a translation of the text from the catalogue:
From the Beginning
Ceramics came into Ivana Petan’s life when she already was on the path of being a social educator, working with youth. Through intensive work, and in a relatively short amount of time, this social pedagogue became an independent artist. In this period, she finished a three-year study of geomancy with Marko Pogačnik (Ljubljana, SLO) and received a Master’s degree in Philosophy of Visual Culture (Koper, SLO), focusing on the works of Martin Heidegger. All this – Ivana, who aims to contribute to the wholeness of the world, a geomancy worker who understands and cooperates with the intelligence of invisible dimensions of our reality, and a master of sciences who believes in free spirit and responsibility of every human being, each having her/his own space of creation – is holding a vast field, in which the travels and creations of Ivana Petan embody.
Expressed vastness is well reflected in the materials and firing techniques Ivana practices in her work. She uses different kinds of clay; terracotta, stoneware, paper clay, porcelain and paper porcelain, mixing them always in different ways, adding other organic materials. Her use of glazes is in traces or completely absent. She focuses on the clay as clay, on a naked tactility of living matter and its relationship with a touch. Firing techniques mostly practiced in her art installations are so called primitive techniques and raku technique, where real fire and collaboration with natural conditions set the final results. The combination of material and firing embody a breast, a uterus, a whale, an earth, a star, a tree, a seed, a heart in the head, letter signs and other clay touch shapes, to which in the last period Ivana began to add words. Ivana is taking a path of exploring the techniques of creation itself; each time from the beginning.
A new exhibition is a creation of a new being, in a certain space and time, born, tuned and supported by processes rising up from her awareness and her experience of the place and space of current involvement. The arousal of an inspiration, creation of ceramics, positioning of the installation, they all are building blocks of the process of the embodiment, which does not stand still during the exhibition, and constantly changes. The installation lives its own life, in connection and relation with broader spaces of inner and outer cosmos. There is something mutual, as a linking thread, that Ivana Petan has created up till now, in all of her exhibitions and ceramic installations: a creation of beings, each with their own unique mission.
Since an installation lives in a given moment in the visitor’s micro cosmos, it is she/he who acts as a border from which this information-installation receives a new dimension, and broadens even wider with and through each and every visitor. At this border, art as creation and life as such, start to be inseparable, both growing up from one and the same origin. It is the individual experience of every visitor alone that matters for the constant re-creation of the exhibition and as such is unique and irreplaceable a contribution for the embodiment of the subtle world, initiated through the hands of Ivana Petan.
Deeper encounters within the space of Hvar is something quite new for Ivana. Yet for a long time the Mediterranean has been a space for her special care and attention, as well as wishful openness for cooperation. Before Hvar, her creative actions were oriented toward the space of northern Greece and a Venice lagoon, from where sailing into Stari Grad Bay and exhibition opportunity in Stari Grad Museum appeared as a natural flow and continuation of her long-standing tendencies and preferences.
Tulips, opened seeds, and breasts of the earth, are three elements that encircle this exhibition. Essentially, they originate from the trinity of a life cycle: transformation, creative grounding and a new birth. As last themes of Ivana’s interest and evolution, although separated into two installations – tulips in outer space of Stari Grad Museum, breasts of the earth and opened seeds in its inner space – they form one rhythmic ring. With them, Ivana wishes to make visible a movement, a connection, or better, to show invisible but inseparable connectedness of dimensions which normally stand isolated and alone, one against another, most of the time in opposition.
The important appeal of all of Ivana’s installations, addressing the visitor, is not to stop and stand before the installation, as just visual observer with just a visual experience, but to take a challenge of one step forward, into the soul of the installation, and to take a liberty of a tactile, bodily experience of its elements. Her exhibitions are interwoven with invisible invitations to the freedom of touch, or as she puts it, “the clay is a tactile matter, and only through the touch, its essence is fully felt and its words are fully heard”. This silent call stays more than true for this exhibition as well.
Ivana Petan (1974, Zagreb), master of sciences, as independent artist lives and works in Ljubljana, SLO. The intertwine of ceramics and geomancy describes the best her primal field of work.