Imprints of Emotions

Emotions are immeasurably important and maybe the least stable part of the human being. Nothing is as fickle as emotions, and without acknowledging the emotions one cannot lead a full life. There are no rules to how to handle emotions, as there are no finished forms that would be followed into the individuality of expression. The recently assigned isolation from contacting the outside world and people, has not quenched Josip Mijjić’s thirst to work, and not only that but he dedicated his works that have “sprouted” in the conditions we live in by contemplating his own emotions.  

Motivation, and the performance, are the result of the painter’s withdrawal into the private, family surroundings, into the personal, experiential, and emotional. Hardworking Mijić is adapting to the limited working conditions and limited conditions when it comes to exhibiting his work, so he created a virtual gallery for the exhibition he designed, by translating the “materiality” of his art work into a virtual space. In that way, he created a “walk” through a digital exhibition space where he exhibited a cycle of about sixty art pieces in drawing ink named Imprints of Emotions. The execution of these works, created in a short amount of time, is a reflection of a gesture that is conditioned on the temperamental painter and the characteristics of the ink technique in which he worked in. The ink must not dry on the surface of the paper until the artist makes a print. One part of the work is with the “original” strokes or, more precisely, there is a print on the other half. After he makes the drawing in ink, Mijić is consciously trying not to intervene, i.e. manipulate the shape. By doing this he has written the fundamental characteristics of emotions into the procedure and the name of the cycle; this relates to the shorter and longer, stronger or fleeting individual reactions to people, a certain event, or experience.   

Emotionally mature people are hard to come by. The correct path should be expressing pure emotions. When there are no pure emotions, the person becomes a lie, a fake, calculated, and can cry and laugh on command. Nevertheless, sometimes it is risky to surrender to pure emotions, because, by following them in an uncompromising way, one can become completely alone, or in the worst case, become insecure and frazzled, and there lies the danger of living an act or becoming completely separated. Looking at Mijić’s work encourages thinking, individual prints are the result of certain emotions; is it joy or sadness, or a wide range of emotions?

One can see how the artist’s initial drawing and print are precisely separated by a straight, black line; this becomes very suggestive and remind us of shapes found in nature, and one can see abundant, organic structures, encouraged by different spectrum of emotions, and therefore, we feel as if the spontaneity achieved by the ink’s drawing technique is ideal. One can see how the individual print often keeps the gaze to its centre, and that sometimes it is about semi-circle prints, sometimes stains, semicircles that are rounded or irregular and flattened, smaller and larger, muted and darker, or lighter and more translucent. By looking at the art, one can see the imagination of a lush visual correlation with the crack in the surface of ice or glass, the inside of a lake, to see the straight line of a water horizon. In some, the associations are going to lead us to a reminiscence of a reflection of an isolated hill in the surface of the water, nature enveloped by fog, shapes of microorganisms, nuts, or the shape of the Earth. Somewhere one can somewhat recognize the connection with, microscopically speaking, the shape of the coronavirus, even though Mijić is not that literal in his work. It is the measure that is important to him, and that is why he achieved the maximal expressional effect with minimal means and strokes. 

The irregularity and the abundance of shapes are the product of one and the same procedure. In his procedure everything takes place on the surface. In the experiment described, the image contains a certain “writing” in the absence of mental control, and his print, by pressing the paper and the aforementioned artistic writing, becomes a print. The visual layers with which a certain image communicates are intriguing. Therefore, making correlations with nature points to the diversity that, at the same time, implies an origin, a connection between similar shapes. If man hasn’t taken nature’s dignity, the relationship with the planet Earth, with the Whole, would be in balance and we would not be facing a string of negative ecological consequences.

Moving the art and setting them up in a virtual gallery (in isolation) seems like a logical thing to do, even though one requires a real encounter and dialogue with the art to truly experience the art’s properties. Even before the pandemic, and especially during, the events and every day communication are transported into a virtual, digital world, which, if not filtered, can cause disturbances in the mood like anxiety, depression or psychosis. These are the meetings of new uncertainties and ignorance, and where there is no knowledge, often the emotions are the ones that tip the scale.

Therefore, it is significant that Mijić uses the described art technique as his own awareness of emotions by using meditative “marking”, “writing”, a kind of ritual transferring of internal processes like a form of art therapy. The work is to be viewed not only as a current process through which the painter goes through by making prints, but also as a continuation of the previous prints. They are, thematically, and tentatively speaking, technically, a continuation of the cycle of Mijić’s graphic prints not yet exhibited, under the name Pain. The (non)colour black is not here without a reason; Mijić interpreted it in his doctoral dissertation by connecting it to the transcendental.

Imprints of Emotions have their audioreflections exhibited in a virtual space and they point us to the connection between the emotions and the visual and auditory, to penetrate the possibility of talking through artistic expression of emotions. Apart from that, they point us to the involvement of the technical, interactive possibilities of digital media into the work. This time, Mijić takes his cycle and “contemplating emotions” and presents them with a video several minutes long of a starry sky and the motif of Imprints of Emotions, emphasized with a line that splits the figure of “Earth” in ink, and the music more strongly reflects the “anxiety of a single person in space”. 

Lastly, the “walk” through the virtual space and looking at the images, brings us closer to the visual shapes and layers of meaning that can reflect ineffective art forms, even though they do not manifest the outside, experiential, and superficial world. The latter was not the artist’s aim, but his aim was to reach the emotional, the human, most fragile, that is the least protected, and which is often manipulated in the virtual world, be it hidden or out in the open. So, Mijić emphasizes the importance of emotions in his works – they are not lost in the isolation but are amplified.



Imprints of Emotions

India ink/monotype on paper
14 x 28 cm + 14 x 28 cm