30. November 2023

Judita Krivec Dragan

In her works, the academy-trained painter and master printmaker Biljana Unkovska combines all three in a special way: the figure, which she likes to explore in animals, the still life world of objects in semantically rich symbols, and the landscape, which she conceives of as some sort of primeval paradise. The title of this exhibition thus refers not only to the golden background that was once only used for holy and venerated persons, but also – or first and foremost – to associations with the medieval hortus conclusus, an enclosed garden with the Virgin Mary or a shelter for a virtuous young lady that has managed to capture a unicorn. And, of course, with the lost Arcadia, which since Antiquity has been connected with the concept of a golden age, when humanity still enjoyed the unspoiled happiness of primeval life.

Biljana Unkovska tells a story about the places and events she observes on the wings of her imagination; her favourite heroes are animals, which accompany fairytale elven women and often carry the entire story. Loyal puppies and enigmatic kittens, a Christmas reindeer, a flower-adorned horse, mysterious bunnies, a confident rooster, and a hen with its "proto-egg" are also what infallibly defines Biljana Unkovska's uniqueness as an artist. They are the catchers of infinite dreams, humorous dreamers, the favourites of magical forces, and the firm guardians of a unique metaphor of a garden of paradise, which all religions and fairy tales of this world describe and every individual is searching for every day. Including today! Through masterful drawing skills and a unique application of colour, the artist retains the ancient, even archetypal characteristics of the animals portrayed, such as the magical powers of cats, the luminous character of horses, the loyalty and companionship of dogs, the vigilance of rabbits, the confidence of roosters, and the hidden potential of hens, to create a new beginning.

Biljana Unkovska's exhibition not only provides insight into the attractive world of metaphors from the natural world, where, against a golden background, the figures acquire the status of a celestial or dreamlike entity, but also presents a way in which a well-thought-out modern concept can be used to transcend the traditional gallery display and open the space into a wider urban setting or the street. That is, into a setting where life takes place.

30. November 2023 – 1. February 2024