Image/Action of Dogma, performance by Predrag Pajdic with Yorgos Bakalos created in collaboration with Manuel Vason during La Pocha Nostra workshop in Athens, June 2015.
During 2 weeks in June 2015 Pajdic was a facilitator of a workshop with La Pocha Nostra performance group that took place at the Athens School of Fine Arts in Greece with 28 international live art and performance artists. During this time he also developed a new performance work Dogma (pictured) with Yorgos Bakalos that questions relationship between straggle and power as well as dogma and its influence on a contemporary democratic society.
From the 10th to 22nd of June 2013, a group of international artists gathered in the Athens School of Fine Arts under the convocatory of La Pocha Nostra (Gomez-Peña, Erica Mott, Saul Garcia-Lopez, Dani D’Emilia and Brittany Chavez). This gathering included 24 artists coming from various disciplines (performance, theory, poetry, the visual arts, theater, video, installation and circus arts) and a complex mixture of cultural/national identities. After a 12-day rigorous process of sampling body based exercises, ritual actions (indoor and outdoor) and perceptual games, the goal was to find a common vocabulary to compare notes regarding this turbulent and fragile historical moment. On the 22 of June the group presented a jam session performance as a result of the workshop.
Founded in 1993 La Pocha Nostra is an ever morphing trans-disciplinary arts organisation based in San Francisco with branches and factions in many other cities and countries. Every summer since 2004 the legendary performance troupe La Pocha Nostra conducts a nomadic two week intensive summer workshop on performance art with a focus on the human body as a site for creation, reinvention, memory and activism. For the first time ever this cross-cultural, inter-disciplinary and multi-generational workshop took place in Greece, and involved a curated group of 24 rebel artists from Mexico, the US, Greece, the UK, Australia, Ireland, Peru, Chile, Poland. The Pocha workshop is an artistic and anthropological experiment in which carefully selected artists from several countries and every imaginable artistic, ethnic and sub-cultural background begin to negotiate common ground. Performance becomes the connective tissue and lingua franca for a temporary community of rebel artists.
Participants: Paloma Martinez-Cruz (US), Ivan Sikic (Australia), Sean Estelle (US), Khi Armand (US), Predrag Pajdic (UK), Julio Orta (Mexico), Pamela Pantoja (Chile), Eugene Williams (US), Jordan Chaney (US), Anna Prus (Poland), Brittany Chavez (US), Aggeliki Avgitidou (GR), Kleoni Manousaki (GR), Thalia Zachariadou (GR), Marios Xatziprokopiou (GR), Giota Georgopoulou (GR), Mary Zygouri (GR), Dimitris Bampilis (GR), Eleni Oikonomou (GR), Persefoni Nikolakopoulou (GR), Fotini Kalle (GR).
Theatre of Athens’ School of Arts
22 June 2013
by Predrag Pajdic
featuring Anna Sudbina in a head piece by Alessandro Mengozzi for
Flower CASTLE 2013
Kasteel Keukenhof Art Foundation, The Netherlands
Curated by Gijs Stork
14 March – 16 June 2013
And for SALON/KANT at Het Grachtenhuis, Amsterdam
15 June – 18 August 2013
Costumes and styling for Othon & Tomasini’s concert
including The Chymical Wedding performance by Lee Adams and Chadd Curry
St Leonard’s Church, London, 22nd November 2012
Beneath The Shadows The Soul Walks
The Book Launch
London 22 October 2012
Your body, mind and soul are gently urged to attend an evening of the
Launch Party for the book
BENEATH THE SHADOWS THE SOUL WALKS
BY PREDRAG PAJDIC & JL NASH
From 6 – 9pm
Shangrila Tattoo Parlour
Unit 107, 54 – 58 Kingsland Road
London E2 8DP
With subtle and divine live performances, both profane and sacred by Ash Mukherjee, Helen McDonald, Hrafnhildur Benediktsdóttir, Peter M Adams, Nicola Canavan, Othon & Tomasini.
Have your book signed amongst the breathtaking flower installation by
Jérémy Martin and prepare for even more!
From 9pm – early hours
After party at The Drunken Monkey, 222 Shoreditch High Street
London, E1 6PJ
For further information please contact Lesley Chan of Shangrila Tattoo Parlour on +44 20 7739 3066 or Julien Aschner on +44 7595 955 499 or email@example.com
For press information and images please get in touch with Predrag Pajdic on +44 77 344 340 66 or firstname.lastname@example.org
BENEATH THE SHADOWS THE SOUL WALKS
Featuring 116 images by Predrag Pajdic
And 8 original stories by JL Nash
Embossed hard cover, 115 pages on sateen paper, printed in Portugal
Published by The Pandorian, UK/Australia
Designed by Wrong Design, Porto
OUT NOW AND AVAILABLE FROM THIS LINK
This book challenges current trends and rewards the time taken to peruse the images and read the texts as it celebrates the loveliness in everyone, at all ages, gender, style, type and appearance. Over 70 subjects have been photographed and they range from ages 10 to 84. What is presented are the purest of naked souls echoed in the faces and bodies of some of the most extraordinary people from across U.S.A., Europe and Asia taken over the period of a year to catch all seasons. A key moment for the timing of the photographs taken was dawn or dusk; a time when the human subconscious rises to the forefront in an almost dream state, just waking or about to sleep. It is at this magical instant we are able, as humans to penetrate our most vulnerable and innocent emotions. It is a time of great understanding and wisdom, a moment of the opening or closing of flowers, the birth or death of butterflies. 100 of the most intense and exceptional visions from exotic locations spanning deserts, mountains, waterfalls and lakes have been hand selected from about 50,000 taken. Each subject was chosen because of their kindness and compassion in their lives, the purity of the authentic soul and the resulting grace as captured is a manifestation of the essence of each of these astonishingly humble ordinary people. Images call deep into the window of expression to create a new beginning, a marker for what is now stripped, vulnerable, raw and honest.
