Dejana Pupovac

︎︎︎Tenderness by the Yard
︎︎︎Tenderness is Reserved for the Unpredictable
︎︎︎Basin one and two, 2022

<<The opposite of the ‘romantic ruin’ are ‘ruins in reverse’, all the new constructions that would eventually be built. When defining the concept of ‘ruins in reverse’, Robert Smithson explained: ‘buildings don’t fall into ruin after they are built, but rather rise into ruin before they are built’. This idea of memory sculpture, a reversal and progression of time simultaneously, is what I am drawn to continuously as an artist.

Architectural elements are dominant in much of my work, a vernacular architecture that focuses on the autonomy of the part, rather than a functional wholeness. When I chose to work with concrete and textile, I am chasing the same limbo between primary matter and a ‘finished’ structure. Derived from rocks and plants respectively, concrete and textile are in themselves final and yet they have become affordable building blocks for our societies. ‘It seems we have lost the trace of how and why things are put together. There is a rupture of reference, a loss of memory, an absence of know-how’, explains Siah Armajani.

A loss of memory and what retains memory is something that very much interests me. The choice to use available materials, like cardboard, to deprioritize functionality or even stability of a structure, is something I like to explore in my work. Being from Ex-Yugoslavia, the memory and loss of the same is something I share with people that have had to leave their country. My family home became a ruin, to then be repurposed, collaged into something not new, a functional ruin, a scrambled memory.

I don’t think memory is necessarily nostalgic, I feel it has a regenerative quality, a natural cycle that repeats and changes. The casts that I use to make sculptures are made with cardboard and textile, I repurpose one same cast multiple times, each time the cast is softer, has changed its shape, has been ‘through’ one birthing process, changing itself until it no longer can contain or cure form. Even though Arte Povera and artists like Giuseppe Penone have been my influences, especially while studying design in Italy in my twenties, my life in New York has exposed me to the influential work of many women artists, past and present, that have changed how I think about sculpture and time. Pillars like Hannah Wilke, Michelle Stuart, Lygia Clark, Olga Jevric, Phyllida Barlow, are inspiring me to take my work into a more organic, ‘softer’ iteration through further use of textile and natural elements, while retaining its architectural base.>>

/Tenderness by the Yard, 2022

//Tenderness is Reserved for the Unpredictable, 2022

time-based performative action with Sanjeshka
This project was presented by Contemporary Attitude. Learn more about it here

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///Basin one and two, 2022

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