(drawings by Vladimir Lalić in the Chaos Gallery, Belgrade, January 2014)
What sentence is to a story-teller, or verse to a poet, it is the line to a draughtsman. Who has not the sentence, cannot have a story, who has not the verse, cannot have a poem, and a recognizable line is the beginning and the end of each unique drawing. The line in Vladimir Lalić’s drawings has the same function as the capillary in human organism. The dense intertwining of capillary lines sometimes suggests a gruesome, sometimes a grotesque representation, even an inner drama of the contemporary man. Of course, it is not difficult to notice that specific anatomy classes are present in Lalić's drawings; I say „specific“ because in them the hand hurries after the line, endeavouring not to show, as old masters used to do, the perfection and beauty of the functioning of the human body, but, on the contrary – to show the complete inner decomposition and established frantic of inner organs which help us stay alive for a certain time – to indirectly reveal, or, better – diagnose the present, sad state of homo erectus.
This revealing and carving of the human body, without any intention to re-establish a harmony in the end – because there is no truth in harmony – make his drawings, with sporadic traces of former searches, much more, and mostly, analytical, and in a lesser sense, narrative paintings. In a story, in a poem and the visual act that pretend to be good, to be meaningful and finally, to be art, the essence is never on the surface, but inside and deeper, and therefore the statement offered by Vladimir Lalić in his version of post-apocalyptically tinted anatomy classes with clear allegorical results, is only the beginning of the comprehension of our experience of his drawings. They do not only want to provoke an incident in our field of vision and make us feel that before them we are constantly in front of a mirror or under a scanner and that, perhaps, or maybe really, we are looking at ourselves confronted with the truth of how far we have come as beings and in what environment we find ourselves – they certainly have a hidden and therefore even more complex, enigmatic reason: Lalić’s drawings materialise with the line coming directly from the subconscious or from a reality worse than the more nightmarish dreams, the non-verbal, purely painterly, archetypal contents of the collective and individual unconscious.
I suspect that the psychoanalytical-anatomical drawings of Vladimir Lalić primarily treat this, since everything is left to the line which spontaneously takes away from what cannot even be said as much as it is given to it, or, as much as spans the talent of the hand from which it flows. The symbolic potential of Lalić’s sometimes overcrowded works is large: they comprise collision of the signs that do not even wish to return to the state of balance, if they had ever been in one, but, on the contrary, to emphasise the cacophonic, in fact – chaotic – collision of technical artefacts, a magnified insectarium or reduced bestiary and decomposed parts of the human body. Man has, in fact, created the most perfect machines: just wait a little longer, a little longer and we shall master the power of teleportation by means of smart phones, but our biological-mental machine, our body, and the thought born in it, existing in it with a very short life-span, is not in the best of states, on the contrary.
The described experience of the world makes Lalić’s hand draw such feverish lines so that we could, following their traces, effectively be confronted with the revealed, demonised force. And this is not the end either, since in art, whatever it imparts or suggests and regardless of its means of expression, there must always be a flash of brightness, the principle of hope must sparkle. I have discovered that principle in two powerful symbolic signs and particularly in an equally symbolic, established human gesture. The head, whatever it may look like, dominates every drawing, it remains recognizable and whole, with a magnified eye, and this leads to the conclusion that our terminal thought and the moral directive within us are not lost as much as they may be battered by the blows of the new age. There is also the nail, the pointed peg, sometimes hitting the raw flesh sometimes missing, reminding us that the crucifixion is not past, that it is a constant state of every man in every period, only in our time it has yet another dimension, I would say that the millennial discord of historic time has flown into us and caused, with its system of capillary communicating vessels, a discord within ourselves. However, despite all this, we have not forgotten to investigate, to search for salvation and finally, or primarily, we have not forgotten creative play.
Of course, Lalić plays with deforming mercilessness, with the unmasking of all illusion, with the arrangement of our deranged inner states; our overall bewilderment and analogous anatomy, is black and dark that darker it cannot be, but it is – wonderfully! – just a play. And every play is redeeming.