These lyrical metaphors are sometimes challenging but never drop below the line of elegant taste. It’s a common enough cry from the stands, railing against the double standards of media interpretation of beauty. We know about photo-shopping images, digital alterations and the decrease of self-esteem in light of almost impossible versions of exquisiteness as presented to us. But where is the new standard, where is the new measure? These are the faces of beauty, male and female, young and old, of a variety of nationalities. This book is a marvellous celebration of life’s splendour in a form as yet seen, and offers a new, more realistic standard and measure by which to judge those who please the eye. The short stories are exclusive to this book and also echo the same ethos, adding another dimension to the pictures we create in mind and soul.
The book is featuring many extraordinary people such as international artists, performers, dancers, composers, writers, poets, lovers and next door neighbours, who stole from their time, injected their passion and spread their enthusiasm in creating this project. Among others we are grateful to Lee Adams, Peter M Adams, Dimitris Alexandrou, Loukas Angelou, Julien Aschner, Oreet Ashery, Barney Ashton, Hrafnhildur Benediktsdóttir, Silke Bender, Fernando Bonastre, Pio Rio Branco, Christopher Agius Burke, Shaun Carmody, Nicola Canavan, Lesley Chan, Sebastian Trevor Collins, Federico Domenici, Jason Eddy, Edir, Finn Eighty, Alexandra Eldridge, Andrew Ellerby, Paul Fages, Nathan Hanford, Scott Humphreys, Matthew-Robert Hughes, Dominic Johnson, Jean-Bastien Lagrange, John Linssen, Othon Mataragas, Marko Matysik, Jeremy Martin, Elizabeth McGorian, Darius Meibodi, Katarina Mootich, Erica Mott, Charles Moriarty, Ash Mukherjee, Kira O’Reilly, Fragiskos Papasifakis, Simon Phillips, Hugo Rodrigues, Alif Sankey, Qasim Riza Shaheen, Emanuele Soavi, Anna Sudbina, Marie & Manon Tatala, Anthony Thévenoux, Ernesto Tomasini, Gabriel Toso, Stephanie Valerie, Costas Voyatzis & Mara Vujic.
The noble tradition of Art Patronage has enabled historical markers for social change throughout the centuries. Both Predrag and JL are humbled and immensely grateful for today’s Patrons who, through their generosity and clear vision of both present and future, have donated to this project. They are: Lee Adams, Christopher Agius, Errikos Andreou, Loukas Angelou, Jennifer Angus, Julien Aschner, Oreet Ashery, Gregory Augendre-Cambon, Francisco Baldini, Julia Bardsley, Silke Bender, Hrafnhildur Benediktsdottir, Fernando Bonastre, Marin Borzoi, Tomislav Brcic, Pio Rio Branco, Elena Broms, Margaret & Paul Britton, Barney Ashton-Bullock, Alina Buzila, Nicola Canavan, Shaun Carmody, Dennis Carpenter, Lesley Chan, Panagiotis Chilakos, William Choi, Sebastian Collins, Alexandre De Bothuri, Mark Doubet, Jonny Dredge. Federico Domenici, Jason Eddy, Alexandra Eldridge, Jackie Ellis, Valérie Fages, Darius Fattahi Meibodi, Mercedes Fernandez, Neil Finaughty, Sorrel Mae Florence, Sandra Fulham, Gian Galeazzi, Benjamin Gibert, Stefano Guerrini, Geoffrey Guillin, Marie Halova, Katharina Hesse, David Hoyle, Ian Hunter, Patricia Hunter, Christian Irjala, Sandra James, Eddie Jelinet, Dominic Johnson, Klara Jones, Hugo Keller, Sara Kellett, Johnny Kirkpatrick, Tina Komninou, Piotr Koziel, David Laraffe, Ulrich Lindenthal, Shyamal Lallah, Anousheh London, Vita Lurash, Andres Arevalo-Maklouf, Othon Mataragas, Elizabeth McGorian, Buddy Mear, Sophiane Meddour, Roberta Miller, Anthony & Erin Mohr, Nick Moore, Ash Mukherjee, Neil Nash, Dean Neill, Ian Noonan, Joanna Oberbillig, Fragiskos Papasifakis, Luke Pell, Michele & Philippe Petey, Timothy Persent, Blandine Proust & Fabrice Stijnen, Julie M. Quinn, Jari Raiskio, Bob Rammeloo, Mercedes Roca, Robert Sacheli, Alif Sankey, Julia Sant-Mire, Natthapong Sanguansri, Yasmin Schwetz, Susan Selfe, Tom Shakespeare, Nicholas Smith, Tapio Snellman, Maura Soldati, Eric Soler, Vangelis Sotiriou, Stavros Stavroulakis, Christina Tzamala, Anthony Thevenoux, Ernesto Tomasini, Gabriel Toso, Andras Toth-Czifra, Anne & Brian Turner, Margaret Turner, Joao Pedro Vasconcelos, Mara Vujic, Paul Wilde, Jo Woollacott, Margaret Woollacot, Susan Hunter-Yetton, Peter Yetton.
