Vladimir Lalić’s drawings of flies on plexiglass pose an intriguing question: how can a two-dimensional surface evoke a three-dimensional realm? This inquiry, central to the Western art tradition since the Ancient Greeks’ quest to convey depth in their depictions and theatrical constructions around 5th century B.C., culminated in the monumental achievement of linear perspective. This breakthrough, notably championed by architect Filippo Brunelleschi and documented by Leon Battista Alberti in “Della Pictura” in 1435, sparked a continuous evolution of two-point and three-point perspectives from the 15th and 16th centuries onward.

Lalić’s unique approach places his two-dimensional objects on the foreground, mere centimeters from the museum wall. This strategic positioning allows them to cast varying shadows and interact with the empty space behind, their dynamic engagement influenced by the shifting daylight and the angles of exhibition lighting. The swarm of flies converges toward a vast, engulfing black void – a metaphor for nothingness, the abyss, the echoes of a Universe devoured by a black hole. This location also represents the Event horizon, a theoretical boundary beyond which no light or radiation can escape – a definitive point of no return.

Flies have been a recurring motif throughout Lalić’s artistic journey, dating back to his early days. In the annals of art history, the fly has symbolized decay, both of the flesh and the soul; an enduring reminder of mortality – Memento mori. In Lalić’s interpretation, he looks at these flies through the lens of the Renaissance, where they symbolized silent witnesses. However, in his installation, he undertakes a deliberate deconstruction and reversal of this traditional interpretation. The flies are neither stagnant nor passive but purposefully swarm, much like drones, buzzing and vibrating, imbued with a palpable sense of life and motion. Their distinctive features set them apart from one another, each one an individual with clear delineations. Through this exploration of individuality, Lalić demonstrates that, much like humans with their sophisticated palates, flies consistently opt to feast on filth – thus raising a provocative reflection on the choices we make in life and where those ultimately lead us. Back to the nothingness that gave birth to everything.

Milica Grujić

@ 2024 Vladimir Lalic, All Rights Reserved