2009. Sanda Stanaćev Bajzek: Višnja and Marijan Anić “Painting with the Sea”

Taking photographs on the coast, Višnja and Marijan Anić have discovered an unusual phenomenon. Capturing segments of the seabed exposed to various light conditions and changes of climate, in other words the height of the waves, the colour of the sky and the configuration of the seabed, with sophisticated photographic equipment and suitable exposure, they get works that look more like abstract paintings than photographs. The sea bottom filtered through the water itself, exposed to the effects of daylight and the circulation of the air, has in their interpretation by chance become not only the main motif and content, but also the material and the painter.

Having indubitable artistic imagination, Višnja and Marijan Anić, working on this cycle of photographs, have combined chance and controlled photographic action to reconcile two polarities – nature and technology (the sea and the camera) in order to record and share with others their own fascination with a certain natural phenomenon.

The forms that appear before them are reflections of something invisible to our naked eye. Given specific exposure, the perceived segments of sea beauty turn into a visual sensation quite unlike classical photography. These are fascinating, colourfully rich, morphologically unusual “abstract pictures”. In the interpretation of the Anićes, the motif is replaced by an association or an evocation in a free perception formulated by a classical photographic procedure without subsequent intervention, i.e. finishing touches. As we see them today, the photographs are the result of observation, study and recording, they are the reflection of an exploratory impulse and the life philosophy of the gifted individuals who have recognised, selected and materialised beauty, with a great number of clicks and subsequent selections, intuitively reaching for the pieces which satisfy the criteria of the artistic artefact in terms of composition, morphology and colour.

They reveal to us the sea as a place which gives us a view of both sides, the subjective and the objective. The authors put before our eyes scenes in which reality is only discerned in the configurations and range of unusual colours. What fascinates us is the sea bottom without flora and fauna, where a stray pine needle, sea foam or a blade of grass only testifies to the reality, thus additionally enriching the picture and making it more dynamic.

Familiar seascapes are transformed into an aestheticised matter of ephemeral form. Imbued with a natural sense of colouristic correlation, their “pictures” conquer new dimensions and meanings, subtly interweaving various reminiscences with a substantive motif.

The Anićes are not influenced by conventional iconography, but by a formless orthography that comes close to structureless art created by tools beyond the painter’s craft – the light and the sea. One is therefore not surprised by the title of the exhibition (and the whole project) “Painting with the Sea” because, aided by flashes of light and the circulation of the air which moves and vitalises the surface, it really creates unimaginable spectacles that are permanently captured (thanks to the intervention of the technology) and presented to collective perception.

There is no intention to have direct topographic connotations, but to follow the exploratory impulse in the search for a real picture painted by nature itself. Thus, the Anićes are only mediators, connoisseurs of art created by the sea. Their photographs are proof that abstract art reaches deeply into nature in search of its own archetypes and regularity.

Višnja and Marijan Anić have established new interpretative relations, opening opportunities for a new dialogue between visual arts and contemporary visual media such as “photography”.

August, 2009. (from the exhibition catalogue)