„Virtual reality - real virtuality”

„Virtual reality - real virtuality”

Aleksa Gajić

09 - 30 June 2005

Programme coordinator: Marijana Petrović Raić, Curator
Aleksa Gajic (b.1974), while still a student of the Faculty of Applied Art, drew attention to his work with the comic strip fanzine “Protest”. With his continuous presence on the pages of “Politikin zabavnik” , “X zabava” and “Nin” magazines, from 1997 to today, Aleksa demonstrates that he is equally impressive in practicing caricature, as well as in the fields of classical realistic illustration.

However, one could say that the true beginning of Gajic’s carrier in the comic “Tehnotise” done in cooperation with Darko Grkinic, the work he graduated with from the Faculty of Applied Art, class of prof. Rastko Ciric. To be precise, it was a multimedia project that encompassed a cover version of the musical group “Prototip”, inspired by the mythical beauty and mystery of Belgrade . The main character of this strip is Edit M. Stefanovic, who also appears in the video clip “Bombona” (Aleksa wrote the music for it, too). She is modern heroine, who adequately corresponds to her time, but who can also be seen as a kind of Gajic’s homage to the most famous comic beauties, like Natasha and well known Manara’s girls.

“Tehnotise” is based on a story about a legendary tunnel connecting Zemun and Kalemegdan dug through by Austro-Hungarians before Belgrade had fallen into Turkish hands. The plot takes place in Belgrade of the future, in 2047, and tells us about Edit, a student of art history who gets involved in a conspiracy at the highest level. The Comic is fast, easily read and it sets the foundation of Gajic’s work, characterized by precise drawing, urban pop style, fluidity and organic roundness.

Even the first tables of the sequel indicate the further direction of development of Gajic’s pop strategy that combines illustration with an advanced 3D computer technique, at the same time demonstrating the author’s reassessment of composition and frame editing in the Comic and in video art. The vitality of Gajic’s lithe line hedonistically pulsates in his illustrations and in his comics, as well as in his animations, because he opposes plastic strength to linear anecdote, which can also be seen in a series of advertising campaigns Gajic’s work on, like the once for “Echo festival”, “Mikrotri”, “Dramin”, Smirnoff”, “Manual” etc.

After winning the home audience with “Tehnotise”, Gajic used “The Scourge of God” (Le Fleau de Dieux) series to draw attention to himself on a global level. It is the comic realized in cooperation with Valerie Mangin, the writer, based on an original idea by Denis Bajram, published by “Le Soleil” of France . The work addresses the widest of audiences, and there is no doubt that it influenced our comic strip scene in more ways that one. Our readers have been able to enjoy the series thanks to the “System comics editions”.

“The Scourge of God” in fact conceived as a combination of pseudo historical and science fiction genres, which is very attractive today. Throughout the series we learn about the conflict between the Huns and the Romans set in the distance future, 10 000 years from now, and about the battle of the principles of Chaos and Order, of barbarianism and advanced civilization, the conflict of a young nation and an old, decadent one. The story involves a number of interesting historical references. Combining the influences of Japanese and American comic strip with the dominant settings of the classical European school, Gajic’s graphism easily solves the problem of reinventing the Roman Empire on a Galactic scale. In time the rhythm of narration grows more dynamic, while Gajic’s strokes become firmer. The influences of high-tech approach agree with the author’s sensibility, resulting in colouristic transparency and softness of atmosphere….

Anica Tucakov M.A.