In painting the imagined interiors of a collector’s living environment, for many collectors keep secret which artworks they have acquired, forcing the intrigued like journalists, art dealers, fellow collectors and other interested parties to speculate, Rade Petrasevic too becomes some kind of stalker.
Who is the rightful owner of a coveted artwork? There is a twofold belonging and the simultaneous pull of these two currents - one determined by economic power, the other one by its ideological value to an entire generation and shared interest - is played out in the collector’s habitat. The commodity, devoted and relevant to everyone, though inaccessible to most, becomes fetish.
Rade Petrasevic ushers us into a very peculiar realm here: the serious collector does not simply express his taste in choosing his interior and artworks. As his haven is partially private, partially public, the collection is providing personal pleasure as well as intended to be shown to a selected audience. We might call it a Salon.
Rade Petrasevic’s prying is the exact opposite of what Édouard Vuillard’s paintings were about: the domestic, very personal space of the back then newly established dominant middle class, portraying one of its most important innovations – privacy. Vuillard’s sceneries are populated, overflowing with a familiarity between the depicted and shown in the typically bourgeois arrangement that repulsed Walter Benjamin so much. Rade Petrasevic did not include the owner of the fictitious home, and how fitting, as the collector’s dwelling is distinct from its possessor: it is bigger than him, so to speak.
Casting thinly spread oil on canvas, he appears to have made the paintings with marker pen instead. Striking, clashing colours applied with frantic brush strokes reinforce the feeling that one is standing before a vast drawing, engulfing the beholder immediately. The magnetic allure might have to do something with making us feel much smaller than we are, as drawings usually come in a different size. Compelling the eye to move incessantly between the deftly placed botches of colour appearing seemingly random all over the painting and covering disruptively the already furious background, these still lifes are anything but still.
Text: Sandra Petrasevic