“The sunset was coming: a deep and almost physical blue sky seemed to be painted above the wall. After a while you would have realized that it was the vacuum of infinite sky. It was the continuous alternation between two opposites, the physical and the vacuum.

The most impressive experience was just about to come, when the slit in the wall started to be filled up with the colours of the sunset. It was an incredible vision, a sequence of emotions more and more intense. It was like if we were looking at the sunset for the first time. I have always loved the sunset; I like to sit still, watching until the colours vanish and the night comes.”1

Sometimes it comes to my mind.

I haven’t experienced it, however sometimes it comes to my mind and it is as if I had been with Giuseppe and Rosa Giovanna Panza di Biumo siting on the ground, on pillows, at James Turrell’s house in Santa Monica, discovering the colours of the sunset and the power of the light, silently looking westwards through a slit in the wall. A silence, I guess, that couldn’t cancel the sounds of the city, the interference of the urban noise, as it happens in Michael Snow’s Wavelenght2, where the sometimes sudden and sometimes gradual changes of his imprecise zoom converge in forty-five minutes towards a photo of waves hung on the wall. I wonder if even the windows panes in Snow’s film, as well as the closing image and the chromatic leaps, have influenced the structure of Lidija Delic’s Sunset journeys. Nourished by Tacita Dean and Olafur Eliasson3, the project may also contain this suggestion, since her work is like veiling of personal memories and external influences, of someone else’s journeys, exotic destinations, painted and photographed skies and sunglasses worn not to be dazzled and then, all at once, taken off because it is dark, you cannot read, you cannot write, night has come.



Lidija Delic has started to paint her sunsets from postcards and photographs. Postcards that she has bought but never written nor sent, maybe in the attempt to keep a memory that could be lost if entrusted to the post office or to someone else’s hands. Photographs that she has taken in Montenegro, her homeland. However, neither the time of camera exposure nor the time of vision have been able to seize the experience. So, here are the painting, the colour, the seven layers for the background, the five layers for the sun and its reflection on the sea. In the middle, between a level and another, time is necessary to dry the oil, to decant memory, to get away from it. Adding a new brush-stroke means moving away from personal experience, covering it in order to entrust it to others, as it happens with those never sent postcards. When one is completed, she passes on to the next, which cannot be the same as the previous one and nor could it be better or worse but just something else, another day, another journey, another sunset. Repeating things helps, the old Latin motto supports the artist.

Seriality has been with Lidija Delic’s work for a long me: it is found in Seascapes sequences of marbles (2015), in A landscape of lakes and butterflies (2015), in Diving (2015), in Interspace (2016), where the idea of fragmentation and recombination recalls the cinematographic sequences on one hand and, on the other hand, the earliest photographic experiments. After all, the recurring silhouette of someone diving, the water opening and spurting, rippling the surface4, are nothing but a prefiguration of the sun reflected on the sea in these sunsets. In spite of being closely connected to her previous works, the Sunset journeys series comes from a well-defined moment: the fortuitous finding by the artist of a logbook inside the shipping company Jugooceanija headquarters in Kotor, Montenegro. Here comes the idea of representing idyllic visions of tropically coloured sunsets, with a short cap on cancelled by a white line, on the front of those pages, full of very precise data about navigation trend, duties, imports and exports. The hinged diptych structure allows to flip through the pages and read on the verso what is hidden on the recto. Thus, words and image are not available at the same me, despite the memory of one affects the reading of the other, as it had already happened in Los Perros Romanticos5, lost in translation between Roberto Bolaño and the Serbian language.
In the evolution of Sunset journeys, this missed correspondence between image and caption, that owes to Marcel Broodthears6, frees the artwork from the textual part and leaves it pure colour. The artist gets away from desiring to suggest the observer a narration and merely bears evidence of a possible story, a journey made or dreamt, whose description can be read and forgotten and so rewritten by anyone. Aware of the impossibility to identify a universal constant in front of the same show, sunsets, prototype of an individual experience and its infinite configurations, become a “methodological and personal parabola”7 that turns a natural, concrete, physical reference into an image on the edge of abstraction. They become a reflection on memory, on the dyscrasia and dysphoria caused by the relationship between time of vision and time of representation, that can be resolved only in the black of night or in the white of the sheet: in the installation (Postcards, 2017) it is completely drowned by colour, while in the papers (Sunset I, Sunset II and Sunset III) the image floats in it. Thus, the background is both full presence and absence of light, then again it presents itself as empty paper where messages of non-sent postcards can be written.

In Postcards, the trajectory, simultaneously horizontal and vertical, changes continuously, allowing an interpretation on at the same time syntactic and paratactic; meanwhile the vision becomes dynamic in the eye of the observer, where the mutability and variety of the show, whose entity is nothing but a trace in the painted image, are thus recreated. The speed of transformation makes sunset a symbol of the evanescent essence of colours and shapes8. If the bright tones of Lidija Delic’s papers conceal this twilight, the way they are realized contains the awareness of a failure, the same told in Claude Lévi-Strauss’s Tristes Tropiques9: the attempt to stop me, made by the anthropologist through the written word, by the artist through the painting, evanescent shapes and colours and by the research to keep, dilate and share the memory of an event that gets lost when it is over. After all, “does such a thin memory deserve me to take a piece of paper and write it down?”10.



1 Giuseppe Panza, Ricordi di un collezionista, Milano, 2006, pp. 149-150.

2 Michael Snow, Wavelenght, 1967.

3 Par cularly to be referred to Film by Tacita Dean (Tate Modern, London, 2011-2012) and The Weather Project by Olafur Eliasson (Tate Modern, London, 2003).

4 In Lidija Delic, Seascapes, 2015; Lidija Delic, Diving, 2016; Lidija Delic, Un tled (Interspace), 2016, respec vely.

5 Lidija Delic, Los Perros Roman cos, 2016.

6 Among others, Marcel Broodthears, Chère Pe te Soeur, 1972; Marcel Broodthears, Le Mauritania, 1972; Marcel Broodthears, Ba- teau-Tableau, 1973.

7 Maria Pia Pozzato, Mito e parabola. La descrizione del tramonto in “Tristes Tropiques”, Palermo, 1993, p. 23.

8 A not yet realized project by Lidija Delic well describes this process of decomposi on: an orange transparent box contains a postcard immersed into the water; the water makes the message gradually illegible un l the paper decomposes.

9 Claude Lévi-Strauss, Tris Tropici, Milano, 2015, pp. 52-59.
10 Ivi, p. 11.





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