For further information on the works or the exhibition please contact Gijs Stork on
Flower CASTLE exhibition
20 March- 20 May Kasteel Keukenhof, Lisse, The Netherlands
Official Opening on 28 March from 2 pm.
A group exhibition curated by Gijs Stork with: Karin Arink, Maarten Baas, Miroslaw Balka, Uta Barth, Otto Berchem, Jos Bregman, Merijn Bolink, Reinier Bosch, Sebastian Brajkovic, Niels Broszat, Frank Bruggeman, Martin Butler, Elspeth Diederix, Mark Dion, Telka vanDodewaard, Rolf Engelen, Irene Fortuyn, FreudenthalVerhagen, Michel François, Lizan Freijsen, Maayan Ben Gal, Renato Galante, Liam Gillick, Daan van Golden, Marnix Goosen, Koen Hauser, Roderick Hietbrink, Florentijn Hofman, Hans van Houwelingen, Pierre Huyghe, Ann Veronica Janssens, Studio Job, Hella Jongerius, Dirk Kome, Jeroen Kooijmans, Maryam Kordbacheh, Pawel Kruk, Lernert & Sander, Studio Makkink & Bey, Isa Melsheimer, Marc Mulders, Osaira Muyale, Jeroen Oude Sogtoen/Mona di Orio, Edwin Oudshoorn, Predrag Pajdic, Jack Pierson, Sander Plug, Gerard Prent, Jan Rothuizen , Wilhelm Sasnal, Viviane Sassen, Scheltens Abbenes, Alexander van Slobbe, Edward C. Thomson, Fedor van der Valk, Philippe Vogelenzang, Wandschappen, Artur Žmijewski.
With this work (shown above) on display at Museum Willet – Holthuysen, Predrag is taking part in the Winter SALON 2012, that transforms Amsterdam in a true Wunderkammer of creativity from the 21 January – 5 February 2012
at various locations across the city.
Alis volat propris is a durational performance by Predrag Pajdic with Nathan Hanford that took place for the first time on the 5th of January 2012 at WE*DO Gallery in Bangkok, Thailand. Over several hours, the vibrant wings of 300 butterflies are meticulously attached to a naked male body which rests on a white table. As the representative transformation into a new being, covered in delicate wings is completed, ‘the messenger’ is personified; each wing carrying the network of all human memory and desire. Audience members are invited one by one to whisper a wish into his ear before he leaves with the release of live butterflies. Next performance will take place at the Wrong Weather Gallery in Porto, Portugal on the 3rd of March 2012 from 5 – 10pm.
Noetic Corpus: Sojourn Of The Soul
3 March – 31 April 2012
Wrong Weather, Porto, Portugal
Wrong Weather is pleased to present the exhibition Noetic Corpus: Sojourn of the Soul by Predrag Pajdic, which courageously walks the line between conscious and subconscious. It brings into the forelight that which lives in the backlight and without shame or hesitation, offers more than a snapshot into the story of which, each has become a participant. This collection of work holds all the luxury one might associate with this artist and it’s pleasing to know that the high level of sophistication still exists in each piece as does an intellectual presentation that holds both modesty and self-effacement.
There is a particularly haunting transition of light, a theme which runs through the whole exhibition. Mystical and ethereal, one might imagine to be viewing the illumination of the fall of Icarus, perhaps a stolen moment from an alternative garden of eden, terrible pain or is it terrible pleasure rippling through a body laid upon a slab? One might be tempted to reach forward, to chance to stroke the feathers of a raven, to button up (or undo) the back of silk skimming skin in the aftermath of a party. Headresses that call for veils to be raised to reveal what lies beneath and strange binding want for unwrapping. These enigmatic visual conundrums simply delight in the half light of their exposure.
These images not only lead to develop an understanding of how the body and emotional seat may be regulated and controlled by the soul but also offers a glimpse of where the belief within rests. Each face or corporeal manifestation (none of which are models but ‘real’ people, often other artists or creatives) also conveys the sense of the soul being non-rational, entering into conscious dream states with their deep penetrating gazes or ghostly positioning. This brave and beautiful body of work demands acceptance of the concept that the soul may not be responsible for a person’s mental or psychological behaviours but indeed has its own desires, its own fears and intellectual ambitions. There is an inner beauty which unashamedly conveys this determination and yet cryptically teases. The artist undoubtedly brings this to life through the measured enhancement of colour and tone, the depth of interaction with the subject’s surroundings and the utilisation of the texture of fabric against the texture of flesh, often bared. Pajdic’s work is not like anyone else’s and as such belies comparison. Reality is illusion and within each illusion, a new mythology is born. Further more, if seeing is believing, this is an exhibition not to be missed.
