2012. Marija Tonković: THE DANCE OF THE NEREIDS from the cycle ‘Painting with the Sea’

From the very beginning of photography there have been debates about its relationship to painting and to reality. In observing the photographic picture the beholder applies his artistic experience even when the photographer is not inspired by it. This inherent picture-centricity of viewing, akin to anthropomorphism, burdens the purity of experiencing the photographic picture. In the early phases of looking for identity, the photographers themselves stressed out this link by nonsensically appeasing the art of painting, in the remarkable stylish category of pictorialism.

It took almost a hundred years and the art movement The new externality, with the corresponding technological development of cameras and procedures, for the photographers and viewers to become aware of the autonomy of the media and media specificalities of photographic expression. The picturality of art and that of photography differ.

As in other visual arts, the relationship towards reality and externality becomes a central place of the photographic motivation. The artistic personality of the photographer is identified with his specific motivational topics. The power of the photographic artistic expression is the result of finding a characteristic typical motif and the intensity of experience, with the corresponding formal organization of that piece of reality congruent with photography.

The sea is one of the motifs which are almost attributes of photographic interest. It appears early in history of photography, either as a descriptive part of the landscape or as an autonomous topic: marina as a seascape. In this long history, very rich in terms of inventory, and one would say used up contentwise, it is still possible to find an original reading/seeing of its artistic interpretation.

For almost a decade Višnja and Marijan Anić „paint with the sea“; in this syntagm lies their poetry and poetics. They photograph the seabed, and the restlessness of the sea surface transforms its factography, its tactility into free harmonies of the timbric colouring and biomorphological derivations.

These are photographs of the new topology in the extended meaning of the word, photographs which are not declarations about this world through art, but declarations about art through the world. Noticing the artistically attractive sea-bottom, filtered by rippling of the surface and its reflection in the depth, changing the focus between the surface and the bottom in the weather and time-of-day conditioned changes brings about unusual genuine photographs– thalassographies.

They thematise the familiar reality in a new way, shifting it into abstraction: lyrical, structural, as it is called in painting, in a virtual world of heraklitean fluid forms, outlines, pigments, decorations and multiple spatial echo. The burnish of the photographic paper points out the luminous sensitivity of the picture plane. All three components of a work of art are present here: in terms of content, plastic and emotion.  The generic title of the cycle with a visual association innate to human beings, enables the attribution of these pictures, and thus the widening and deepening of our experience of the world and a new quality of its existence.

Through the dance of the Nereids, the mythical Mediterranean sea nymphs, the sea bottom is converted into a kaleidoscope of organic and factorial facets – into which we are led by the married couple Anic, thus enriching, as art always does, our existence.