Interview: Darja Stefancic
Luca Curci talks with Darja Stefancic during LONDON CONTEMPORARY International Art Fair 2019 at The Line Contemporary Art Space.
Darja Stefancic was born on 27. October 1957 in Postojna (Slovenia). She graduated from the Faculty of Education in Ljubljana and then gathered the artistic skills at several art schools of different orientations. After the period of her youthful artistic experiences, she researched painting on her own for twenty-five years, away from the public eye, and she did not exhibit during this period. Alongside she delved into the heritage of the humanities – literature and philosophy, which were helpful in her search for a visual language of her own. By the means of classical oil painting technique, a square format, carefully selected symbolic of her motifs (gardens and imaginary landscapes) along with a dedicated long-lasting ritual resembling work on every painting, the author mentally travels between conscious and subconscious, perceptible and transcendental. Committed to inner freedom, she records this travelogue with her indvidual visual manuscript on the surface of the canvas regardless to present-day mass trends and dictates imposed by increasingly dehumanized reality.
Luca Curci – Which subject are you working on?
Darja Stefancic – For more than two decades I still now find a great challenge in inexhaustible world of dreams and subconsciousness as well as in the symbolism. During the process of my artistic maturing I carefully selected the themes and the artistic approach as well as the format of my works and the technique, which remains oil on canvas. Although my paintings reflect visually distinctive motifs, I often look at my work as a completely abstract image in the work process and carefully consider color and light dialogues.
LC – What are you currently working on?
DS – At the moment I am completing a painting of one of my imaginary landscapes that took me months of work as usual. I lovingly and thoughtful apply the finishing brushes and wait for the picture to tell me that our journey is near the place.
LC – What is your creative process like?
DS – As a rule, I choose a square format for the painting base. Although challenging in terms of composition, the square is friendly to my creation in its essential respects. The square itself is magical and infinite due to its central geometry. It does not dictate any direction, neither vertical nor horizontal. It is an ideal window for the transition from the material everyday world (from the necessity imposed on us in our physical reality) to the parallel world, which is uninhabited by categories of utility, without dogmas and suspicious authorities, where there is no one who manipulates us and where because of this, we can create our own universe and therefore can exercise it in a higher level of consciousness without fear. I myself translate my travels and searches into colours, rhythms and compositions and narrate them back to real life. When I move into painting, I enter another living milieu, a kind of athanor, a kind of eternal present time, where in a special atmosphere of mutual devotion of all elements, a kind of magical process can take place, the stages and formulas of which are written on the canvas. This process is complex and multifaceted, generated by the components of experience, emotions, perceptions and cognitions.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
DS – I am not so interested in using or combining tried and tested patterns so much, I like to rediscover. I step out of the molds and look from other points of view, through various prisms I approach, distance, enter, exit, hover in the fluid of the image, as if it were traveling into the unknown.
On my final decision for painting in the classical medium I also determined the thematic or motif scope. Imaginary landscapes and gardens with repeatedly occurring motif and symbolic elements: towers, walled cities and fortresses, intertwined, wild as well as formally arranged vegetation, ponds, fountains. The selected elements seem interesting to me in both the symbolic and visual sense. People and animals are visually absent from my paintings. Certainly there are some symbolic elements in my paintings, when choosing the format, motif, colour, as well as the modes in the tempo of painting. The viewer can, with his views, be better or less successful at recognizing the connection when he travels through the colorful landscapes of the images. (The painter’s speech is visual, so the clear text of the message could quickly become an awkward pleonasm). In the end, when you see that the viewer has noticed, understood something, an invaluable feeling of fulfillment prevails
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
DS – I associate the artist’s mission with creative urge and all-life reflecting about the position of man in the world and in the universe, which inevitably results in a degree of restlessness. An irresistible desire to tell, a burning lust for light. This, in my understanding, is an essential common characteristic of being an artist in all times. Everything related to material success, business or fame is the same and to certain extent banal in all professions and human endeavors and aspirations.
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the festival or as a part of preexisting works?
DS – I almost never paint according to the suggested theme, I feel free to choose from already created artworks and so it is also this time. My work is intertwined with visual and mental reflection and so close and to the humanistic understanding of the world that I can relate it to almost any subject that concern our existence and its artistic manifestation.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
DS – Of course, it always pleases me that art is given attention and that people of the profession are willing to present it and share it in the world. In an age of cheap and empty stimuli aggressively targeted at human perceptions, efforts in this direction are extremely valuable
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
DS – Yes, I would suggest it very warmly. Serious and professional work, attractive exhibition spaces and wide international scope
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
DS – So far, I have had the opportunity to work with you several times. Every participation in your events was a special, joyful and inspiring experience.
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
DS – I think your work is well done. We are introduced, represented with our works and thus made visible. Of course, artists also think about collectors, buyers… But this is a question that is more relevant to the current prevailing mental climate in our society.