All gods and devils that have ever existed ... they are all within us, as possibilities, as wishes, as ways out.

Hermann Hesse, Demian

The disclosure of internal conflicts that compose the complex human nature is the focus of the new series of drawings by the young Belgrade artist Vladimir Lalić. Approaching the visual by duplicating the principles of psychoanalysis, the artist desires to bare and then correctly reassemble the internal self of man. The thematic foundation of Lalić’s expressive drawings with suggestive titles is the portrait, as a symbol of the human character and therefore, as the essential means of recognition in human interactions.

The artist achieves the multi-layered representation with a thorough analysis of form which he enriches with a multitude of symbols taken over from personal iconography. In a somewhat brutal search for characteristic contents he offers human nature to observation and intentionally rejects the diverse façades of personality. Multiplied eyes, stylized parts of the innards, hands, feet, genitals are recognized as symbolic carriers of the meaning. By nailing the key figures to the surface, the artist preserves them in the framework of the displayed representation, thus revealing his intention to make an allegorical vivisection of each segment of the character. Representations of insects and animals evoke certain patterns of behaviour that can be found with people as well, in diverse situations. The artist denotes the behaviour of man with the fly, a dirty insect and transmitter of infections, flying in swarms towards the unclean and rotten. This kind of thinking reveals a critical position towards the ethically sunken and spiritually impoverished society; however, this should not be understood as the primary goal of Lalić’s researches. He first of all aspires towards the truth, which he expresses rationally and without embellishment.

Vladimir Lalić is a graphic artist by education, but he demonstrates a significant talent for drawing and remains true to the line as the basic means of expression. The drawings from this series are marked by a strong energetic charge, achieved with a careful structuring of the composition. Through a kind of controlled lineal explosion the artist emits the emotion which reflects his intimate experience of the analysed object. Anatomically deformed figures and numerous motifs overlapping in conjunction with the texture frequently acquire quite new visual characteristics and thus become new signifiers of the meaning, of other faces, other persons. And it is those additional figures that underline the duality or multiplicity, of the human nature the artist wants to display integrally. Every man carries an undefined number of masks, and each of them consists of a number of segments, some of which, or even the majority he does not want to share with the world. Still, those masks are the very aspects the author of this series considers to be important, because the essential recognition of a personality can be obtained only if they are observed together.

In the whirlpool of constitutive parts of a human being and the symbols of his character, human nature is completely bared, offered to examination and scrutiny. As in an encyclopaedia, parts are connected to the margin with lines expecting to be endowed with meanings, while separated and over enlarged eyes communicate directly with the observer, provoking nervousness and the feeling of being exposed.

By analysing the human character to constitutive simulacra, the artist explains his position that only by knowing himself one can achieve internal wholeness. It is interesting that he compares man with the book which everyone would like to write according to his or her personal perceptions, but no one really wishes to read it in its entirety. Because of that, Vladimir Lalić intends to leaf through that book – or encyclopaedia – patiently, in front of our eyes, because the inconvenience produced by confrontation with one’s own self is not as unbearable as conformist existence in the role allotted to us by somebody else.

Ana Bambić – 2013.