Kristina Kinkela Valčić, Ivana Egic, and Jelena Čolić on “Premier”

Abdullah Ezik


The group exhibition titled “PREMIER”, produced and directed by Burcu Çığır and Cenk Çığır; co-produced by Belgrade Šumart Association Founding President Jelena Simic (MSc) and Program Director Professor Nenad Peric, met with the audience recently in Istanbul, Turkey. The exhibition, in which many important international artists took part, brought together many international names, especially in the fields of painting, sculpture, and photography, for the first time.

Abdullah Ezik talked with the artists Kristina Kinkela Valčić, Ivana Egic, and Jelena Čolić, who were in Turkey for the first time, with the “Premier” exhibition held at Art Gallery 1881 recently.

Abdullah Ezik: You are meeting with the audience for the first time in Istanbul. On the other hand, this exhibition has the distinction of being the first exhibition held at Gallery 1881. How does this new experience mean to you?

Kristina Kinkela: I have to admit, I’m in love with Istanbul. It’s cultural heritage, history, architecture and it’s city vibes in generall inspired me for creating art piece for Premier manifestation. Exhibiting in Istanbul for the first time is kind of dream come true but exhibiting in a new gallery, among some great artists, which chose my work for premiere opening is more than flattering. 

The event and mission of the gallery itself has great meaning for establishing regional art market. 

Kristina Kinkela Valčić

Ivana Egic: I can say that this was a really great honour for me to exhibit at this art event “Premier” as part of the Balkan Art Market (BAM) project. It is a great opportunity for me to be seen and to experience the audience in a country that cherishes art and has a strong cultural and national identity.

Having over 400 visitors visited the exhibition in 2 days, I think it is a great confirmation to the organizers about the success of the project, the Serbian art association Šumart and Art Gallery 1881, as well as for us artists. I hope that this International exhibition is only the first in a series and that the Balkan Art Market project will continue to develop and that the exhibition will move to other cities and countries of the Balkans.

Jelena Čolić: This was an exciting experience. I am honored to show my work in Istanbul alongside some great Balkan artists. Gallery 1881 is a new gallery and already successful so I am really pleased to be part of this “Premier”. 

Abdullah Ezik: How did you manage the process with Art Gallery 1881 for this international exhibition?

Kristina Kinkela: I was invited by the ŠumArt association and my fellows art professionals from Belgrade and I was immediately interested to participate in such important international manifestation. I find very important to co-exist with the environment and this event pays attention to connecting regional artists with each other but also with the regional art collectors.

The Art Gallery 1881 and ŠumArt presented and realized this event in very professional way and I’m very honored to be a part of it. 

Ivana Egic: It all started with the application to the open call for artists to exhibit at this art event. I sent a picture of my work “She and he” and passed the selection. I participated in this exhibition virtually, and my work was displayed for 2 days on a video beam on the central wall of the gallery.

Ivana Egic

Jelena Čolić: I follow the SumArt association and learned about their project “Premier” with Gallery 1881 which seemed very . They did a really great job organizing this exhibition and uniting artists from the Balkan and I am sure that there is just more to come. 

Abdullah Ezik: What is your main motivation and thought that enables you to bring to light both your work in this exhibition and your productions in general?

Kristina Kinkela: Considering the fact that the art is such a powerful tool for making changes I support art that points up social, ecological, political and other existential problems. At the same time, there should be art that makes your life more beautiful and art that runs your imagination in unpredictable ways. If my art have that kind of impact on observers my hart is full and it keeps me motivated to create more but I would say that myidentity and inner states are crucial motivators. For me, creating process is the state of ultimate feeling of freedom with an almost healing effect but it is also a need I have to satisfy.

Ivana Egic: While working, I am engrossed and surrender to the painting process. I let the process itself guide me. What I want to show are my thoughts, my attitude and my feelings about the chosen subject through the stroke of the brush and the expression of colours.

Jelena Čolić: I found inspiration usually in landscapes or still life. Observing nature from far or approaching very close to some object makes my mind still and contemplative and sometimes strokes of inspiration happen and it feels as if some other, (hidden) space emerge. That is something that I try to capture. 

It is a search for the sublime in nature, especially in my series “Desert and Nile” where I am trying to show the mystical  side of Sudanese landscapes.  

In the work “Deconstruction, still life” that is exhibited,  I observed space within still life (fruits).  I “deconstructed”, abstracted the real form and left only “vibration” (of fruits)… Rytm, energy… 

Jelena Čolić
Jelena Čolić

Abdullah Ezik: Considering that you are meeting with the audiences in Turkey for the first time, I would like to examine the general thoughts: How would you elaborate and express your understanding of art and production practices?

Kristina Kinkela: In my latest painting edition I create abstract imaginary landscapes, leastwise I like to call them like that because they remind me of some kind of harmonious landscapes. They are not inspired by nature – they arise directly from my emotional states into visual form. Visually they evolve from multiple, more or less transparent, layers of paint and other media that I use. The entire creating process is very intuitive and intimate, and I love to let myself go with the flow.

Also, I ‘m constantly exploring new techniques and medias but at the moment I use mostly acrylics with addition of various materials. I believe that perfection is in process not in the result and I truly enjoy creating something new.

Ivana Egic: In my painting, I mostly deal with the depiction of the human body. The main motif in my work is the naked female body, and I explore female beauty and strength through painting techniques. Through the depiction of female nudity in the story and in my work, eroticism and sensuality are emphasized, but here there is no lack of attitude, feelings or the state in which the woman is. My paintings are characterized by colour and expressiveness, and they are painted mainly in the acrylic technique. I apply the colour with a suggestive stroke of the brush that gives an insight into the entire spectrum of emotional states. In the segments, there are recognizable impressions of contemporary nudism, but also heroic archetypes of the Amazons that express the diversity of women.

My paintings are a kind of ode to the strength of the female body and the female persona in full.

Jelena Čolić: I would say that for me personally creating art is a form of prayer, seeking beyond the physical world… And artwork should be such that inspire viewers.

Abdullah Ezik: We’re in bad times in Turkey at the moment. Since 1900s, as you know, a lot of things happened in the world, in Balkanland, in Middle East. Also we have a lot of global problems now. As an artist, what does it mean for you to meet with the audience in such difficult times like now?

Kristina Kinkela: I believe that there is never perfect moment. I speek for myself; I always felt the world in very sensitive way. I rised with my environment and it influenced on me deeply. As I already mentioned, art is very powerful toll for making changes. We have that toll in our hands and we have to keep on working no matter what and make the best out of the bad. Meet the audience in these challenging times is our reward.

Ivana Egic: I consider this exhibition to be a great success and I sincerely hope that this project will continue to develop and that artists will be able to meet the public more often. As you mentioned, hard times have hit the whole world and currently, it is difficult for artists to reach the audience, that is, it is difficult for the audience to decide to invest in art, but in fact, art is what we cannot live without. Art is food for our soul and with art, we develop personally and culturally.

Jelena Čolić: I pray for the people of Turkey and Syria to recover! Also  for people all over the world, affected by catastrophes, wars, poverty, disease, hunger… In these challenging times when the world is struggling economically, health wise, ecologically … When technology is rising and the morall is declining, when our telephones are smart and we are becoming plastic I think that art can be of great help. We can use art to raise awareness, to raise charity and to raise our voice, to ask questions… Art can help us question ourselves, our values. Art can inspire us. So this event is an opportunity to unite, to share and to start the change…