Consequently, one can never be quite sure what is being offered; myth or legend, a chapter ending or begininng, except that it posseses at the same time as seeking to engage a soul response and therein lies the genius of this body of work. Without effect or grandeur, it provides a welcome and refreshing antithesis to minimalism and in an often ‘natural’ setting brings a surprising sense of opulence. There is a permeation of both savage and sublime with each line, each shadow and one is left with the impression that these deeply perceptive and haunting visual metaphors are both exacting as well as being intensely beautiful.
Furthermore, the continual evolution of momentary rapture and subsequent calm is ubiquitous. Pajdic’s vistal interpretation compels engagement without apology or explanation. Indeed, technically adept and artistically original, each image assumes the role of arbitrator between this life and one existing somewhere beyond imagination. Pajdic’s presentation is impeccable on all levels and in each photograph, his subject is narrator to a story or even series of events that lay beneath the surface rather than being blatantly stated. There is magic in the expression or movement that introduces but never overly states the secret of each subject as it invites you to play, to draw near and to listen closely to secrets, chancing revelation.
On the opening night, there will also be a durational performance, Alis Volat Propris by Predrag Pajdic with Nathan Hanford. Over several hours, the vibrant wings of 300 butterflies are meticulously attached to a naked male body, which rests on a white table. As the representative transformation into a new being, covered in delicate wings is completed, ‘the messenger’ is personified; each wing carrying the network of all human memory and desire. Audience members are invited one by one to whisper a wish into his ear before he leaves with the release of live butterflies.
The emotive text accompanying the preview images of Alis Volat Propris states “I fly with my own wings except that my wings belong to tiny things that settle in a place on a body of such beauty which dares to hold the fragments of dreams and wishes. The brave ones.“
About The Wrong Weather Gallery:
Because fashion is an art form, and because the discourse and options of the most creative designers foreshadow the most daring ideas of our time, Wrong Weather opened a space devoted to the Visual Arts, showcasing artists whose language speaks to the world of fashion.
5 January – 5 April 2012
In light of a world which now operates beyond its many cultural boundaries, what sacred symbols today deepen our understanding of the human condition? Is the human condition being ground underfoot, at its lowest point, even at rock-bottom as so many economists might present? Or, is it rising, pheonix-like, in full colour and majesty, with all the mystery of secrets yet to be revealed, out of the hopelessness of a near global recession?
Γνώθι σ ‘αυτόν – Know thyself*
As messages were received in the vapours of the Delphic Oracle, so does this international crucible of talent, united for the first time under the same roof, convey their symbols. Mysterious and enthralling, each artist offers a facet of hope, altered and strange; and yet familiar enough in its presentation to remind each one that the spark of life’s breath lives not in any visible organ but in the soul’s interpretation of the golden age inside each human being and a connection to each other. These transformative images and performances strip away the weight of mutal illusion leaving one to acquire empathy for each spark of the combination of soul material captured in this glamourous mix as they become the Oracle – the meta-paradigm of today’s cognisant revelation.
This prestigious collection of work dares to present as a whole, a portal through which each person is called upon to wake from the slumber of their own illusions and choices. It needs no ancient voice from the sky to present the precognition of a brighter future. A future, with new symbols demanding examination from within each person. A future which reaches beyond the Age of Aquarius, beyond the dismal reckoning of inefficient translators of long redundant calendars. These are the voices of today, luminescent and unashamedly opulent as they swiftly inhabit the upper echelons of reason, the power that is beauty and the grandeur that is the future. This exhibition lifts to the glories of the human soul in a breathtakingly exciting new alchemy of quality, not quantity.
Τίποτα που υπερβαίνουν – Nothing in excess*
Modern mankind has slipped into a trance. Mesmerised by the pain of the mundane, now is the time to feast upon a different type of food. To listen to the wise counsel that lives within each of us and wake from hitherto limiting perception and consciousness to the depths of another and another and yet another as each artist insists on casting a magical net. The work looms large and still, there is a sense of the gentle and exquisite in all.
The days of mass production and excess have gone, leaving room only for the most important and influential of symbols and messages. Herein lies the philosopher’s stone. There are no base metals remaining. Everything is metaphorically speaking, pure gold and the transformation crosses over into the subconscious revealing something unique to each.
Κάνει μια υπόσχεση και αταξίες πλησιάζει – Make a pledge and mischief is nigh*
These sophisticated visual stories both tantalise and invite transportation. They herald a new state of knowing of each part of the human soul in all its fire and creativity, skilfully cut like a diamond, sparkling with each image, each colour, each shape and each response it dares to elicit.
2012 is not just a year of prophesies of portent. It is a year of awakening, of a shimmering dawn that presents itself now, whole and willing. It’s the year of the Olympics, it’s the year of new Space exploration and it’s the door opening to what human beings do best, rising above the base slough of pain, poverty and confusion to create and develop the next chapter. A chapter of hope and strength. A chapter of beauty where there are no borders and The Oracle is today, all the voices in the air linked through modern means, creating together a new life.
