idea of “painting in 3D” is always present in her work. The installation and solo exhibition Behind Her Uncontaminated Front (2019) was an important turning point for her. Working with an installative approach allows for complexity of not only content but also format and mediums. With this specific work, she combined moving image with sculpture for the first time – and video is a reoccurring element in her other projects as well. These are just some of the many landmarks which led to her way of creation as it is today, resulting in what she calls “hybrids and amalgamations”.
Versatility in space
Following her series Interchangeable Parts (2021), she utilized a similar method for her first work exhibited during the residency at PILOTENKUECHE. These assemblages consist of “objects fabricated from consumer and post-consumer products”, sculptural tableaus, video, and original score. She combined found and upcycled items, materials from hardware or dollar stores, makeup and other items associated with feminity.
The series is entitled “an age of memory abundance” (2021), which is a quote taken from Nathan Jurgenson’s The Social Photo: On photography and social media. This book was also the source for all the titles of works in the series, such as: a tiny protest against time. Jurgenson discusses the effect of social media and the ubiquity of cameras in the form of smartphones on our lives and perception. It is a clear link to Lidija’s interest in how digitalization has changed our world, how it influences our everyday life as well as creating works of art. Her approach is more centered around exploration of the topic rather than critique though.
photos by Fanni Papp for PILOTENKUECHE
Painting in three dimension
Lidija is interested in space and how artworks interact with it. Her installations are meticulously put together on-site from dozens of different pieces. Therefore, a sort of eventuality lingers in these works – they might take a different shape each time exhibited. Still, every gesture and placement is intentional, which we can sense in the final result. Moreover, there is not only one way to look at the pieces: they can be viewed from any possible angle.
She considers these sculptural installations sort of three dimensional paintings. Her work is strongly inspired by 3D modelling as well, seeking to recreate the aesthetic of the digital manually. What is real vs what’s the representation? Additionally, her experience as a lighting designer and her fascination for archeology really shine through when looking at these assemblages. One can imagine being on a (post-consumerist, post-apocalyptic) treasure island, where it’s always possible to find something new or discover a previously unseen detail.
Creating systems of creation
A key moment this year shortly before coming to Leipzig was the exhibition is this a bad time? at 80WSE Gallery in New York, showing her installation titled The Space That We [Keep] Between Ourselves (2021). Here, Lidija extended the concept of installation to an exhibition room as a whole, which is a quite experimental approach. Even moreso because she executed the show from distance, which gives it another twist (no wonder the cause of this was the pandemic). It could be considered unfortunate, since she could not be present at the opening. On the other hand, this situation encouraged her to find new strategies. Thanks to digitalization and the internet, Lidija could create all her works from a distance: send them as digital files, had them manufactured and shipped directly to the gallery.
images are courtesy of the artist
In a way, all Lidija’s oeuvre is like an inception. She films and photographs her installations, then creates digital paintings and collages from them. The real life pieces go through many stages of digitalization and processing. In the end, the pieces all influence each other, they blend, connect, feed off of each other.
Although the feminist connotations are not so explicit in her work, they are definitely there. Only not screaming at us in capital letters. Lidija’s works embrace the feminine in a playful way. They seek to transform the objects, materials and tools that are often associated with woman’s work or feminine habits into something abstract, otherworldy, non-human.
written by Fanni Papp
Lidija Ristić is a Serbian-American interdisciplinary artist working between Belgrade and New York. She is currently one of our International residents. Find out about Lidija’s activities on her website and/or in person at the following PK shows in Leipzig.
19.00 – 22.00
Sat 18 Sept
19.00 – 22.00