The Beauty of Danger

12/04/2024 - 08/06/2024

The paradox of living and non-living elements intricately weaves through Milija’s artwork, presenting a method of freezing and prolonging experiences, encouraging contemplation and rediscovery. Merging both poetic and analytical approaches, Milija’s works are distinguished by exceptional formal qualities and precision in the final shaping. His artistic narrative delves into a profound dialogue between visionary imagination and the inherent forms of nature. Similar to a scientist, through the convergence of organic and artificial elements, the artist constructs a visual landscape where nature serves as both the genesis and culmination. Through the meticulous artistic process, he endeavors to capture the ephemeral essence of natural elements like leaves, insects, snake’s skin, etc., connecting the realms of life and death. Extracting elements from nature to convey the essence of the whole and showcasing regularity and specificity simultaneously, this emphasizes the artist’s role in discerning between natural and artificial – artistic forms. Each work represents a timeless “snapshot”, immortalizing fleeting moments and effectively suspending specific segments of time to perpetuate their existence. The allure of danger lies in its capacity to elicit a visceral and profound reaction. It is an aesthetic rebellion against the mundane, stirring our senses with the intoxicating charm of the unfamiliar. Danger carries an innate intensity that unveils striking contrasts and unforeseen harmonies. It summons us to venture beyond the confines of our comfort, where vulnerability and exhilaration converge. Within this enigmatic interplay, the beauty of danger not only defies our perceptions but also etches an enduring impression that transcends the ordinary, urging us to wholeheartedly embrace the extraordinary.

This critical platonic examination unveils an underlying epistemological challenge within the ethical psychology of beauty.The recurring motif of thorns and sharp extensions in the large-scale work “Hornets Nest” in the exhibition carries a dual significance, symbolizing both the protection of beauty and the potential for danger. Through this meticulous artistic approach, the observer encounters nuanced questions about how one should respond to attractions that are both captivating and perilous, highlighting the challenge of distinguishing them from mere appearances of beauty. The synthesis of materials, which fosters a dynamic dialogue between the past and the future, is evident in the sculptural work “Maenad”, materialized by incorporating both organic and inorganic elements: resin, dried flowers, and rose thorns. The artist not only immortalizes but also transforms the classical model, with the rose thorns symbolizing both the protection and fragility of beauty. “Ecdysis” is the process of shedding the dead outer skin in reptiles, which is necessary for growth. The term “ecdysis” comes from Ancient Greek “ἐκδύω (ekduo)” meaning “to take off, strip off”. The artworks “Ecdysis” and “Snake Shed” are made from snake sheds. Sheds are a natural leftover, and no animals were harmed in the process. The shedding of a snake’s skin emerges as a potent symbol, encapsulating a transformative process in reverse. Milija Čpajak, from something transient and discarded, creates a monument to change, symbolizing the perpetual and fundamental essence of transformation. The artist “revives” and immortalizes the ephemerality of the discarded snake skin, simultaneously transforming the symbol of danger into a highly aestheticized object. The seamless interplay between material and immaterial, history and physics, becomes evident at the microscopic level, where nature serves as our very foundation. Milija Čpajak’s work encapsulates this monistic perspective where “the reality” is fundamentally interconnected, and there is a single underlying principle or substance that constitutes the essence of existence.

The Beauty of Danger serves as a poignant reminder of the indispensable coexistence of opposites, emphasizing the eternal and transformative nature of existence. Each link connecting entities to the world is an intrinsic part of this encompassing nature. Change is life itself, a prerequisite for existence.

Nataša Radojević