THRUST PROJECTS is pleased to announce the exhibition Jelena Tomasevic, Joy of Life II.


For Immediate Release

Jelena Tomasevic
Joy of Life II
Opening Sunday, January 22nd: 6 – 9 pm
January 22 – March 14, 2006

Reality under the stuffy cover of “art”… No trick cheeky enough, no exciting techniques, no effects strong enough… (JT)

Thrust Projects is thrilled to present a solo exhibition of new work by Jelena Tomasevic, opening Sunday, January 22, 2006 through March 14, 2006. Entitled Joy Of Life II, the show is the suite to Joy of Life, a series of paintings exhibited in the Serbia/Montenegro Pavilion at the 51st Venice Biennial.

Jelena Tomasevic’s twenty or so paintings of figures, interiors, and architectural models are taken from her personal photographic archive, magazines, and newspapers. The canvases, each approximately 28 x 35 inches, are hung flat on the wall, and the effect is an installation of individual storyboards. Influenced by film directors such as Jean-Luc Goddard and Lars Van Trier, these paintings Tomasevic explain, emphasize the human need for the meaning of life, whatever it may be.

Intimate interior scenes of home are placed adjacent to figures strolling outside; in one image a man with an electrical cord around his neck is joined by a woman staring nonchalantly out at the viewer. Death and life, violence and humor, joy and sadness exist in a new, sometimes sinister and engaging reality.

Jelena Tomasevic is part of a new generation of artists from Montenegro/Serbia, a region undergoing reconstruction after being heavily marked by war and political turmoil. Born in 1974 in Podgorica, Montenegro, she graduated from the School of Fine Arts, Cetinje, Montenegro. Her work been has been shown in several museums: the Kunstalle Fridericianum Kassel, Germany, with In the Gorges of the Balkans, Il Bienal de Jafre, Jafre (Girona), Spain, and the Kuenstlerhaus Bethanien Berlin, Germany, with Montenegrin Beauty.

In addition, there will be a panel discussion on artists emerging from the former Yugoslavia with Jovana Stokic, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University and guest speaker Catherine Karl, curator of the Drawing Center, New York, Thursday, January 26 from 6:30 - 8:30 pm. For further information, please contact us at 212 431 4802 or The gallery is located at 114 Bowery between Grand and Hester on the 3rd floor. Hours: Wednesday through Sunday from 12 - 6 pm.


Tomasevic's little figurative pieces--hardly "paintings" in the strict sense of the word--combine acrylic and Sellotape on canvas. Widely spaced, they punctuate brushily textured dark gray walls in staggered rows to form a wraparound installation. Tomasevic's room is one component of the Serbia and Montenegro pavilion, in which two other artists contribute as well; the overall presentation is titled "The Eros of Slight Offence."
Tomasevic's images are, indeed, as stated in the catalogue by the commissioner of the pavilion, "of the order of 'modest trespasses' ... that penetrate unexpected places." These precisely drawn vignettes have something of the cartoon about them, although the humor is low-key, scarcely adumbrated. In one, a handsome, bearded older man, a famous intellectual, perhaps, is shown in half-length close-up with his head in the grip of a giant pair of pliers that draws blood; the handles of the pliers are bright yellow, the blood red; all else is black and white or grisaille. A young woman photographer, much more delicately sketched, snaps a picture in the background. In another image, a seductive female in a strapless dress lies on a couch under a large lamp hanging by a cord above her, while the right side of the image is blocked off by what seems to be a wall and pavement. It is difficult to describe the effect of these paintings, or to say how their memorable strangeness is achieved; yet they have remained in my head ever since I saw them.
Excerpt from Linda Nochlin, “AD 2005”, Art in America, September 2005