2005. Branka Hlevnjak: Painting with the Sea by Višnja and Marijan Anić

Taking photos is a passion which has long preoccupied the mass consumer and camera lover. This miraculous gadget has brought the art of painting closer to the less talented individual. Actually, photography and painting are not of the same kind, and they are not competitive in the way that former engravers and Biedermeier miniature portrait painters thought at the time of bourgeois prosperity, when the camera threatened their permanent source of income. Photography has taken on a number of social tasks and painters have realised that they do not want to compete with natural precision, or even less with the mechanically captured picture. However, it was the amateurs worldwide who wanted to express themselves through the picturesque efficiency of the camera. Since 1835, increasing numbers of amateurs have been significantly influencing photography, leading to its final acceptance by artists and critics as an equal means of creative expression and artistic experiment, without undue constraints.

The married couple Višnja and Marijan Anić are among those admirers of photography. Linking their knowledge of contemporary photographic technology with the desire to take a photo of a “picture”, they have found a surprisingly rich resource to fulfil their wishes. They have discovered the amazing features and capacity of the sea (and water) to constantly create new “pictures” over and over again, and that, with great persistence and constant elaboration, they can “steal these pictures” from the sea with their camera. Hence the title of the exhibition “Painting with the Sea”. The authors leave the main authorship to the Creator, seeing themselves as photographic mediators.

Observing the refraction of light, the sharpness or obtuseness of rocks, the pebbles, algae or odd refuse at the bottom of the sea, the authors started to obsessively record various frames, each of which was naturally different, not only in its basic colour and in the interrelation of the colours, but also in the structure of the shapes which can be found on the seabed. Such a photograph presents a contemporary abstract composition and, as such, is proof that all the transformations and the metamorphoses of reality are already somewhere woven into nature and that there are no structures but the Creator’s.

The history of art recognises this deep relationship, as does the history of science and design.

When, after years of engaging in photography, Gjuro Griesbach discovered abstract forms as an “illusion”, he focused on them from the 1960s to the end of his life, believing and advocating that even black and white photography was but a palette of shades which, among other things, serves to convey messages.

The message conveyed in this exhibition by Višnja and Marijan Anić, admirers of photography and the sea, is the discovered beauty of colour and light, the discovered beauty of the changes in the sea, a picturesque abstraction which, by means of digital enlargement, becomes a “painter’s design”, a joyful wonder of shapes.

(from the exhibition catalogue)