Henry Martin: What, if any, responsibility, do you feel as an artist, in what way, or toward whom?
Milena Dragicevic: I feel the most responsibility to myself but that also includes layers and layers of those who make up my being. My question over the last few years has been “to whom am I painting, to what am I painting”? The answer to my question still evades me but I do know that I have a strong voice and it has taken me a long time to understand and accept how I navigate my work and all the problems that come with it. It’s important for every artist to understand their position and where they stand in this very complicated world and this takes time. I am a woman, I am a twin and I am an immigrant. Therefore my responsibility lies in finding the courage to seek longevity and to continue against a tide of female inequality, ageism, and prejudice.
Milena Dragicevic: The wonderful thing about Agnes Martin was her absolute focus. It was so visible in her retrospective at the Tate Modern. Today focus or concentration has sort of become this anachronistic thing. It was so special to be reminded of how important focus is and that art is about pursuing experience, curiosity, desire and change in a very concentrated way. So my responsibility is to also find my space of absolute concentration. My work is there to bare witness to these results. Hopefully my daughter, female artists and others will find value there.
Henry Martin: What does it mean to change?
Milena Dragicevic: What does it mean to change? It means to be unafraid. It is to know that the container you choose for your form is allowed to expand, contract and remain fluid. This does not mean that concentration is lost in fact it means the opposite. Change adds density to your work. It gives it presence and it gives it a sense of attitude because it creates agency. Change is also a sign that one is looking outward and aware of their environment.
Henry Martin: If you could meet one other artist who would it be (living or dead)?
Milena Dragicevic: If I could meet one dead artist today I would choose Alina Szapocznikow who I can’t get enough of. She was so ahead of her time. When I close my eyes and think of her work I can hear the emanating colours from her sculptures. One living artist who I would love to meet is Yvonne Rainer. I did have the pleasure of hearing her speak at Raven Row a couple of years ago and she was so wonderful and gorgeous to listen to. There are few artists who are really seminal and she is definitely one of them. When I finished reading her book Feelings are Facts I remember giving it a great big kiss.
Title: Erections for Transatlantica (Esma). Date: 2017. Format/Materials: Oil, acrylic, clear gesso on linenDimensions: 148 x 91.5 cmPicture Credit: Markus Wörgötter Title: Erections for Transatlantica (Hur) Date: 2017Format/Materials: Oil, acrylic, clear gesso on black dyed fabricDimensions: 148 x 91.5 cmPicture Credit: Markus Wörgötter.
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