*Inscriptions taken from the major temple at Delphi
Curated by Predrag Pajdic with Errikos Andreou, Marco Brollo, Carolyn Cowan,
Alexandra Eldridge, Roberto Foddai, Nathan Hanford, Emiliano Lazzarotto,
J. L. Nash, Predrag Pajdic, Petra Reimann and Mustafa Sabbagh
79 Thonglor 8, Sukhumvit Soi 55, Klongtong-Nua
Wattana, 10110 Bangkok, Thailand
Opening on the 5th of January 2012 at 8pm with the performance
Alis Volat Propris by Predrag Pajdic with Nathan Hanford.
The Pandorian’s Fashion-Inspired Artistry
by Retna Wooller
JC Report, 9 November 2011
The intersection of fashion and art is a continuously evolving relationship. And given the creative and innovative spark the compels most designers, it’s no surprise that many accomplished industry vets – Tom Ford, Helmut Lang, etc. – find themselves drawn to other artistic outlets at various points in their careers. This natural interplay is the aesthetic force behind Predrag Pajdic’s The Pandorian, a wildly popular art photography blog that combines fashion sensibilities with artistic media.
Born and raised in Serbia, Pajdic graduated from Central Saint Martins in 1994, one year after the late, great McQueen. Following graduation, he was thrust into the London fashion scene at a time when the city was housing collections that wowed the world. Pajdic’s curiosity led him to experiment with materials from tencil to toilet paper for outlandish creations that went on to appear in video clips, on stages, in films and even on display in New York’s Metropolitan Museum.
Like most artistic talents, Pajdic’s creative curiosity began at an early age and encompassed a range of influences. “As a child I would imitate birds’ songs, collect feathers, mushrooms, flowers and talk to plants and animals,” he admits. Citing a host of inspirational sources – from Da Vinci to Dior, Balenciaga to Jean Cocteau – Pajdic’s imagination eventually grew beyond the canvas of fashion, however. It was at that point that he turned to his passion for photography. “Photography and art was always a significant part of my creative process,” Pajdic explains. “But it took some time until I took it seriously as my profession.”
Now dedicating his time to creating props, accessories and a select few garments for his shoots, Pajdic travels the world in search of subjects and locations to photograph for The Pandorian. Photographing people he meets rather than professional models is a conscious decision based on the beauty he finds in every individual. For each subject, Padjic selects a quote or a time in history to form the basis of the shoot’s art direction. The result is more like an online essay in photography form. And with more than 1.5 million visitors a month and numerous commissions, Pajdic’s expression is only continuing to grow as he seeks out renewed inspiration in his followers.
Through a newer looking glass
by Despina Pavlaki
Athens News, 24 October 2011
Even though Facebook might be the end of our social life as we know it, you still have to thank the internet for certain fateful meetings. “I’ve known Predrag since I first started yatzer.com, but we’d never actually met,” admits Costas Voyatzis, editor of the smash-hit online domain on design, travel, fine dining and the arts. “We first connected over Myspace when it was still hip and happening. He’s an extraordinarily talented person, an art historian and a curator but, most importantly, an artist in his own right.”
The recipient of all this well-deserved praise is none other than globetrotter Predrag Pajdic, an exemplary 21st-century multitasker, who recently gave Greeks a reason to feel proud. Hail, O Hail, Liberty!, a stunning visual narrative featuring century-old costumes combined with local designer wear, recently popped up on yatzer.com, capturing everything Pajdic loves about Greece. And, through his eyes, the country never looked better.
“Greece is pretty much one of my favourite places on earth,” confirms the newly-spawned photographer with contagious enthusiasm. “It really is – I know it’s going through a tough time right now, but as an artist you have the chance to tap into a different reality.”
His own private version of Athens sprung into life on a hot summer day on his new best friend’s terrace. “He was scheduled to leave on a Thursday and on Tuesday afternoon he suddenly springs it on me: he’s got this project he wants to do,” remembers gracious host Voyatzis, who would do anything for his friends – including orchestrate an impromptu photoshoot without taking any of the credit. “I honestly had nothing to do with the concept, I was just a facilitator, but I think it perfectly mirrors our spirit of togetherness in a very creative way,” he adds.
So here’s a guide on how to throw together a last-minute photoshoot with a professional model, an up-and-coming local designer and a truckload of inspiration that should inject design junkies with a much-needed dose of national pride.
“At first glance Athens looks completely chaotic, but then you realise there is a method to its madness and, in some strange way, everything works,” says Pajdic. Having taken up photography as recently as two months ago, he spent his first few days in the city doing the compulsory tourist rounds, where he made a very important discovery. “I was confronted with two very contrasting sides of the city: one was contemporary and young, and the other was ancient, steeped with the kind of history you cannot escape. I swear, the first time I went up to the Acropolis I felt I was closer to heaven than I’ve ever been in my life.”
But rather than focus on the differences, he tried to discover the bridges that keep the two worlds connected: “It was kind of like an ongoing dialogue in my head, and that’s what this project is all about.”
