Interview with: Vesna Dobricic
Vesna Dobricic was born in 1997 in Belgrade. She graduated from the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade. Currently, she is
a Master’s student in Photography. She exhibited her works in various group exhibitions and Biennials in Serbia, Croatia,
Bosnia, Hungary, South Korea, and online.
Welcome Vesna, I would like to start this interview from the beginning, do you remember which
artist or artwork moved something inside you when you were a child?
When I was a child, I was one of those kids who destroy everything in the house by painting or drawing
on it. I guess that was the first sign that I am going to do something creative throughout my life. At those
times, analogue photography was still massively used, and in fact, my father was developing analogue
films at home. I found the process very exciting, even if the photographs themselves didn't convince me.
Later on, when I was growing up, I came across the photographer Man Ray in some books. His
experimental photos intrigued me and made me explore more about what that was. At that time, I
couldn't connect that type of photography with the photography I knew, such as landscapes and portraits.
So from today's perspective, I could say that diversity that photography as a medium could offer was
something that won me over.
And then? How have your approach and references changed growing up? How much has school
education affected your art?
Then I was already in high school, thinking about studying photography. That idea hooked me up, and I
truly believed it was possible. So I got there, with high expectations and a lot of enthusiasm. Not that
long after, I caught myself getting anxious. I even got to the point where I wasn't sure If I want to study it
anymore. There were more things I didn't particularly appreciate than I did- from the communication with
the professors to some subjects that were nerve-wracking for nothing. Although I could underline all
those things today even more, I would still choose what I have decided then. And it was to believe in the
idea of why I got there in the first place
to perceive my passion. When I reflect on those days, I think
that the main issue I was dealing with was a lack of self-esteem. I didn't believe in myself enough. Simple
as that. I had this not articulated creative energy that I didn't know how to approach. I believed in myself
only when I got the validation that what I do makes sense. But after try and error, I learned how to have
trust in my artwork and creative process. Before, I thought If I believe in something with my whole heart,
everyone else would automatically do it as well. But that was not the fact. So I had to learn how to
communicate what I do and what I stand for. It was a real awakening for me. It may sound so easy, but it
took some time to start practicing it on a daily base. That goes hand in hand with perceiving different
opinions on the same topic. An extraordinary tool for surviving the studies in my case was filtering
comments- the ones I believe are constructive and beneficial for my work from those that were not.
Those lessons caused a fantastic ripple effect, and I am genuinely grateful for them.
How would you describe your practice to someone who doesn't know you? What are the
recurring elements, themes, concepts you refer to?
The process I've been using in my photography since the beginning of 2020. is called cross-polarization.
Using two polarization filters, I play around with different elements that I carefully place between those
filters. In that process, I define elements by cutting pieces of cellophane into desired shapes. After that, I
rearrange them as many times as I want. Each time I do that, I get something different. What intrigues
me the most about the technique itself is the relationship between coincidence and control that intertwine
all the time. The moment I seemingly gain control over the composition, something unexpected happens
that brings me back to the beginning and makes me think again. The two most essential elements of my
art are color and shapes. I use vibrant colors and mostly geometric shapes. Although the pieces
appear to be abstract, from my perspective, they are as realistic as they could be. My artwork is my
personal diary. My photographs capture the thoughts and emotions I am dealing with at the time of
creating the composition.
Usually each artist has a different modus operandi, what is yours? How did your projects start
and how do they develop?
Usually, it starts very naively-with experimenting. I start playing around with something new, and then I
navigate through the process. For me, it is essential to keep that child-like curiosity when initiating an art
project. I have the impression that all the knowledge I have gets useful only after that initial phase. The
only difference between the first few photographs I ever did and what I am doing now is a way of
approaching something I think has potential. And by the potential, I mean something that sparks my
attention in a way that I need to rephrase it or retell it through art. I like to express myself through visual
diaries, as I call them. So I create a working system, and then every time I want to say something
through the composition, I do it until the diary gets full, and I have to get myself another one. And then
the experimenting phase starts again.
What function do you attribute to your works and why?
As I said earlier, what I create is an abstract diary. Therefore, I consider the content open to different
interpretations. It has to be an exchange between what I offer and what the viewer receives. From my
side, I create the visual input, and it depends on the viewer which piece of information he or she wants to
receive. What all of us are witnessing nowadays is internet content overload. That is not necessarily a
bad thing, but it is challenging the attention. And when you try to catch up with everything and live from
one attraction to another, there is not much time left for self-reflecting. That is why I try to engage the
viewer and not make him a passive receiver of the information. That is why I choose abstraction. There is
nothing explicit there-there are no political or erotic connotations unless you create them while looking
into the photograph.
We are at the end of this short interview, would you like to add something about your research
and your art that has not emerged previously?
Well, I am really looking forward to new projects in 2021. The pandemic turned the world upside down
and opened various opportunities that were not in focus before. It also showed us that the change could
happen much quicker than we believe. To some extent, I will be exploring this effect in my master's
thesis, which I am currently working on.