The Soul of a Painting: Modus Vivendi
Within the realm of fine arts in Slovenia, the paintings of Dusa Jesih belong to the genre of geometric abstraction, characterized by the visual composition of artwork using geometric forms, elements, or structures on a two-dimensional canvas, according to previously defined mathematical rules, which appear to be by the “scientific” rules of nature. Geometric abstraction is no novelty in Slovene fine arts production, it has been topical for over a century, from the time it was still called (and considered) avant-garde. But the scope of Dusa Jesih’s paintings reaches far beyond the influence of geometric abstraction, touching upon almost all of the 20th century -isms.
In translation, the phrase ‘módus vivéndi’ means an arrangement or agreement that enables a peaceful coexistence. Dusa Jesih uses the painting medium to construct geometrical forms into a syntax of horizontal and vertical shapes, creating the effect of architectural quality on a two-dimensional canvas. The artist’s distinctive feature is maintaining an explicit distance to the past and the limitations of the past, and not letting herself be trapped by any kind of direction or movement. The period of modern art, as well as art movements of the 20th and 21st centuries in general, share a common feature: the point is not to understand an artwork, but to contemplate one.
In a manner entirely her own, Dusa Jesih incorporates the avant-garde and neo-avant-garde 20th-century genres, creating an entirely new, contemporary artwork of the 21st century. Through the subjective − her spontaneity, and the objective − her knowledge and skill, she builds a peculiar artistic expression. Her monochrome paintings reflect hues of black-and-white quadrates, reminiscent of supremacism, which means clarity of perception. This is pure conceptualism of immaterial forms without any backup in physical objects from reality. An esthetics based on surface forms, purely geometric forms, created based on a metaphysical “feeling”, rather than juxtaposition − the latter is established post-festum.
In other words, módus vivéndi, as an arrangement that allows one to transcend what is seemingly incompatible, can only ever exist temporarily, as part of a consensus. To overcome oppositions, natural or political or structural or meaningful, different types of organic models need to be formalized, each carrying its substance, and essentially existing because of this natural disparity: the difference that separates them from any other. This is what lies at the core of the symbiosis, which the author so confidently, yet unobtrusively, re-creates as architecture in the medium of painting. Surface, and its reduction, the line, as two fundamental expressive objects, can exist separately, but each time only at a precise moment and at a precise point in space. Dusa Jesih’s módus vivéndi is established only when she exposes a basic geometrical figure against its counterpart. The compositional symmetry of co-existence, which emerges through the emphasizing of universal difference, is, however, ultimately formalized only by including the observer’s view.
Dusa Jesih takes one step further: her geometric animation contains the element of surprise. The artist uses computer digitalization to alter the patterns of meshes, employing animation to add energy to the painting, and advancing it to a controlled chaos. There are no coincidences, it is all about the artist’s spontaneity in creation, which is also the ultimate, most powerful virtue of beauty in art. The digitalization of this painting dialog adds further to the re-creation of the endless rhythm of individual ‘modules’ or building blocks, whereby the artist transcends the commonness of materiality. The view discloses, but without really revealing anything. Dusa Jesih strips the sight of its vanguard decision-making position she does more than that: the eye is exposed as entirely subjectivized and is allowed only the benefit of observation.
The cycle Modus Vivendi addresses something that could be called a “universal artwork”. There is no representation here, only pure lyrical truth; there is also no significance as to the colors or images, which are all unified. Dusa Jesih reforms the painting into a meditation. Her intention is not to depict objects of reality, moreover, it is neither symbolic nor representative, but rather distinctly purist, clean, and entirely open to contemplations about pure art. The perspective of color stands for a minimalist reduction; the rhythm of abstraction establishes the conceptuality of the work, thus upgrading it to something different, at worst; to a work that wants to be part of a spiritual harmony, and provide the same chance to the viewer. The Object is no more. But there comes Dusa, carrying a Sign. —Nina Jeza & Artists&Poor’s