“Predrag travels non-stop and he feels there are priceless elements in traditional costumes that are in danger of being buried forever,” says Voyatzis. His curatorial spirit at work, Pajdic carefully chose to mix a few items from the Sotiris Georgiou Fall/Winter 2011-2012 Collection with authentic period wear, topped off with some seriously impressive headgear from Tzamalas Traditional Costumes.
“The parliament guards were a major influence,” says Pajdic. “Discovering all these amazing clothes and jewellery I realised it wasn’t so far removed from what Jean Paul Gaultier is doing, so why not try and get them out of the vitrines and onto real people and see what happens?’ Next up was Sotiris Georgiou, a personal friend of Voyatzis’ and his favourite Greek designer, who let them run amok on his latest collection and even ended up taking part in the shoot.
“Sotiris is a very gentle soul who’s very clever about putting complicated things together,” says Pajdic. “He’s one of those people who are very passionate about what they do and I just couldn’t separate him from his clothes. So including him in the project came very naturally.” The designer was joined by model Dimitris Alexandrou, a testament to Pajdic’s search for a certain ancient Greek prototype. “I was trying to draw parallels between the past and the present, so I looked for men, that resembled particular sculptures that I had seen in museums.” As soon as the project hit the web, Pajdic hit the books researching traditional female costumes, plotting to return to Greece for a followup with the opposite sex. “I believe everyone should be represented equally – men women, black and white, we need to strike a balance, so shooting with women is definitely on the cards.”
Putting things into context can prove surprisingly hard. Pajdic had been photographing the streets since he first set foot in Greece, accumulating a staggering 10,000 shots. Staging a photo shoot was tricky, because the clothes couldn’t just dress the people. They had to envelop some of the “tourist shots” he wanted to include in the story and give them a whole new meaning. “If there was one story I wanted to tell, it was the story of his first real trip to Greece,” says Voyatzis, “so the clothes had to be photographed in a way that would fit in with the rest of the imagery. We didn’t just want to photograph models, we wanted to create a narrative.” So Pajdic came up with a set, where each “tourist shot” worked as a springboard for the model shot, providing context and showcasing the original inspiration. Together they exude a world-weary charm, like new kinds of virtual artefacts for the 21st century.
Although looking like the stuff coffee-table dreams are made of, Hail, O Hail, Liberty! was exclusively created for the web, leaving old-school print collectors salivating over their monitors. But surely the ephemeral nature of the web leaves the artist wanting? “Actually, it doesn’t,” says Pajdic matter-of-factly. “When I first started out it was kind of hard to part with your work, but nowadays it’s all about sharing. We’re living in tough times and if I can contribute 0.00000001 points of beauty to this world, I’d want to do it as fast as I can, and nothing can beat the internet for speed. It’s a spectacular platform for artistic output and you don’t need to wait for the galleries to show your work. You can do it on your own right here, right now.”
The eternal optimist
Predrag Pajdic was born in 1965 in Yugoslavia but pinning him down to a single country, or a single profession for that matter, wouldn’t be doing him justice. “Dealing with stereotypes has always been very hard for me,” says the gentleman artist (professor, art historian or maybe curator?), when questioned about what he does for a living.
Forthcoming but ultimately determined to shield himself from definitions, he explains that he has “always rebelled against the idea of specialising in one thing and doing it for the rest of one’s life. There’s nothing wrong with it, of course, and we do need experts, but I believe we are capable of learning many different things.”
Holding an MA in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art and a BA in fashion design from Central St Martins, Pajdic used his academic armoury to morph into a man who can dodge job titles faster than he can dodge bullets. “I need to do many different things in order to feel complete. I can’t imagine myself just giving lectures at university halls and dealing with students. Besides, I don’t think I could ever be a good professor if I didn’t experiment and gain knowledge firsthand, the kind that goes above and beyond textbooks.”
At present, his artwork can be found at the British Museum in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, while at the same time there’s a swimwear collection to his name, designed for an exclusive e-commerce promotion in May 2011. “If I had to state one profession for myself, then I really don’t know what that would be.” And you know he really means it.
If there’s one thing that holds everything together though, that’s definitely his signature optimism. “I know Greece is in dire straits right now, but so is Europe and the rest of the world, for that matter!” he exclaims. “And you know what? Maybe it’s not all bad. Sometimes you need to hit rock bottom in order to wake up and start thinking about the simple things.” Like human contact and caring about the person next to you, for example? “Exactly! I think we all got so greedy in the last couple of decades that we became possessed by our possessions and forgot that sometimes you need to take a break and share what you have with others.”
As for himself, he never stays in one place for more than a month, and his professional commitments and numerous friendships around the world keep him constantly on the move, so he always makes sure he travels light. He is currently to be found in Slovenia donning one of his many hats, this time as curator. “I worked on a very big exhibition called ‘Spellbound’ that’s taking place at the SKUC Gallery until October 23. It’s all about alternative ways of dealing with difficult times.” And apparently one of them is magic. “I decided to invite 14 international artists whose work somehow touches upon magic in any shape or form, from psychics to fortune-tellers, people who would rather think outside the box than conform to what politicians, religious leaders and general authority is feeding us. It’s all about finding hope.”
