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„I paint flowers so they will not die“ Frida Kahlo

Kristina Palanjuk is a visual artist, born 1994th in Ruma, Serbia. She completed her Bachelor and Master studies of Painting at the Academy of Art in Novi Sad, by Goran Despotovski’s mentorship. During the creation, she turns most often to self recognition: feelings, memories, dreams, childhood, fairytales… which give access to new unknown experiences in everyday life. She expressing herself through different mediums: drwing, painting, photography and art installation. 

By now she has had five solo exhibitions and numerous collective exhibitions in country and abroad. Kristina is an active participant in numerous projects and art colonies.

 She is a member of the Association of Fine Artist of Vojvodina (SULUV) since 2018th. Currently employed as an art teacher in elementary school. She lives and creates in Novi Sad.

 

I want to visualize the invisible, what we register only on the level of feelings and intuition. Something present, but which is constantly eluding us and does not exist in the physical world. The sadness, sorrow and joy that come with encountering the immateriality of memory.

Corolla

(lat. little crown; diminutive of the corona -wreath, crown, chaplet) Botany: the most gentle and most beautiful part of a plant - petals of a flower, typically forming a whorl within the sepals and enclosing the reproductive organs.

 

Series of artworks named Corolla represents the evocation of memories, events, people, and childhood. These drawings are symbolic letters/stories, told in moments of drinking tea, relaxation, loneliness, and self-recognition. Through organic forms, the artist “writes” memories, feelings, and dreams on a small format, with subtle drawing and gentle, pastel colours, because she wants to remember them. Herbs on drawings are mostly a cure for illnesses that took away our loved ones. This is also explained by the chosen media: the unwrapped used tea bag is so soft and transparent, coloured just by its contents - dried herbs. Teabag and its meaning refers to peace, relaxation, sip, and thought and it takes us to our deepest feelings and memories. Because of that, these artworks can also be called - healing. By them, Kristina Palanjuk wants to visualize something invisible, something we can register only by feelings and intuition. Something present, but what constantly eludes us and does not exist in the physical world. The sadness, sorrow, and joy experienced in contact with the immateriality of memory.

Interview

What is the language in common for the young people today?

Thanks to networking, a universal common language of young people is being established. We find it easier to recognize people similar to ourselves and remove language and geographical barriers. We have a universal language of abbreviations and expressions that everyone understands, regardless of climate. This is very important, especially in the years to come (I hope), to know that we are not alone, to locate our place in the world more easily. If we are aware that there are similar problems everywhere, we have similar ideals and we find different ways to fight for them. Everything is easier when you are not lonely. The universal language of young people is established through the content we share, the art we create, the actions in which we participate, the aesthetics and image we present to the world…

What does the process of making one of your pieces look like?

I don't have any special rituals. I just find myself in a creative process. I don't even have to create any conditions, nor do I plan to sit down and work now. Spontaneously, I need to do something and I have to get it out. And that usually happens in an absent, semi-conscious state. However, this is preceded by unconscious melting of various emotions, experiences, impressions, ideas and internal fluctuations that I encounter on a daily basis.

Which challenges have you faced while making art as you know it?

Upravo ta stalna kolebanja. Naporno je biti u stalnom kontaktu sa svojim unutrašnjim sadržajima, a moji radovi nastaju upravo iz te introspekcije. Ipak, kroz njih se nekako oslobađam sveg pritiska potisnutih emocija i sećanja i izražavam se na najiskreniji i najneposredniji način. Izazov je otkriti tu nežnu, suptilnu stranu svoje ličnosti, svetu koji je bučan i prepun napadnih senzacija. Neprestano se lomim oko toga da li uopšte želim da je otkrivam ili pak sakrijem. To je neka osetljivost koju nerado iskazujem. Ipak, bude mi drago kada otkrijem da i drugi prepoznaju u sebi istu tu finu, nežnu nit u kontaktu sa mojim radovima.

Do you consider yourself an artist, and what does that word mean to you?

I consider artists to be people who are passionate and dedicated to creative things and ideas. Who see and feel stronger than others. Those who invest without any expectations, without the intention of liking and gaining recognition from anyone, but out of a sincere need and urge to create - considered it madness or not. By that definition, I count myself as an artist.

What is your escape from reality? Do you even have a need to escape from something?

Movies, series, books, being in nature, traveling… are my escape from reality. Through dealing with art, I face reality or run away from reality that I like more than the current one.

What does the word innovative mean to you?

 Being innovative means being free and brave, doing something that others have not done, or in a way that others may not do. Not to walk on beaten paths, but to tread on your own. To listen to yourself, reject all "rules" and restrictions. The mind must be free from all restraints.

Do you have a plan for the future? Where can your artistic practice take you?

I'm pretty disorganized and I don't usually plan. Even if I have plans, I don't stick to them so strictly. Of course, there are some plans that I do not give up and do not compromise. One of them is that, no matter what, I continue to do art, wherever it leads me (or not lead me), to always return to it. My plan is to be happy and fulfilled, and doing creative things makes me like that.

What made the biggest influence on you to become what you are today and do what you do now?

I think that some internal factors were crucial for me, to deal with what I do, although I would not neglect external ones either. I believe that the answers to most of the questions related to our current lives can be found in childhood, and mine was idyllic. I have always had at my disposal a house full of crayons (because my mother is a teacher), a large yard, animals and a garden in which I spent most of my time fantasizing and inventing new games and worlds. Memories of those times and relationships with loved ones, even those who have been gone for a long time - have strongly influenced the formation of the person I am.

How would you describe Serbian (Balkan or European-depends on where you live and work) contemporary cultural scene?

I would describe it as a mix of different influences. As an ambivalent attitude towards the past: on the one hand, an attempt to break with it, and on the other, a longing and nostalgic attempt to reincarnate it, through more modern forms. Among the hybrids that arise from various influences, one can find a lot of quality achievements. It is only important not to reject anything, that is, to be open to everything (new to me old).

In which way does your creative process shape you or changes you as a person, if it does at all?

I think that it doesn't change me, but reminds me again and again who I really am. It brings me back to my essence. Thanks to that, I remain immune to the negative things we are inevitably exposed to and I do not allow bad influences from the outside to affect my attitude towards others.