Interview: Maja Strgar Kurečić
Luca Curci talks with Maja Strgar Kurečić during CANVAS INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2022, at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
Maja Strgar Kurečić was born in 1972, and is a Croatian fine art photographer born, raised, and based in Zagreb. Since the middle of the 1990s, she has been a professional photographer and educator. She works as an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Graphic Arts, the University of Zagreb where she gives lectures on the courses in the field of photography and graphic prepress. In addition to teaching and scientific work, she has been involved in photography for more than twenty-five years as a lens-based artist with a strong background and experience in commercial, advertising, and photojournalism. Within a deep personal devotion to a scientific but delicate approach, she overcame documentary and narrative and found herself in deep analytical and philosophical fields of experimental and abstract photography. Maja uses a camera as a tool that captures inner voices, emotions, and moods without the need to interpret reality. Most of the time, the process is spontaneous, intuitive, and unconscious. Her Abstract Art is a form of escapism that highlights the most difficult emotions in our everyday lives. Her abstract images talk about disconnections from the experience and balance in contemporary society. Those are layers of wonder in its most idealistic and pure form of art. Her work Floating Garden has been featured widely with international recognition for her experimental photographic projects. The most recognized works are abstract images from the series Other Worlds, 2017 – 2018; Escape Landscapes, 2017– 2019; Floating Garden, 2019 – 2021; and Lunaria Rediviva, 2020.
Luca Curci – How did you get to photography?
Maja Strgar Kurečić – I’m a visual being. Ever since I’ve known myself, I’ve been attracted to the visual media. Transmitting thoughts and feelings, ideas and stories through pictures, has always been a closer way of expressing myself than that of words. From a young age, I was interested in graphic design, photography, painting, and sculpture. My father and grandfather were architects, so I became interested in architecture too. I loved watching their blueprints and visualizing the spaces in my head. When the time for enrolling in college came, it was not easy for me to decide. But in the end, I choose the Faculty of Graphic Arts, University of Zagreb – where I even finish a Ph.D. study – and where I work as a professor for 25 years now. During my studies, I worked both as a designer and as a photographer. At one point, I had to decide whether to buy a new computer or a new camera from my savings. The decision fell on the camera, and I never regretted it!
LC – According to you, what makes a good photo? Which details do you focus on?
MSK – For me, a good photo is one that is visually but also mentally intriguing. The one that seduces us with its colors and shapes, but manages to convey an idea, emotion, or message. The one we can watch for a long time without getting bored. What I have learned so far is that in the creative process it is important to trust your intuition and give time for your ideas to develop. I create with passion, guided by my intuition.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
MSK – In my photography nature has always been my favorite motive, an endless source of inspiration. In the natural and delicate world around us, I find many metaphors for life and the transience of our human existence.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
MSK – I never lack ideas and inspirations for creation, what is my biggest challenge is time. That is the lack of time to be able to separate from other daily obligations and dedicate myself completely to creation. My creative process requires time for contemplation and a lot of experimentation.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
MSK – Yes, indeed, my style, as well as my interest, have changed over the years. I have become more contemplative and quite saturated with the obvious reality. I overcame the documentary and narrative approach and found myself in the deep analytical and philosophical fields of experimental and abstract photography. There I find the creative freedom that I was longing for.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
MSK – I think the biggest advantage of this exhibition concept is the possibility to meet other artists and talk about what inspires and drives them to create. It would be an even greater benefit for the exhibiting artists if meeting with art curators and art buyers could be organized within the event.
LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
MSK – The artwork that was exhibited in The ROOM is the photograph titled: “Joy of Life”, from my ongoing project “Floating Garden”. This photo is an ode to the organic, elemental life, as well as an ode to the cycle of life – which celebrates birth as well as death. My emphasis is on transience, but also on the beauty of all stages of life. To emphasize the delicate structure of the petals, I photographed them submerged in the water. I was very surprised and happy to see my photograph on all the press materials and posters for the exhibition. It became well known even before it was exhibited. About the work: it is a Limited Edition of 5, format 70×100 cm, Archival pigment print on Fine art paper and mounted on Alu Dibond.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
MSK – I think that ITSLIQUID platform could concretely help in a way to be a link between artists and galleries and art dealers. Through its extensive network of creatives, exhibition spaces, and art lovers, it can connect artists with the needs of specific galleries and art buyers. Hope it can help artists find a gallery that could represent and sell their work.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
MSK – Yes, I did.