My Own Unknown
A solo exhibition of photography and video works by Dragana Jurisic
Winner of the Emerging Visual Artist Award 2014
In association with Wexford County Council and the Arts Council
Monday 15th February – Saturday 12th March 2016
You are invited to an opening reception on Saturday 13th February at 3pm with guest speaker Artist Alanna O’Kelly.
Wexford County Council and Wexford Arts Centre are pleased to present My Own Unknown, a new exhibition of photography and video work by Dragana Jurisic, winner of the Emerging Visual Artist Award 2014. The exhibition will run from 15th February to 12th March at Wexford Arts Centre.
The Emerging Visual Artist Award is a joint initiative between the Arts Council, Wexford County Council and Wexford Arts Centre which acknowledges and supports the development of committed visual artists in Ireland, providing funding to produce and exhibit a body of work.
Working primarily through the medium of documentary photography, Jurisic’s work has been described as emotional, frank, autobiographical and honest, often focusing on the notion of exile and its impact on memory and identity. Her most recent body of work, YU: The Lost Country (2013) was originally conceived as ‘a recreation of a homeland that was lost’, that homeland being Yugoslavia, the country in which Jurisic was born and which disintegrated in 1991. Images in this series capture melancholy and a sense of place that only an artist with an emotional connection to the subject could achieve. In YU Jurisic retraced the steps of prolific Anglo-Irish writer, Rebecca West, as outlined in her book, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (1941), attempting to ‘re-examine the conflicting emotions and memories of the country that was’, through photography and text, identifying what felt so familiar but yet very distant. Jurišić’s work resonates truthfully, transcending the documentary genre and encourages viewers to consider their own memories and identity. A distinct emotional charge, empathy and a quest for her past continues to run throughout her new work, and permeates this exhibition in Wexford Art Centre. And through her exploration of the statement once uttered by John Keats, ‘beauty is truth, truth beauty, that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know’, Jurisic’s work questions just how well we can know anyone including ourselves.
My Own Unknown incorporates a deeply personal story involving Jurisic, her Aunt and a young woman who died in the late 19th century, l’Inconnue de la Seine, whose body was allegedly recovered from the River Seine and whose death mask was cast in a bid to identify her. While the exhibition is shrouded in politics of place and painful memories of exile it also speaks of Jurisic’s family history and that of her aunt, who is thought to have assumed many roles in her life – a saviour, a lover, a sex worker and a spy. This woman represented another life for Jurišić, one removed from her childhood home which she felt was overwhelmingly restrictive. Her aunts’ death would remain as elusive as her life, veiled in mystery and secrecy, as was l’Inconnue de la Seine’s, whose face would become the muse of great artists and endure to epitomise the very idea of natural beauty. To Jurisic, ‘her image speaks of a profound relationship between beauty and artistic endeavour, between ‘worshipping the image’ and the notion of truth’.
Dragana Jurisic was born in SlavonskiBrod, Croatia (then Yugoslavia). She is currently based in Dublin, Ireland. She has won a number of awards and exhibited widely both in Ireland and abroad. In 2008, Jurisic completed a Masters in Fine Art at the University of Wales, Newport, receiving a distinction for her work. In 2009, she was selected as an Axis MAstar, “an annual selection of the most promising artist from the UK’s leading MA courses”. In 2013 she obtained a PhD at the European Centre for Photographic Research, Wales. In 2014, Jurisic received a Special Recognition from Dorothe Lange & Paul Taylor Award, Duke University.
For further information on the artist, exhibition or the Emerging Visual Art Award please contact Catherine Bowe, Visual Arts Manager, Wexford Arts Centre, Cornmarket, Wexford on +353 (0)53 91 23764 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, contact Philip Knight, Staff Officer, The Arts Department, Wexford County Council, Carricklawn, Wexford on +353 (0)053 9196500 or email email@example.com.