Vessna Perunovich

Vessna Perunovich

Shifting Shelter

October 6, 2018 - February 10, 2019

Opening reception Friday, October 5, 7-9pm

Artist Talk: Sunday, November 18th, 2pm

Refuge of Change: A journey through experience

Despite her initial training as a painter, Serbian-born, Toronto-based Canadian artist Vessna Perunovich, embraces other poetics and artistic media such as installation, video, photography, object-based intervention, and performance.  The artist subscribes her work under a universal vision in the construction of channels that provide a zone of intellectual contact, thus facilitating a space for socialization.  Her approach reveals an open position that accepts the challenge and emotional comparison imposed by the transformations in the language, the psychological-emotional associations, and the adjustments of the new modes of behavior.

Shifting Shelter establishes a thoughtful introduction into the politics of transcultural migrations in the oscillating global system, at a crossroads where displacement manifests itself as one of the predominant geopolitical characteristics of living generations.

In her vocation to share, Perunovich teaches us how to confront a place in our lifetime, in which past, present and future have lapsed, understanding the phenomenon of migration as a continuous and dynamic line of destabilization, of rooting and uprooting, which manifests a need to link past with the current. 

With consistency, Perunovich’s work deepens exploration of the processes of movement in the current society, from the expansion of the term displacement , its corporal and spatial-geographic dimensions, to its symbolic configurations.  Articulated from our own perceptions and aesthetic representations, her work questions cultural factors and the effect they have on current society. 

With particular sensitivity, Shifting Shelter collects moments of absence and challenge in a conciliatory space that requires adaptation in time.  Consciously, the artist induces a strategy of assimilation in this space of struggle, conditioned by physical and mental displacement. 

Using humble materials, Vessna Perunovich produces works that critically question the contemporary condition of existence.  The artist does not refer to a specific site.  In her works, a territory can be located in the family, in the community, or in those symbolic spaces that constitute a shared culture, a common ethnicity and even the nostalgia for a distinct ideal land to which we all desire to belong in some way. 

Nothing is by happenstance in her pieces.  In the powerful installation that gives title to this exhibition, Shifting Shelter, found objects and furniture, painted in a somber black, function as a vehicle that favours the creation of unusual connections of expressive meanings, thus redefining the object’s original use.  In this piece everything comes together in a conceptual framework where objects, space, and the audience can participate in a new compilation that re-contextualizes the everyday.  In a laborious and imposing assembly, deceivingly of a deconstructed shelter, delicate moments are revived through the interconnections between objects and mirrors.  Balanced off each other with black lines drawn with elastic ribbon and tape coming off the wall in all different directions, the objects and their reflections in the mirrors mark subtle suggestion that things remain precarious and suspended in the state of uncertainty. 

There is no omission in Shifting Shelter, which is undoubtedly another impressive inquiry about current history of migration by Vessna Perunovich.  The artist displays poetic freedom of expression that demands our understanding, and at the same time highlights her stamp that marks her honesty, impetus, and subtlety. 

Perunovich’s scenarios are part of the real world, which paradoxically play out in the zones of trance in which we walk cautiously like acrobats on a tightrope, looking for associations or responses that can pitch or eclipse aspects that affect the course of our lives. 

Vessna Perunovich’s exclusive sensibility is the result of a holistic meta-artistic pattern, blurring the line between life and art, which uniquely and simultaneously perplexes and compels the viewer.  The unusual arrangements in her installations look for plausible answers in a world of hybridity and confusion.  Perunovich’s reflections on her own life and the human condition universally, endeavor to counteract and resist the setbacks of the present and offer a key contribution to discourses related to cross-cultural migrations.

- Magda Gonzalez-Mora, Independent Curator


Image: Detail of 'Unoccupied New York', Film Still