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Hey kids, my eyes can move too! - the show at The Belgrade Cultural Center gallery

DONALD DUCK IN POMPEII by Mileta Prodanovic

Never will it be known whether any of the obscure alchemists from the Middle Ages or from some later period has found the elixir of eternal youth. However, we can only say with certainty that besides Dorian Gray - who was on the threshold of attaining that aim - or Highlander - to whom that ability was innate there is a whole group of creatures who attained that ideal without too much effort. That is, more or less, the harmonious family of Disney's heroes. Have you ever heard that Donald Duck who has just stepped into his sixties, for instance, has problems with his prostate gland, that he has become absentminded, has backache or that his diopter is rather high? No, of course not. He is still vigorous, merry, sometimes grumpy, still living in an undefined concubinage with his darling Daisy, takes care of his nephews who still have not grown up and whose parents we have not yet met.
The Duck family, as well as all the other humanized members of the animal species from the Disney laboratory, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy... have always about them an aureole of the eternal present, their life is a film that does not rewind, their clocks do not tick off time..
But is it, for example, possible to imagine scene - or at least a sequence from a film - in which an archeologist with his brush cleans the dust from a small figure of Donald Duck in Pompeii, under the walls of Baalbek or Jericho? Just such an unreal combination is one of the levels on which the newest work of Aleksandar Kujucev operates. He, of course, does not go back so far into the past - in order to separate gadgets soaked in emotions of generations of children from the context of permanent present it suffices only to bring out of focus their aureole. Postproduction action on the photographs of Aleksandar Kujucev supplies recognizable heroes with a patina of old age we are not used to when Disney's children are in question.

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Large photographs on Aleksandar Kujucev's canvas are in fact implosions of several radical contrasts which turn them into the objects of condensed tension: first of all there is an outstanding disproportion of dimensions - small dolls, grow to gigantic dimensions. Carefully arranged light turns the figures that are almost reflexively moving to the observer into suddenly frightening, threatening ones. They become specters.
Finally, a contrast in the area of technology is present: photographs made by a complex procedure on emulsions painted by brush on the canvas and placed into "the frames" made of sticks, almost of whole branches. Thus we find in circulation the relation of natural - artificial, regular - amorphous. By mutation grown Disney heroes are only a part of a more complex arrangement - they are a sign of a highly developed civilization - they are "guests" in objects whose "ethno" character is clearly stated. Canvases on which trace of light is recorded, their contours, can be seen as stretched out hides tanned by Indians, Eskimos, Siberian natives...
Disney's heroes have become, during the long decades of their everyday existence, in themselves entities stuffed with different meanings, mostly simple and easily legible. However, over them there always hover some unsolved dilemmas, among them the greatest - how much are they humans and how much animals. By a series of large photographs incorporated into the objects of space Aleksandar Kujucev destroys stereotypes linked to favourite children's heroes and by bridging different contrasts constructs new levels that are to be read, the levels that are mostly oblique, unusual, unfocused.

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