With expressive fragments of bodies, plants and objects, Nevena Aleksovski exposes the fragile nature of personal identity. The artist works from experience; using the subjective language of art to explore binary relationships between individuals and society; reality and unreality; man and woman; empty and full.
Nevena’s work purposefully plays with a sense of uncertainty and discomfort. By adding colour or cut-outs, designs appear to float from a distance. Empty environments invite reflection on society’s rules. Simplified and minimalistic figures create word puzzles in the form of drawings, paintings, illustrations and fanzines.
Also hidden in this visual language are verses and words that allow for free association. The artist’s work often presents us with pairs – two palm trees, two faces, a pair of shoes – which question relationships, remoteness, and the idea of contradiction. These features do not always stop at doubles – an image of four people “double-dating” uses repetition to highlight how distant and estranged each figure really is.
Nevena draws inspiration from powerful emotions and hidden parts of her subconscious. As someone who experienced otherness growing up during tough times in Serbia in the 1990s, she has faced the abyss of uncertainty, as well as the power of humour. In some cases, this expresses itself as irony in her work. On other occasions, it tips into anxiety.
The artist’s disarming sense of humour can dissolve ideological and social illusions – or trigger consoling smiles. Nevena uses it to balance the serious business of everyday living: suggested by the title of one of her latest zines, Hey, everything’s OK.
She works between illustration and painting, with rough, linear drawings and figures which are outlined but not shaded. Isolated elements of both come together at her exhibitions, where the artist often draws directly onto the gallery wall, turning it into an integral part of the exhibition.
Her playful works present us with a whole and honest truth: one cannot (and should not) hide from oneself. Instead of internal discord, her works offer us that precious in-betweenness, which is precisely what defines our humanity.
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