Conversation with fine artist Nadja Petrović: Man as the main element in the works

Nadja Petrović in front of her work

The solo exhibition "The Fragility of Fireflies" by Nadja Petrović will be on display in the Museum of the City of Skopje until March 30 and is a great opportunity to get acquainted with a new and fresh painting universe.

Admiration of the grandiose works of the old Italian masters is strongly felt in the painting of fine artist Nadja Petrović. Born in Bitola, she has been expressing her talent since she was a child at the "Little Montmartre of Bitola" exhibitions. During his high school education, he went on several study stays at Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design in London. He graduated in 2013 from the department of painting and drawing at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, where he received his master's degree in 2017 from the department of visual arts and new forms of artistic expression.

After several exhibitions in world centers of art, these days her second exhibition is set up in Skopje.

Your solo exhibition from March 15 to 30 is set up in the Museum of the City of Skopje. Considering that your previous exhibition was almost four years ago, in 2019, what is the reason for the exhibition break and is it, perhaps, the time needed to prepare and present your new cycle?

- I wouldn't say it was a break, several projects were being worked on in parallel. Of course, during the pandemic some things have been slowed down around the world, and the inability to travel to do the full organization that is needed has had some impact. The very idea of ​​the whole new cycle, the very research around the fireflies, as well as the preparations for making the works of the new cycle, which are large formats, but also in terms of style and technique required a lot of additional work, because they include models who posed during the making of some of the works. Also, merging the cycle into a multimedia project together with the Tavityan brothers and world-famous guests, most of whom are Grammy winners, took a lot of time and energy.

The exhibition "The Fragility of Fireflies" is set up in the Museum of the City of Skopje

With the title "The Fragility of Fireflies", the exhibited works are attributed to your second painting cycle. What concept did you start the cycle with?

– The concept of "Fragility of fireflies", or as co-curator Gordana Velkov called it "Paradigm of human conditions", is a concept that draws a parallel between man and fireflies. The fragility of fireflies in human nature, but also in society, is expressed through the painted white stripes, which trace and illuminate the space in most of the works, and it also appears in the form of led-light in one of the works, as a boundary line of the biological and social condition of man, which flashes on and off in relation to his actions and surroundings, just as fireflies flicker in the night in pure and peaceful environments.

How was the story of the title of the exhibition created?

- "The fragility of fireflies" is a concept that we started researching back in 2018, which involved people from the field of entomology, as well as journalists from Italy and Macedonia, who collected materials and evidence that I needed about fireflies and their disappearance on a global level. As insects they are too delicate and need special conditions to survive, and thus the title "The Fragility of Fireflies" was born.

The symbolism is in the perception of life through the prism of good and bad, success and failure, and what success in life really represents, which is of crucial importance for a person to be happy. Everyone has their five minutes of "brightness", like fireflies that live for a short time and go out. That's how man searches for goodness in humanity and for spiritual values, which are very rare and when we find them in someone we wish them to last forever and never fade away due to any circumstances and reasons, but fragility is everywhere, in every sphere of life. , both essentially and spiritually.

In order to work on a large-format work, special training in painting is required

In your works reality is imprinted in a documentary manner, and at the same time it radiates surreality in a conceptual sense. What were the thematic inspirations and why did you decide on large image formats?

- I have been working on the large form of paintings since my student days in Italy, and in order to work on a work on a large format, special training in painting is required. Naturally, I was fascinated by the works of the old Italian masters and their grandeur, large dimensions and perfect painterly expression, both proportional and compositional. And as for the thematic expression in my works, man appears as the main element in the works. I draw the man and his conditions as a result of his actions in several of my cycles.

The message of your pictures is complemented by the music of the Tavitjan brothers. What is the connecting thread of music and fine art in the exhibition?

– The music of Tavityan brothers is jazz/fusion and is too similar to the style and expression of my works. Those who have a good understanding of trends in music and visual art can find the parallel very easily.

Your works have been exhibited abroad - New York, Delaware, San Diego (USA), Vienna (Austria), London (United Kingdom), Venice (Italy), and in Skopje you have only two solo exhibitions. Why is that?

- In order to exhibit abroad, especially in centers such as New York, Delaware, San Diego, London, etc., it is not an easy road to follow. Of course, exhibiting in centers where I had previously dreamed of exhibiting was a big challenge for me and I was honored to be represented in places where the greatest authors of fine art are represented.

(The interview was published in "Cultural Press" number 172, in the printed edition of the newspaper "Sloboden Pechat" on 25-26.3.2023)

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