Natalija Šeruga, Orpiment
UGM | Maribor Art Gallery, Strossmayerjeva 6
Opening: Thursday, 8 October 2009 at 18:0
A series of 121 drawings created in the past two years by academic painter Natalija Šeruga are exhibited in the Knights' Hall. The drawings are continuation of her characteristic art expression; nevertheless, they show a change of direction in her production. A differently focused and fresh artistic language combines interchangeable use of the line and patches, of the chromatic and blurred in different combinations of drawing techniques (pigment, charcoal, chalk, pastel, colour crayon, graphite, ink and rubber) applied on the pre-painted sheets of paper torn out of old bilingual dictionaries from the second half of the 19th century (Kremers, Jacob, Kremers' New Pocket Dictionary of the English-Dutch and Dutch-English Language, 1887, G. B. van Goorzonen and Anton Janežič, Popolni ročni slovar slovenskega in nemškega jezika, 1850, J. Sigmundova knjigarna v Celovcu). Drawings on the yellowing book pages are inserted in silicon which apart from framing them gives a new optics to the works. Orpiment is a mineral and it takes its name from Latin auripigmentum, which means »glowing golden«; at the same time the word »orpiment« sounds similar to »ornament« − Natalija Šeruga's frequent artistic element. The archaic sounding title of the exhibition is reflected in the way the drawings are displayed – like medieval manuscripts they are hung on the walls decorated with a golden-yellow ornament. Orpiment can transform into a little pile of dust, into a golden-yellow pigment. That is why alchemists used it frequently with their attempts at gold making. Natalija Šeruga's artistic process in a sense alludes to the work of alchemists, as by transmutating forms and motifs into new ones and changing the purpose of materials she unintentionally covers her works with veils of mystery. Old dictionary pages were transformed into drawings; at the same time her creativity is inspired by certain words or word roots from the two dictionaries. Mysteriousness is illustrated by the mirror-inverted writing which serves as an ornament and is at the same time a reminiscence of Leonardo da Vinci's sketches. Equally mysterious are the silhouettes, shadows, spheres and horns which disappear into or rise out of softly sketched background. Natalija Šeruga was born in 1971 in Maribor. In 1999 she graduated from painting at the Ljubljana Academy of Fine Arts and Design and in 2003 she finished her post-graduated studies (MA). Her works are included in several art collections. Last year she was nominated as one of six finalists in the category of artistic drawing for the prestigious Henkel Art.Award.2008. She lives and works in Radenci.
Curator: Meta Kordiš, curator at Maribor Art Gallery