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Art History Professor in the University of Athens

"Attempt for a route in the painting of Jelena Ignjatovic"

Jelena Ignjatovic, coming from the friend country of Serbia – Montenegro combines the pictorial creation with the scholar research of Art History. I met her as a student of the Post-Graduate Studies program of the History and Archaeology Department in the University, where she studies in the 2nd cycle for the preparation of her doctoral thesis, as a scholar of the Onassis Foundation. The subject of her doctoral thesis “Portrait and Icon” again combines the two axes of her personality.

As a painter she explores the human face in a modern pictorial view, which does not only adhere to the plain execution of physiognomic features, but also morphologically utilizes the face elements intervening in both a synthetic and an analytical way, remoulding the forms. As an Art Historian she studies the Icon, which is a “portrait” as well, but with respect to its special style and form, the Icon has in the Orthodox church crucial importance for the spiritual life of the believers. This is the reason, moreover, that the Icons Restoration is the victory and triumph of the Orthodoxy. We, therefore, expect with great interest the doctoral thesis of Mrs. Jelena Ignjatovic.

Her painting has also other expressions and morphological pursuits. Samples of a phase in her work are the eggs, which she uses to express herself with both their shape and the egg Easter symbolism, as well as with the painting decoration of their surface mostly based on colour values.

There is another unit in the painter’s work connected with the Passion and Resurrection. It refers to the Crucifixion. The Cross with the Christ in an allusive form, the Cross in various forms, the Cross as a symbol, but also as a morphological element dominates complex compositions.

In her last work Ignjatovic emphasizes more the colour as we see in dynamic compositions with swirling chromatic spheres. In deep red background a spherical grayish mass vibrates. In other works the chromatic values are faint˙ often in azure shades. A praying figure animates a painting, while in another one three – barely discerned – Saints walk on a path towards Emmaus in a celestial atmosphere implied by an intensely abstractive scenery. Sometimes the landscapes - always of course in an abstractive way – recall memories of specific places, like a narrow street in Plaka with a sun–moon in the background.

Jelena Ignjatovic is a painter with a rich pictorial production, which approaches an extensive range of painting formulations in a contemporary abstractive way, which is justified thanks to the colour sensitivity and the synthetic ability. Her work does not rest on simply describing but proceeds to the record of more profound experiences reaching existential and metaphysical pursuits, which find their outlet in the spirituality of the Orthodox tradition.