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The Paradox of Drago Persic

Max Henry

Silent road movie meets painting in the conceptual framework of Drago Persic. His métier is a mimetic plastic synthesis of painting, film photography, and minimalism. Gilles Deleuze ascribed repetition and difference to two categories: „clothed“ and „bare“; while „bare“ characterizes a simple mechanical repetition of the same element, „clothed“ relates to something of greater complexity with differences hidden within itself.
Drago Persic falls in the more complex category with small-scale projections of 8-mm film loops transferred from digital stills of exterior landscapes or precise installations of large paintings that are of an interior void and produced by his own hand in the studio. The films are autonomously generated by a software program with the end result falling somewhere between a moving image and a still that has been transferred to film.
Leaving room for improvisation and chance in his paintings, Persic utilizes printed analogue and digital drafts to produce a two-dimensional „maquette.“ Further alterations can be made by a sleight of the painter’s hand. These quasi-filmic pictures are for the most part analog optical experiments with the suggestion of a truncated narrative placed within their mono-chromatic black surfaces. Each one is of differing textures ranging from smooth to jagged palettes or expressive painterly brushstrokes. Floating in the dense viscous fields is an item of clothing painted in shades of pearlescent gray to appear draped on hanging on a rack. The decision to make do without perspective gives the clothing an ornamental sculptural quality within its folds.
Such to and fro between different media offers the viewer a paradox of genre, and perhaps it is a paean to the last analog century. Painting survives the unleashing of virtual reality and new media upon society with its own arsenal of tricks and special effects extracted from its own rich tradition and history. Drago Persic seems to compress space, time, and gravity by appropriating his own digital markers in painting some „obverse“ conception of the digital vacuum. Where film and painting meet he has added in the perceptual gaps of depth missing from the virtual interface.


Published 2009:
Lebt und arbeitet in Wien III
Kunsthalle Wien
ISBN 978-3-86984-023-9