Tko sam ja / Who am I?
In today’s world of general globalization dominated by the perfidious rule of liberal capitalism, art has found itself in an unenviable and causal relationship. Corporations have taken over the world and pushed national, social and individual consciousness to the brink of events and have devised appropriate administration and marketing that stifle individualism and the power of artistic expression, which is increasingly becoming an ephemeral phenomenon. Almost everything turned into design, which, primarily thanks to the media, prevailed over art, which found a certain answer in documentary and activist procedures, thus unconsciously becoming part of an imposed program because it loses its identity and sensibility.
Nevertheless, a considerable number of artists still express their social and individual attitude with a sincere and emotional expression, and in these circumstances the figuration represented in classical artistic disciplines prevailed, because iconicity is closer to our time and more important than an abstract sign or gesture. The performance, expressive power and message of the resulting work of art are often much stronger and more sincere than programmatic action-agitation performances.
Such is the painting of Iva Gašparić, which possesses a distinct personality with a strong emotional charge, and finds its ideological origins in anachronistic variants of recent pop culture, especially in comics and cartoons, which by vocation is close to new pop art or some version of such poetics.
The basic, and in the later stages, the only, iconographic subject of Iva Gašparić’s paintings are children. After successfully dealing with comics, the author presented herself in the beginning of the 2000s with a series of paintings by Mucic, in which she tells an intimate love story from the perspective of a pregnant woman. The fairy-tale series Ghost City from 2008 is Iva’s most extensive series so far, which predicts and thematizes the decay of urban culture in a fresh and original way. The paintings from that series are characterized by a recognizable manner that, in a rich color impostation, grows layer by layer from childish artistry to expressive expressionistic maturity. These canvases gave birth to mostly animal characters with human features like those from cartoons or comics, done as if they were seen from the angle of children’s perception.
Iva’s imaginative imaginary beings from those pictures took us from carefree childish playfulness to the world of adults, that is, a reality completely different from childish openness and sincerity, with an inventive artistic and conceptual process. Iva’s works are based on this inverse process, where the author talks in the direct language of a playful child about a completely different world of adults, which is also confirmed by her next mini-series Children – Warriors. The protagonists of these compositions are now children portrayed in close-up just before they entered adolescence, and the attributes of war have been added to them: weapons, helmets, uniforms… Iva sensitively reacts to today’s reality filled with wars, hunger, migrant crises, media terror and omnipresent consumerism, and with refined artistic language and a carefully sent message, she spoke about the most socially sensitive topic – the cruel manipulation of children by today’s society. Unlike the first cycle, her artistic expression is now more refined and fully dedicated to the narrative. The painterly hedonism visibly present in the earlier cycle is now in the background, and is manifested in the layered parties of the tonal color of the background, while the subject of the composition is painted with a calculated distance that accentuates the almost lobotomized physiognomy of the child, which is still only because of its age.
Iva’s new cycle, with its emphasis on plasticity and sculptural voluminousness, continues stylistically to the previous one, but now has significantly more minute details and exudes a fresh and playful color. By relativizing the relationship between representation and illusion, Iva uses the parallel actions of these images to draw us into a kind of temporal labyrinth, where the sense of reality, time and space is lost. The author now consciously accentuates her characteristic anachronism because she relies iconographically on the civilizational heritage of the 1970s, one of the last periods before the technological boom when children still mostly played with dolls and not video games. Flipping through family albums, Iva came across a photo from a child’s birthday party that she attended as a little girl. She is sitting on the carpet with her two friends, and each of them has only one specific type of toys in front of them, the ones that are their favorite. For the first, it will be a doll and a teddy bear, for the second only various rubber toys, while the third will only play with ducks. The author, however, does not paint a group portrait as it is on the photographic template, but each girl with her toys is portrayed separately. Of course, the difference between them is not only manifested in the type of toys, but each girl has a different facial expression that clearly expresses their character, and by comparing the characters we can see the differences in personality. With these images, Iva not only takes us back to our carefree childhood, but also warns us that we had a stronger character then than now when we are adults. In order to be successful in today’s world, we had to tame our inborn traits, that is, adapt them to what is today considered the standard of behavior, business and life success, which means conditional dependence on the permanent raising of the personal hierarchical scale, which implies obedience, careerism, and most often clientelism. . With these images, which radiate the openness of her spirit, Iva calls for our mental return to the true nature of man, which already at birth gave him the character that he lost along the way.
Iva Gašparić was born in 1976 in Pula, where she graduated from the High School of Economics in 1994. In 1995, he entered the Faculty of Philosophy in Rijeka, studying Fine Arts. In 2001, she graduated in painting in the class of prof. Marijan Pongrac and earned the title of professor of fine arts (today master of fine arts education). In 1997, she was awarded as part of the comic collective “Varieté Radikale” in the category “Innovation in comics”, and in 1999 she won the 3rd prize in the category “Short comic” at the Salon of Comics in Vinkovci. From 2002 to 2008, she gained teaching experience as a teacher of professional subjects at the School of Applied Design Arts, Pula and at the Pula Vocational School, and she also taught art classes in several elementary schools in Pula and the surrounding area during the same period. In 2003, she passed the state professional exam for art teacher in Zagreb. In the same year, she became a member of HDLU Istria, exhibited pictures and comics, drew a periodical comic for Glas Istra and published comics in international comic reviews and fanzines. Since 2009, she has been a professional associate, and since December 2015, a museum pedagogue of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Istria / Museo d’arte contemporanea dell’Istria (State professional exam, December 2015).
She exhibited at fourteen solo and ninety-three group exhibitions in the country and abroad (painting and comics). She is the winner of several awards for painting.