Besides, who needs money when they can have art, cigarettes, dark chocolate and conversation, the four essentials Pajdic requires for survival? But not much more than that. “I was thinking about that during my recent visit to Greece, because I didn’t just stay in Athens, I went to the Peloponnese as well and I was flabbergasted at the sight of all these ancient olive trees that seemed to go on for miles. I mean, you can essentially survive off an olive tree alone: you’ve got your oil, your olives, your creams and all kinds of products you live off from. As for me, as long I can have enough to continue my life the way it is, I’ll be very happy.”
5 – 23 October 2011
Curated by Predrag Pajdic with Jo Andres, Milijana Babic, Maja Bajevic, Hrafnhildur Benediktsdóttir, Andreia Chaves, Carolyn Cowan, Alexandra Eldridge, Alicia Fantozzi, Rose-Gabriel De La Lyre, J. L. Nash, Nathália Mello, Nina Thilas-Mohs, and Lana Zdravkovic (Kitch).
Spellbound is a group exhibition of international artists whose work gazes into the understanding, experience and influences of the world through magic, the mysterious art of altering realities either by supernatural forces or through knowledge of occult laws unknown to mainstream science. The incantation of language through image brings to this viewing space a conjuring of perceptions. It offers the magical doctrine of cosmic sympathy between things visible and things invisible; each rendering is a glimpse into the now and the tomorrows of illusions of both the present and the future.
Practised since ancient times, yet often viewed with suspicion and disbelief, magic is frequently exercised in isolation and secrecy, veiled in symbols and allegory. It holds within it the echoes of the belief that while it is fascinating, the more in-depth the study, the darker and more dangerous it is perceived to be.
Then again – regardless of its mystery – to many, magic is the only source of spiritual guidance and hope, especially in times of crisis, difficulty and distress. It proffers the double image, where inner reality and outer reality come together in a unique meeting point, where single-image perception has, up to then, left humans vulnerable. They suffer, hurt and ache. In their “desidaimonia” (fear of supernatural powers and magic), being spellbound becomes the only explanation for the unknown.
When medicine fails to find a cure for a fatal disease, one might go to a healer in the hope of recovery. When the present is failing, jobs are lost and the future appears more and more uncertain, when there are no answers to anguish, pain and suffering, one turns to those who hold the knowledge, who might just be able to break the spell: fortune tellers, shamans, gurus and clairvoyants. What magic lies in their knowledge? Do they act as the ancient magi did? Do they pretend to be gods in order to set fear into the hearts of the real deities so that they will indeed perform or channel through them, as only they may hold that vital key to inner peace and understanding. Are they looking into the hearts and souls of single-image humans or double-image situations?
The world is in crisis. Western-style economies are collapsing. Poverty and hunger are spreading like a terminal disease, unstoppable and incurable. Old wars and conflicts are raging. Climate is changing uncontrollably. Democracies are failing and human rights are continuously violated while freedoms (of choice, speech, expression, existence) fade in a desperate bid for quick profit, self-indulgent greed and an effort to control the downward spiralling contentment and decreasing social order. New restrictive laws are implemented (daily) – by governments that once promised prosperity and liberty. More money is wasted on wars and “security” than is spent on well-being, social welfare, culture and learning. Is this the beginning of an apocalyptic present? Could this be the end of the world? Or is it simply the end of the present order? What will the future bring? Is there a future at all?
With this in mind, Spellbound has been created as an artistic attempt to call upon alternative visions of the future filled with dreams, fantasy, wonder and bewilderment; uncanny and mysterious reality, where nightmares and horror will end happily, enchanted by the flickering light of hope and prosperity. One may mistake rite for religious ritual, but then perhaps close attention is not being paid to the detail that clearly defines and differentiates. What else is magic and being spellbound other than the epitome of action and reaction in this universe? It is magic that both affects and effects control. Each symbol within calls not for protection from this world, but looks to harness the power of good and evil to achieve goals and destinies. These images hold the attitude of assumption to a supernatural identity, leaving the viewer to question which side of the double image they are seeing. Magical power and spells are held in words. Images evoke those language patterns within, and each rite and gesture assures mystical devotion. Take care of what you form in mind when you open your eyes to see.
17 INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY ARTS
CITY OF WOMEN
Text by John-Paul Pryor
Dazed step into the darkness to celebrate the final week of one of London’s most successful shows.
This week is your last chance to see the exhibition Lingering Whispers in the crypt of St Pancras Church, a show where fashion, erotica and art collide in an unfettered and often deeply unsettling exploration of sex, death and glamour. Evoking the spirit of a haunted underground bordello from one of David’ Lynch’s stranger dreams, Lingering Whispers is a darkly enchanting experience, and one that feels intensely dramatic. With artworks on show from forty international artists, it has been one of the runaway hits of the last two months and it’s not something to be missed. We stepped into the gloom of London’s famous catacombs to discuss with curator Predrag Pajdic why nature may decay the physical body but dreams remain eternal…
Dazed Digital: Did you want artists to explore the notion of the sleeping mind and unfettered dream states?
