Balkan Stories: Artist Interview - Olivera Indjic
As Not So Popular's Nataša Cordeaux looked to unravel the stories behind Olivera's photographs through 101 questions, she was, rightly so, put in her place...
Olivera: I want to reply by highlighting something I appreciate in photography, in any kind of art.. and it's what the Czech photographer, Josef Koudelka said, 'Let your photos do the talking.' He goes on to say, and I feel this too, that 'photos are more interesting when they are left open to interpretation, when the viewer can make up his or her own little story about a photograph." So, like Josef...
'If I have something to say, perhaps it can be found in my photos. I'm not interested in explaining things in saying "why" and "how".'
I leave open all the stories behind each photograph, and let people interpret them how they feel they should be.
NSP: I think you're right in so many ways here. For me, the exploration of Balkan stories, and the need to defend and highlight what they are has been so prominent from my upbringing in England as a half-Serb. But the need to insist and force the viewer to see a particular story is, what I personally feel, contributing to the caution people here in the West have when engaging with stories from the Balkans... This way you are allowing the viewer to explore the story as a curious human, it feels refreshing, like you do so without a political intention. So, considering the title 'Stories from the City... Stories from the Balkans' could you perhaps elaborate on what a 'story' is within the series - are they real? does it even matter?
O: Everything is a real story. The photos I took in Pristina... for example, 'Victory is Zero', and the image of two persons passing. the writings on the wall (I vote, you vote, he votes....at the end it translates to profit). They are real moments captured, but you don't need to put them in any folder... some are just documenting life, something I discover in the street... and some images are more prepared. But still, within them all, everywhere exists a part of the unexpected.
I hope people can find something in them...if they do, the photos can live.. the photos themselves can tell the story...
NSP: Perhaps you can then share with us where the photos were captured in the Balkans?
O: Of course, the photos were taken in Turkey, Serbia, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro and Bosnia.
NSP: Tell us about your artistic influencers and inspiration?
O: My inspiration... there are too many to choose from... I am inspired by all great painters, writers, musicians. and photographers.. humans that have stepped, and are still stepping into OI minutes of breathing, whose works and lives are strong, truthful, sincere and magic! It would be some essay just to write about them all. So here's my list as I think of it: William Turner, Sebastiao Salgado, Hugo Pratt, Josef Koudelka, Martin Munkácsi, Roberto Innocenti, Alfred Stieglitz, Wenders, Tarkovsky..., Sergio Larrain, Steve McCurry, Sally Mann, André Kertész, Eugène Delacroix... Oh, it's an endless list of all kinds of wonderful artists and creators.
Not So Popular is interested to hear your comments on how you interpret each photograph - what Balkan story do you see? Feel free to comment below.
A B O U T
“There are many people who use words better than I do. My field is visual. Actually, it's the one that doesn’t slip away from me... If the photo can tell the story by itself.. it's better!”
- Olivera Indjić, “L'esprit nomade”, Balkan photo-series.
Olivera Indjić (Faculty of Fine Arts, Belgrade) is a painter born in Serbia, 1981. She operates mainly in the photographic and illustration circuits. Her working fields include photography, painting, drawing, theatre and murals. She has participated in various projects, workshops and creative work with children. She has also taken part in numerous collective and solo exhibitions in Asia and Europe, stretching from Paris to Venice, Istanbul, Berlin, Vienna, Sunderland, Brussels, and Kyoto. Olivera is also the co-founder of the project 'Murals Without Borders'.
To see more of this artist's work go here > > > oliveraindjic.com