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Lidija Ristić

Lidija Ristić is a Serbian-American interdisciplinary artist living and working between New York and Belgrade. The essence of her practice is the making of hybrids and amalgamations. This manifests itself through the combined use of found objects, readily available materials from hardware/dollar stores, pharmacies, up-cycled/post consumer products and the seamless blending of digital processes, traditional crafts and a wide range of fine art techniques. The results of this approach come in the form of sculpture, digital collage, installation, video work and participatory performance. She received her BFA in sculpture, with a minor in painting, from the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, in 2010 and her MFA in Studio Art from New York University in 2021. This summer she has been invited to be an artist in residence at Pilotenkueche in Leipzig, Germany and participate in ULUS Youth Biannual in Belgrade, Serbia. Her work is currently on view at 80WSE Gallery in New York, NY and Urban Studio Unbound in Yonkers, NY.

Interchangeable Parts

In her work artist Lidija Ristić strives to create complexity. This is achieved through layering that takes place on a multitude of levels. In the physical and immediate sense, it is seen by how she combines materials, both fabricated and found, in intricate ways that both celebrate their material nature and abstract it into new contexts through proximity to often disparate elements. A reoccurring example of this in Risitć’s work is the combining of the “real” and the “fake”, like mixing acrylic fur with patent leather, bones with glitter and the photograph next to its pictured subject. Media is therefore also used as a layer. The pieces she fabricates become the subjects of still life photography, video and audio works. Through this process she is able to import demonstrably material and palpable objects into the digital sphere. In doing so, a dialog is created between the virtual realm and the concrete. It also develops a creative system that generates new creations that further layer upon each other in continuum.

Interview

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

Innovation is a feature of young people. And our language is the language of the newspaper. Being young means being in constant search of fresh approaches to life. It is up to us to build a new world and new languages ​​for that world.

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

For me, it all starts with the material. I am always looking for materials that carry a story and a connection with the contemporary context. When I find materials, I let the combinations form as fluidly as possible. I like it to be a surprise for me when I'm done. I always learn something new about the concept I started with when analyzing the finished work.

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

Experimentation is the most important and the biggest challenge for me. I want to reach a new level of my practice with each new project.

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

The root of the word, the skill: to be able, I really like as a concept. My practice is based on the search for new knowledge from the point of view of technology and relations with the world. Looking through that perspective, and through the traditional perspective, I am an artist and I accept that with full responsibility.

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

I have no need to run away from reality. Quite the opposite. I am really interested in researching and getting to know every aspect of reality and this crazy and beautiful reality of ours.

What does the word innovative mean to you?

Innovation is not just something new, something different. For me, innovation is the improvement of what has been and what is current. Being an innovator means striving for fresh horizons of knowledge, skills and existence.

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

Each project gives me an idea for the next work. I always look at least one step into the future. I am currently preparing to head to Leipzig for a three-month art residency where I will work out current ideas for the future.

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

It is very difficult to single out just one influence that has shaped me into the person I am. I have been creating since childhood and I was lucky that I was never forced to stop or give up. That is great luck and there are a lot of talented people who did not have that luck.

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

I grew up in America and came back a little less than a year ago, so it is very difficult for me to evaluate the Serbian cultural and artistic scene.

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

My personality cannot be separated from my creative process or my ideas. My personality is based on them.