The starting point in my work is conceptual analysis and de/reconstruction of the process of drawing as inscription of bodily activities on paper and opening the space for communication of ideas or realization of specific artistic intentions.

In the first half of the 1970s prompted by frequent conflicts with artistic, social and political establishment and attempts to find new ways of expression, I intuitively grabbed an entire handful of wooden pencils and began to draw. The change that can be traced in my work at precisely that point has occurred as a result of discovering new possibilities in classical artistic disciplines such as drawing. My artistic destiny and at the same time my position as a citizen have also been determined by the decision to publicly oppose the overthrowing of the rather progressive Australian government which paradoxically and symbolically had been initiated due to allegedly bad investment in future state-owned collection of modern art. As a witness of the abuse of international artistic legacy of modern civilization in the name of local daily-political manipulation, I have decided to leave not just the physical and living space and environment in which I have for the first time actively participated in artistic and public life and to become an artist-activist – my rebellion against the use of culture in the name of short-term political goals has found its „sanctuary“ in technology, functioning to this day as a permanent creative extension and as a communication interface in works which address both challenges of the future and risks of research and the form, the media and the genre of thousand-year-long tradition of „civilizational image.“

At the same time, realization and excitement felt as a result of inclusion of various auxiliary tools into the process of work, whether pencils as basic „artistic tools“ or various multifunctional technological pieces of equipment which have become an integral part of my work – have confirmed the decision to build my own artistic expression at an interaction between the body and the machine, the natural and the constructed, the intimate and the structural and the physical, symbolical and imaginary space.

Continuing the long-standing interest in physics and mathematics, I thus continue my research of the phenomena of interaction between creative mind and technology-mediated activities. To achieve this, I use various media: drawing, painting, sculpture, video, installations, performances, actions, happenings. One of basic goals of my work is to (re)construct the context for a creative dialogue between the artist and the audience by way of technology, the context I believe would be typical of the 21st century.

„What started as a group / bundle of fifteen pencils controlled by my hand is presently nine hundred pencils controlled by various patterns and algorhythms of computer technologies and automated artist’s „apprentices.“ These processes have enabled me to be creative outside the boundaries of my physical being and to be simultaneously present in the in-between space surviving outside traditional hierarchically determined positions of the artist and the audience.... It is precisely in that space, through the interaction between the artist and the audience, that a new „kind“ of art is born, the equal authors of which are all those who participate in the society of „visual democracy“ supported and based on new contemporary technologies.

The work I am just starting – PEOPLE I DON’T LIKE, No. 20-something – is the continuation of the namesake cycle which has been started in the mid 1970s and is presently materialized in a series of site-specific installations made during the 45-day trip from the West to the East Coast of the American continent. I will use seven sites at which centuries of American civilization and contemporary hyper-consumerist society meet which represent tourist attractions as well as places with strong historical heritage, as a motive and immediate symbolic and physical environment to execute a series of drawings-objects-installations each of which will present 20 portraits of our contemporaries.

To be continued...

Dragan Ilic