"I am a maniac", Pierre Klossowski, philosopher, writer, artist and much more, once wrote. "Every one of my works, whatever it may be, has obsession as its origin." An opinion that, in an altered existential-social melange, ought to apply to Rade Petrasevic as well. Both artists confront the body, both under the conditions of its integrity as well as that of mutilation, they negotiate the presence and absence of the erotic and the mysteries of secrets and violence. In two works by Klossowski in the context of this exhibition, gently dabbed on and in delicately bleached out coloration, can be seen Roberte, his cipher for the enigmatic female, upon whom lust is imposed and who replicates it with silence.
Here, the notion of the artist that "the coition always involves the concept of evil" is instantiated. Another drawing bears the title, "Socrate interrogeant le jeune Charmide" and shows the head of the philosopher between the legs of the young man near his genitals – a little like the severed head of John the Baptist that is served to Salome on a silver tray.
Klossowski's statement that "the forms of the sensual emotions betray an equally secret as well as tragic relationship to the anthropomorphic appearance of the economy and of exchange," is taken up and further declined by Rade Petrasevic, although with different artistic means of representation and with another narrative. In his new works that enter into a dialogue with Klossowski, the palette is substantially reduced in comparison with earlier, more colour-intensive works. A few tones dominate, sometimes red, sometimes blue, sometimes green against a black or reddish-purple background. In terms of motif, Petrasevic partially remains true to still life, whereby in the objects arranged on tables sometimes vanitas memorabilia such as skulls and severed feet are mixed in. Other images display black bodies accomplished in large strokes – whereby here black does not imply a racial attribution, but is instead a coloristic manner that insinuates a 'noir' tinge that is to be understood as completely metaphorical. Without expressing this explicitly, the fetishisation of the body resonates here:
In its variation between submission, vulnerability and casual nonchalance, it becomes currency and an emblem with which a symbolic exchange could be consummated. An oscillation- and hallucination game between sex, satire, pain and deep significance, which both artists bring into a scenographic representation, each with their own means. Or in the words of Klossowski: "As a simulacrum, the phantasma is capable of procreation."
(Thomas Miessgang, 2020, translated by Sarah Cormack)