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By its meditative quality, measured gesture and using monochromaticity Melita's painting, that matured in the 1990s , can be classified as 'colour-field painting', a term coined by critics to denote a more moderate tendency within 'American abstract expressionism'. This tendency's main representative, painter Barnett Newman, proclaimed it "sublime", claiming how the essence of painting is not in what is painted, but within what the viewer projected into a painting. In this way he explained a turnabout in painting's interpretation which occurred with the rise of the first abstract painting, and which presumed a shift in the centre of gravity from content to effect, beyond what's painted. Without doubt, I would apply this same recipe in Melita's case, since from the beginning she's been using only two generic geometric figures – circle and line - which she varied in few derivatives: ellipse, point, arch and circle. In this manner her painting world is written in the externality, as a paradigm of natural phenomena like stars, Moon or sea horizon. In this game Melita is an observer of universe, interested in entities from the other side of the visible, in a field of phenomenology of perception which explains how experience of the abstract form such as circle is reflected to a sense of time's duration. If you take notice of her exhibitions' titles such as Moment, Infinite, Image and Time, Journey into the Flux of Feelings, you will realize that all of them generate an iconography of temporality. The actual morphological form of the word temporality is so clumsy that it was never adopted by everyday speech and that finally, it became something we never speak of but do feel it. This introduction serves an assumption claiming that all the painting procedures could be transferred onto the more recent works made in media of photography and video.

Three years ago, Juraj Klović Gallery hosted the author's exhibition similar to the present one. It was also a tripartite exhibition, and its one part was called Samutra – Tango Argentino, same as here. A direct formal connection between these exhibitions is tangoing, which at the occasion happened for real, while this time a document of tango happening is being exhibited. However, it seems the crucial link is something else: a yearning for a ship that has sailed away, leaving behind a wide horizon and long expectation. After insight into the central, visually most stratified work of the exhibition in which passenger ship sails away an infinite number of times, the observer becomes stretched between poetic and traumatic feelings. The motion of the ships which we follow until they get out of our sight truly awakens some inexplicable yearning; farewell-sounding sirens get suddenly smothered above the city, evoking distance. But, persistent repetitions of sailing out, each lasting for a few minutes, awakens a feeling of unrealized navigation, forbidden pleasure, discomfort of a sickening return to the same. The reason, of course, is the hidden editing, sudden cuts which always, again, brutally interrupt barely initiated setting out to the high seas, but also in a raw material, recorded from static standpoint. Certainly, despite clear contextualization and recognizable scene of Rijeka port (M/S Marco Polo and M/S Liburnia), as well as intimate life milieu of the author, Ship is a video which should be understood as a place of intuitive articulating of accretions of emotional stuff. To be sure, the author touches a female archetype in tradition of seamanship in Littoral area where from the ancient times women waited, alone. However, in this case we cannot literally speak of the subject, especially for obvious radical social-economic changes in life of seamen and incomparably larger socialization of the women, due to which this phenomenon in contemporary society gained totally new meanings of which here it is not necessary, nor pertinent to speak ( ethnologic themes belong to some other essay). Instead, Melita speaks of experience of waiting which is at least irritating. However, her survival instinct sublimes it into time recording, following regular intervals: photographs were shot at 4.30 p.m. from winter to summer solstice, which is also the name of the cycle. Sailing out of the passenger ships was recorded each Friday, within a period of one to two years. In this manner she achieved two opposite results: apparently she ignores lengthiness, paying special attention to consistent time structure, as if it was essential, whereby she paradoxically emphasises a feeling of slow time flow.

Photos and video reveal this is actually a method of deconstruction and reconstruction which Melita applies in that very order, so that first she cuts and crumbles into sequences and consequently composes them into a whole, repetitively. Partially for her personal inclination which can be noticed in her paintings and drawings, and somewhat for contextual linking with the motif of seamanship, the author exaggeratedly uses repetition, varying the same, creating fatigue of waiting. It is interesting she stays away from any sensation, and subordinates everything to a rhythm of inner emotional beat, which I deem a quality shift in relation to her previous works, hereby not referring to better of worse quality but different poetics imposed by the medium of video. They say video is a motion picture, which the author's hand does not polish, but endows it with rhythm though process of editing. Let us also mention that a sequence of randomly shot seascapes of Cres and Krk islands and Vela vrata passage altogether reveal this is no "art" material but ordinary documentary one, by which we observe the change of seasons.

If an accidental visitor wishes to read out the exhibition in a wholesome manner, I believe s/he has to round the exhibits many times, because only together all of the three render a narrative visible. When we again walk to Ranko Dokmanović's photographs documenting tango in Klović Gallery in 2004 (Samutra Tango Argentino), the works get connected into a since silent confession of reasons for waiting.

 

 

