Interview with Rade Petrasevic

A new series of paintings is currently exhibited in the show “jetzt für immer” at the Birgit Lauda Foundation in Vienna. What was your approach towards the exhibition and which works are you showing? Have the works been made specifically for the show?

Yes, every single work has been made for the exhibition. It is a series of repeated still lives. The same situation has been depicted several times: a table with objects placed on it. It was interesting for me to see in the bulk how the intensity of the works changes when the composition gets slightly altered. The colours have been reduced and most of the times, I have used only 3 to 4 colours.

Tell us a bit more about the new body of work. Most of the objects - vases, fruits, cola bottles, magazine, plant - appear several times and are often set in domestic interiors. Are those imaginary spaces or do you choose to base the scenes on existing spaces?

For this exhibition, I have set my focus on still lives and tried to exhaust this topic in a way. Only marginal differences set the paintings apart from each other. I don’t work with real spaces since I am not that interested in the reproduced space. For me, it is exciting to exhaust such a heavy loaded genre to an extent. The depicted objects itself play a secondary role. It is about the repetition of the repetition. Instead of apples, vases and cola bottles, you could choose whichever object.

Are you working directly on your canvas or are you working in sketches or drawings beforehand?

In my work, I strongly engage with the topic of drawing. Here drawing isn’t dissociated from painting, but at the end painting is almost confused with the graphic gesture, respectively leads again to the drawing.

We would like to talk about the sculptural piece in the show, the paravent: Do you see it as a development from your wall-based works? When did you start making three-dimensional objects? Is it a form of “expanded painting” or does the paravent get a similar status as the objects in your paintings? Are you interested in those notations at all?

To call it a development of my wall-based works goes perhaps too far. Effectively, the work is an expanded still-life. It imitates a piece of furniture, or, you could say that it transforms into an object-like painting. Viewed in this context, one could suggest, that the subject is being made object and that this gesture is extended to another level. Meanwhile the word painting has become a stretched term and I try to move around within this framework. Thus, I don't necessarily see the paravent as a sculpture nor an object: for me it simply remains a painting.

When looking at your work, one has the feeling that the depicted scenes or interiors could reveal something about their inhabitants, especially the arrangement of the table, the fruit selection and the magazines The longer we are confronted with the paintings, the keener we get to reimagine what happened. How do you see this? Is this an important aspect for you, to fill the gaps by reliving the situations you confront us with?

Storytelling does absolutely not play any role. I don't think that a table with apples and cola bottles tells much of a story anyway. You could find these situation in a chic dentist in Manhattan but also in a derelict crack house in Belgrad. It is an insanely and easily readable information: a table + apple + items = still life.

A limited edition has been released on the occasion of the exhibition. You made 10 drawings, which feel like a manifesto.Edition no. 1. Starts with the word manifesto and edition no. 10 ends with the word. Other editions show apples, a bearded man smoking a cigarette, a naked woman. What was your starting point here?

I wanted to give each drawing a collaged element, but wanted to stay within the terminology of a drawing. That it starts with the word manifesto and ends with the word manifesto, happened by accident. The numbering was purely arbitrary.

We would like to close this interview, with one final questions: What project are you currently working on?

In May I have two group-shows coming up: one in a Viennese off-space called ADA (artistic dynamic association) and another one in Budapest curated by Peter Bence. In June I am going to show my work in 8.Salon in Hamburg, followed by another exhibition in summer, for which we still need to confirm the details. In autumn, I would like to focus on the making of a new book and two issues of my fanzine published by „penis publishing“.

Interview by Talina Bauer & Katharina Worf



©Conny Maier

©Andy Keate, Exhibition View Limoncello Gallery, London