Predrag Pajdic: I have always been interested in that particular instant just before awakening, a moment where the consciousness is kind of trapped in between a dream state and reality: half-asleep and half-alert. This instant is perhaps the closest to what I would understand as parallel realities: existing in two spheres at the same time. This was one of the key factors when I was constructing the concept for Lingering Whispers, and a challenge given to some of the artists in the show. I wanted them to try and depict this moment; this notion of the sleeping mind and alert consciousness. For me, this also represented an allegory for creativity, fantasy and dreamtime on one side and the contemporary harsh realities of many on the other. David Lynch is a master of creating these parallel realities and Twin Peaks was an influence on the atmosphere we tried to create in the crypt.
Dazed Digital: The show seems to have a strong leaning towards erotica…
Predrag Pajdic: Forty international artists took part in the exhibition, and some of them certainly played with the notion of eroticism, not necessarily to give any answers but rather to question our tolerance to differences – teasing out taboos still deeply embedded in our society. We are often told that London is one of the most tolerant places on the planet, celebrating diversity to the full… Well, by listening to visitors’ comments on Michal Ohana-Cole’s hooded ladies, I believe there is still a long way to go.
Dazed Digital: Why do you think erotica is often dark and surreal with the suggestion of violence and death?
Predrag Pajdic: It is all about our differences and ways of seeing things. We are all shaped by the cultural, social, economic, and political codes embedded deeply in us by our education, as well as upbringing. Add to that religion and you realise how complex we all are. So, what for one person represents the erotic it might be dark and sinister to someone else.
Dazed Digital: Are you particularly interested in the notion of life after death?
Predrag Pajdic: Absolutely, I believe we all are. If we think of humans as energies we realise that death cannot be the end, because just like dreams it cannot be destroyed. Energy can be transformed from one form to another, like electricity to light, light to heat, heat to motion… but never destroyed. So I look at death more as a transformative stage. Whenever there is an end, there also has to be a new beginning.
Dazed Digital: What was the initial inspiration behind the show?
Predrag Pajdic: The depression era in America in the early 20th century. Although this was a time of economic upheaval, it was also the golden era of Hollywood, when they were making these incredible escapist films, and it was the era when fashion designers first started to make these amazing costumes for films. I wanted to try and mirror that, and show that in the current time of so-called economic crisis that artists can produce their most amazing work.
Dazed Digital: Why the strong crossover with fashion in the show?
Predrag Pajdic: I consider fashion as a really high art from, Alexander McQueen is fucking art; his live shows were like installations. I wanted to have the artists consider how much work goes into fashion – people don’t realise how much work it takes to find good photographers, then get amazing models and stylists, the right set, then the lighting; it’s a massive production that eventually becomes one photograph. I really wanted to show fashion as an art form, and I worked with the artists on that notion until we found something that would be interesting. Of course, it’s very easy to recreate the beauty of mainstream fashion, but all of these artists really gave that some kind of dark twist.
Crypt of St Pancras Church, london
7 May – 6 June 2010
Does self expression flourish under pressure? Is creativity at its most acute in times of social, political and financial crises? More than anything, do the Arts provide hope during periods of extreme difficulty?
The Great Depression in the 1930’s saw Hollywood enter its Golden Age, a period many still describe as the Imperial Era of cinema. On the eve of WWII in 1939 MGM created Gone with the Wind, still one of the most successful films of all time. The Wizard of Oz, released the same year, became one of the most famous moving pictures ever made and Judy Garland’s rendition of Over the Rainbow has been voted the greatest American movie song of all time by the American Film Institute. Extravagant colour and elaborate sets delighted millions; timeless in their invention and splendour while the music, choreography and elaborate costumes of this period all became instant classics, both on celluloid and stage.
So now, while the financial world alleges we are once again in the midst of a grave depression, could Art once more succeed and exceed beyond all limits, providing a platform where all channels of creativity might flourish, stimulate and inspire?
With this in mind, Lingering Whispers has been born. An exhibition comprising of 40 international artists hunting for alternative ways of expression during this crisis. Art and Fashion will merge into one, both stage and catwalk, conscious and subconscious combined where imagination will be celebrated and the pigeonholed eliminated. Contemporary artists, poets, performers, fashion designers and photographers will unite in sharing their unspoken vanities, intoxicating fantasies, illusions, longings, dreams and desires. Lingering Whispers is about experiencing, not inert viewing. Art as a stage rather than four blank gallery walls. A glamorous, exquisite alternative to darkness and gloom.
Curated by Predrag Pajdic with: Dom Agius, Errikos Andreu, Barney Ashton, Joachim Baldauf, Sang Bleu, Stefania Bonatelli, Wren Britton, Carolyn Cowan, Fran Dileo, Alexandra Eldridge, Devin Elijah, Manuel Estevez, Roberto Foddai, Al Giga, Frances Goodman, Christophe Haleb, Katharina Hesse, Daniel Holfeld, Kobi Israel, Christina Kruse, Pascale Lafay, Scooter Laforge, Emiliano Lazzarotto, Mark Mander, Tupac Martir, Katarina Mootich, Michal Ohana-Cole, Maflohé Passedouet, Petra Reimann, Ricci/Forte, Pato Rivero, Yvonne De Rosa, Mauro Santucci, Iris Schieferstein, Erick Soler, Tapio Snellman, Wolfgang Stiller, Christopher Stribley, Lee Wagstaff & Cyrille Weiner.