Melitino slikarstvo sazrijelo u devedesetima može se po meditativnosti, umjerenoj gesti i uporabi monokromije uvrstiti među sljedbenike 'slikarstva obojenog polja' kako su kritičari nazivali umjereniji pravac unutar 'američkog apstraktnog ekspresionizma'. To je slikarstvo njihov glavni predstavnik, slikar Barnett Newman, proglasio 'sublimnim' tvrdeći kako bit slike nije u tome što je naslikao, već u onome što gledatelj projicira u nju. Time je objasnio obrat u načinu tumačenja slike koji se dogodio s pojavom prve apstraktne slike, a koji podrazumijeva pomak težišta sa sadržaja na učinak, onstran naslikanog. Bez dvojbe bih se ovim receptom poslužila u Melitinom slučaju, budući da od početka koristi tek dva generička geometrijska lika  - krug i liniju koje varira u nekoliko izvedenica: elipsu, točku, luk i kružnicu. Na taj je način njen slikarski svijet zapisan u izvanjskom kao paradigma prirodnih fenomena poput zvijezda, mjeseca ili morskog horizonta. U toj je igri Melita  promatrač univerzuma kojeg zanimaju entiteti s druge strane vidljivog, u polju fenomenologije percepcije koja tumači kako se doživljaj apstraktnog oblika poput kruga odražava na osjećaj trajanja vremena. Promotrite li naslove njenih izložbi,  Moment, Nedogled, Slika i vrijeme, Put u tijek osjećaja shvatit ćete da sve redom generiraju ikonografiju vremenitosti. Sam oblik pridjeva, vremenitost, toliko je nezgrapan da ga govor svakodnevice nikada nije usvojio i na koncu, o njoj uopće ne govorimo, ali je osjećamo. Ovaj uvod služi pretpostavki da bi sve postupke iz slikarskog mogli prepisati i na recentne radove nastale u mediju fotografije i videa.

 

Unazad tri godine u galeriji Juraj Klović autorica je postavila izložbu sličnu ovoj. Bila je trodjelna poput ove i jedan dio se zvao Samutra –Tango argentino kao i ovdje. Izravna veza  izložbi formalno jest događaj plesanja tanga, koji se tada stvarno dogodio, a ovdje se izlaže njegov dokument,  no čini se da je bitna poveznica nešto drugo: čežnja za otplovilim brodom iza kojeg ostaje široki horizont i dugotrajno iščekivanje. Nakon uvida u središnji, likovno najslojevitiji rad izložbe u kome se zbiva bezbroj isplovljavanja putničkog broda, gledatelj biva razapet između poetičnog i traumatičnog osjećaja. Kretanje brodova koje pratimo do izlaska iz našeg vidokruga doista budi neku neobjašnjivu čeznutljivost - pozdravni zvuk broda naglo se uguši nad gradom evocirajući daljinu, no uporna repetitivnost isplovljavanja od kojih svaki traje svega nekoliko minuta, budi osjećaj neostvarene plovidbe, zabranjenog užitka, nelagodu mučnog povratka na isto. Razlog tome je dakako u montaži, u naglim rezovima koji uvijek iznova brutalno prekinu tek započeli lagani izlaz na pučinu, ali i u sirovom materijalu snimanom iz statične pozicije. Svakako da usprkos jasnoj kontekstualizaciji, nama prepoznatljivom kraju riječke luke (brodovi Marco Polo i Liburnija) i intimnom životnom miljeu autorice, video Brod treba shvatiti mjestom inutuitivnog artikuliranja nakupina emotivnog materijala. Doduše, autorica se dotiče i ženskog arhetipa u tradiciji pomorstva u Primorju – žene su tu od davnina čekale i samovale no u ovom slučaju ne možemo doslovno govoriti o tome, posebice zbog očitih korjenitih socio-ekonomskih promjena u životu pomoraca i zbog nemjerljivo veće socijalizacije žene, uslijed čega je ovaj fenomen u suvremenom društvu dobio potpuno nova značenja o kojima ovdje nije potrebno ni umjesno govoriti ( etnološke teme su za neki drugi tekst). Umjesto toga, Melita govori o iskustvu čekanja koje je u najmanju ruku iritantno. Međutim, ona ga instinktom preživljavanja sublimira u temeljito bilježenje vremena, slijedeći pravilne vremenske razmake snimanja: fotografije su snimane u 16.30 sati od zimskog do ljetnog solsticija kako se ciklus i zove, a odlasci putničkih brodova svakog petka u razmaku od jedne do dvije godine. Tako je postigla dvije oprečne stvari: prividno ignorira dugotrajnost obraćajući naročitu pozornost na dosljedno strukturiranje vremena, kao da je to od suštinske važnosti, čime paradoksalno naglašava osjećaj sporog protjecanja vremena.

Fotografije i video pokazuju da je posrijedi metoda dekonstrukcije i rekonstrukcije koju Melita primjenjuje upravo tim redom, tako da najprije reže i drobi u sekvence a zatim ih repetitivno sastavlja u cjelinu. Dijelom zbog osobne sklonosti koju možemo primjetiti u njenim slikama i crtežima, ponešto i zbog sadržajne povezanosti s motivom moreplovstva, autorica pretjerano koristi ponavljanje, variranje istog, stvarajući zamor čekanja. Zanimljivo je da se kloni bilo kakve estetizacije, da je sve podređeno ritmu unutarnjeg emotivnog bilà, što smatram kvalitativnim pomakom u odnosu na dosadašnje radove, ne misleći na bolju ili lošiju kvalitetu nego drugačiju poetiku koju koju medij videa nalaže. Za video se kaže da je pokretna slika, i to takva koju autor ne dotjeruje rukom, nego joj montažom daje ritam.  Spomenimo i to da niz nasumično okinutih morskih pejzaža Cresa, Krka i Velih vrata pokazuje da se ne radi o nikakvom 'umjetničkom' materijalu već običnom dokumentarnom, u kojem motrimo promjene godišnjih doba. 

 

Ako slučajni posjetitelj želi cjelovito iščitati izložbu, vjerujem da mora radove obilaziti više puta, jer tek sva tri zajedno čine priču vidljivom. Kad ponovo prošetamo do fotografija Ranka Dokmanovića koje dokumentiraju ples tanga u Kloviću 2004. godine (Samutra – Tango argentino) radovi se povežu u jedinstvenu tihu ispovijest o razlozima čekanja.      

 

 

Sabina Salamon

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