There is a passage in the book The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are – The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology (1994) by American writer Robert Wright that is particularly meaningful. It goes: “Lasting love is something a person has to decide to experience. Lifelong monogamous devotion is just not natural—not for women even, and emphatically not for men. It requires what, for lack of a better term, we can call an act of will. . .
“This isn’t to say that a young man can’t hope to be seized by love. But whether the sheer fury of a man’s feelings accurately gauges their likely endurance is another question. The ardor will surely fade, sooner or later, and the marriage will then live or die on respect, practical compatibility, simple affection, and (these days, especially) determination. With the help of these things, something worthy of the label ‘love’ can last until death. But it will be a different kind of love from the kind that began the marriage. Will it be a richer love, a deeper love, a more spiritual love? Opinions vary. But it’s certainly a more impressive love.”
The lines above are quite pertinent to the work of Serbian artist Biserka Petrovic, who, in her series “Illusions”, explores a couple at two different stages of life in a very cinematic manner.
The woman—in both versions—is in a red T-shirt. The man in navy. When young, they look a little reckless and wild. With age, they are more reflective, participating in deeper conversations. They are seen removing blindfolds, looking at each other through new eyes, shedding immature conceptions, penetrating through fantasies. Definitions—of life, of love, of commitment and companionship—seemingly have evolved as they themselves have transformed with time. The collection of paintings is simple yet dramatic, instantly stimulating the viewer into deep thought.
Biserka explains: “Everybody has illusions of their own, the question is: are we aware of them, and do we want to change them? Strong contrasts interest me in all possible forms, physical and spiritual, as does perception. The existence of the opposites contemporarily, in the human mind as in the universe intrigues me. I’m thinking about human perception as of something defined by our previous experiences. This is the perception story. Illusions paintings show four characters and my vision of their self-understanding after two decades; They talk about exploring of the self, inner struggles, love, psychological states and growing up. I imagined the two men as the same one as young and as older, and the same for the two women. They are practically observing (thinking about) themselves when they were young.
“In the given order you can see the story, but every painting separately is a psychological study open for different interpretations. For this series, I first developed the scenario, hired the theatric actors which acted under my direction, took the photographs and then painted. This whole cycle is born after my work on hand painted film Loving Vincent, which moved me towards expressing my ideas of perception change in a form of paintings connected in a story.”
The artist studied Italian, English and Fine Art at the University of Belgrade. Later, she obtained her master’s from Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze, Italy.
FOCUS: Where I will bring to your attention a charity and a business operating in the artist’s place of origin or addressing their themes. These initiatives are not affiliated with the artist or their galleries. You could donate to, buy from or invest in them.
CHARITY—The International Women’s Club (Belgrade, Serbia). They promote solidarity among women and raise funds for worthy causes.
BUSINESS—Where Should We Begin (New York, NY, US). This is a new game designed to introduce playfulness and storytelling into your next date, dinner party, or intimate get together—by world-renowned psychotherapist Esther Perel, known for her concept of erotic intelligence and unique perspective on relationships.