Jelena Papovic was born in Cetinje in 1975.She graduated at the Academy of Fine Arts in Cetinje, Department of Painting. Her solo shows took place in Sombor, Sveti Stefan, Kotor, Podgorica and Budva and participated in many exhibitions. She is a member of the Association of Fine Artists of Montenegro since 1999.

1-How did the process of your visual training develop since the Academy?
I was very lucky to obtain a working space just upon graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts. Most students prolong their exams because of the uncertainty – whether they will be in a position to continue their art researches after the Academy. It is common sense, as a scientist needs his laboratory, a painter, graphic artist and a sculptor need a working space.
It was a little bit strange in the beginning to accept the fact of being the only person in the working space and being responsible for every move that I make. Only then starts the process of training which is in fact, fun but sometimes difficult.

2-A new series of paintings was recently presented in Kotor under the name “Me, Myself and I”.What is the main idea?
Lately I gave myself the freedom to wander so the exhibited paintings were stylistically inconsistent. Nevertheless, the paintings have something in common - me! I earlier avoided to represent a human face in paintings but the major part of my work on this exhibition are self – portraits. I am free to experiment...

3-What does the human figure present?
I think that at first I want to present the state of mind. That's the reason I avoid giving them an identity. I try to present strengths,weakness, happiness, sorrow, love, confusion with body movement and movement of the brush...

4-Do you think that you underlined the cycle “Me, Myself and I”?
Cycles are in art only concentric circles that move and overlap, or spirals...When I exhibit my work, the reaction of the observers is what counts.

5-When does an artist know when a cycle is completed, that his work is ready to be exposed to the audience?
An artist never knows, as he never knows where the idea came from or what leads his hand while painting. Of course, some rules in art exists but the feeling...sometimes you don't recognize the movement to stop. Then you start from the beginning.

6-How does your process of creating look like, what's your lead?
I am always encouraged by something else. The hardest of all is to forget everything and start something new. The same thing can be expressed in many ways, I think how experiment in art is necessary. Being attached to a certain thing is not what I like. Visible and invisible boundaries should be overlooked, if they at all exist in art!
Sometimes I need tranquility and sometimes I need chaos around me (or within me) in order to upstart new work.

7-Is sometimes the canvas too small for a certain idea?
If you know what you want,a small peace of paper is just enough for you to express your idea or feeling. From the other side, living at the seaside and gazing into the infinity of time, I own all the time of the world. Of course, that is the time when I get lost in the game and move from the canvas to the wall behind the easel. What is then a painting on the canvas – a guide mark!

8-What is the relation between the idea and visual moment?
Whatever we see and everything happening to us is inside us. Even someone else's dream that we heard. How the idea finds its place on the paintings is very hard to determine.

9-Are you inspired by other forms of art?
Of course. The best thing is when different creators are developing the same idea. It is a great fulfillment and brings them joy. I believe, the one standing beside such a painting has a special feeling.

10-What is your opinion of Collective Expositions?
It is very interesting and risky at the same time. It is necessary to find out how you fit beside someone else so such kind of expositions have to be well organized, especially to have a reason for making such a selection.

11-Your opinion of art criticism?
The same as their opinion of me. Either they ignore me or they simply do not know that I exist...?

12-Are there changes since your first exhibition till “ Myself, Me and I?
The Mediterranean simply makes me young, drags its colors into my work. Jugo sinks the painting and bura crystallizes it. As a broken part of a rock that the sea transform into a pebble, maybe I reach some clear, sophisticated form that I am searching for.

13-What are you preparing currently, what kind of questions are occupying your mind?
There is a difference between what I am thinking of and what will I prepare. The first reason is that certain ideas require investments (art is here a very expensive hobby not a profitable business) and the second reason is that, as I start working something draws me to the other side and opens some new questions. So I just forget what did I want in the first place.

Author: Ana Miljanic