Milan Polić, predgovor u deplijanu, samostalna izložba kompjutorskih grafika, Medulin, "3mc", travanj 2015., organizacija MedulinArt
Milan Polić, scholar and artist
I got to know Milan Polić PhD as an expert and professor in the field of education. He used to teach Philosophy of Education at the Department of Educational Sciences, at the Juraj Dobrila University in Pula. I saw him as a contemporary scholar who, on the other hand, regularly dealt with students’ concerns, for example about the character of exam questions. He was one of the few who had all his lectures prepared in equivalent computer programs more than ten years ago. In the case of Professor Polić, one has to notice the course of the beginnings of his work in education and the unusual course of his promotion in education, which is rare in the real world of education in this country. Today, when we talk about Professor Polić, we think about the university professor. It is therefore no wonder or impossible to understand his involvement in the domain of modern art, computer graphics, that he used for the works of art in this exhibition, prepared by the association Medulin Art and its diligent members. Professor Polić was himself an active member of this large creative group.
To write about the works of Milan Polić and not mention Renato Percan, indicating their mutual support and permeation, would be futile and inappropriate, contrary to any civilized behaviour. Quantitatively, these two factors should probably be dealt with in equal measure. Just as Percan needed Polić, so was also vital to Polić. In their absolute understanding they were two colossuses of different professions. Some segments of their lives touched in synonymous experiences, of which they most probably were not aware until they got to know one another. During their acquaintanceship, Polić participated in the computer preparations and photographing of Percan’s numerous meticulous miniatures, that were displayed in public precisely thanks to him. I remember one such exhibition at the Home of Croatian Homeland War Veterans in Pula. The macro photographs on display were about some twenty color prints by Percan. I was there on the opening day. Through this analytically arranged presentation he sought to show the plentiful detail, patterns and situations between the characters, both contemporary and historical / ancient, that Percan dealt with while drawing with 0.1mm rapidograph pens, which were not visible to the naked eye on the original drawing without using a magnify glass. Some professionals (art historians and artists) considered such presentations of the artist's works inappropriate because they ignore the artist and promote the technical implementer (Polić)). If this were really true, then it would be appropriate today to criticize, ridicule, condemn and eventually even objectively misjudge all those art historians and their publishers for the many books written about the paintings of some ingenuous artists and their paintings, just because they dared to magnify some details to enable scrutiny of all the small parts painted miniaturistically, and for daring to ‘cut up’ parts of the paintings. Their intention was to analyze the work carefully, piece by piece, thoroughly, multidimensionally, from different angles. This is how creative art historians work, aware of the lack of canons of absolute mimesis. I cite mimesis here as the attitude according to which creative imitation of reality is the essence of artistic creation. For many centuries it was the rule for many theoreticians. Trained theorists of fine arts held resolutely to this rule. In an identical context Hegel used the term "repetition" (of reality) as false and in opposition to the essence of art. The thesis of the artist Paul Klee is along the same lines, who maintained that art does not repeat what is seen but makes the invisible visible, which is, to me, logical and close to my opinion. Finally, if this became an undeniable truth, in the turbulent 20th century and after the simultaneous occurrence of numerous ‘isms’, how is it possible then to analyze a complex work of art on a paper surface in just a few sentences, looking at it from some appropriate distance? It is impossible to analyze a painting with many details simply using the language of visual art and all its elements, without breaking it down into every possible smallest part.
Art criticism and the theory of art history could never have dealt with individual artists and epochs scientifically if they had not used a variety of techniques that helped grasp and explain the relationships between the characters in a picture. Moreover,, they explain the reasons for the different colours used for the painted parts and even characters, so that the symbolism of colour indicates the hierarchy of the persons on the social ladder. If this had not become a long-time practice used by the top experts, today we would probably still be using, let us call it Freudian, methods, in other words an under-layered, psychiatric and psychoanalytical way of analyzing the momentary, that is, only the mental state of the artists and their corpora delicti, evidence of their elementary prosaic works. Only with the advent of computers and 3D animation software at the end of the 20th century, was the photography of Raphael’s School of Athens converted into a three-dimensional reality, when it lost the characteristics of pure illusion on a flat surface. Only then did science manage to show what Raphael’s contemporary Bramante is drawing and whom he is connecting with lines on the horizontally placed tablet in the right-hand corner of the picture. Bramante is presenting Euclides or Archimedes to the students. Polić as a philosopher could not enter into the infinite depths of a thorough scientific analysis of Percan's works, because he would have needed the support of art historians, which he, obviously, did not have. For, if he had had it, his experiment might have resulted in a valuable book. Without experimentation, there is no progress. Accordingly,
we have no books except a few monographs in which no details have been processed. Maybe in the future there will be some younger generations of specialists who will elaborate Percan and his works carefully, scientifically and in detail.
As a philosopher who could always find a topic of conversation with Percan, be it about nymphs, Atlantis, Artemis, Poseidon, Epulon, Zeus, the kidnapping of women from Labin (probably an allusion to the Abduction of Europa), Othello, Penelope, the apocalypse or gorgeous beauties (these are Percan’s old motifs on drawings and paintings), he encountered a spirit-rich interlocutor and understood his works and art. He wanted to open people's horizons, altruistically, in relation to the artist of the drawings, believing he was neglected and ignored (perhaps unintentionally, also because of himself and the circumstances of life) in a materially rich tourist environment, that he was just a human who would not be able to create his masterpieces eternally. He felt that much more could be done with the material provided. He helped him in the technical part of the promotion, organization and realization, in everything he knew very well how to do.
Using photography and the computer as media, Polić himself began creating collages from pieces of photographs, photomontage, some new visuals, sometimes timidly playing with colour, changing the colour contrasts in the motifs of Medulin's landscapes and alleys, rare ancient town cottages, surrounded by winding narrow streets that probably owe their twisted, curved, straight and sharp lines to the Middle Ages. He tried to weave a bit of spirit into the environment in which he
lived and give this exterior environment an aura of importance. He touched the essence of the culture he lived in every day, the culture that witnesses and manifests itself in the modest, yet very important architecture of a limestone floor, a water-well, a retaining stone wall, or a finely molded stone cornice at the corner of an old picturesque family house. The other motives he often used in his graphics are the olive, which he adored, and the drywall. Until about sixty years ago the streets and roads in Medulin were not asphalted, as can be seen on old photographs. They were ridged with beautiful stone drywalls at the edges of lots. The arrival of tourism more than a hundred years ago, already during the Austrian monarchy, and especially after World War II, with the conversion of tourism into Medulin’s main economic sector, together with the new construction and architectural modifications with, usually, poorer and visually worse solutions, though more comfortable for dwelling (the roots of this architecture is to be found in Bauhaus design, although adjusted to the local tastes of designers), resulted in the demolition of many dry stone walls. Fortunately, the architects were aware of the need to maintain this distinctive cultural phenomenon and built new urban walls of slates, held together by mortar, where the old dry stone walls used to be. In the construction milieu, the term the "Medulin style of building small walls" developed. Not many have survived to the present day. In his graphics, Polić seems to evoke originality, the importance of conservation and evaluation of the cultural heritage, all, probably, because of his wish for spontaneous presentation of everything that is natural, pure, that has primordial values. Neither he as a philosopher, nor Percan as a skilled artist, had ever been attracted by the modern sporadic colourful buildings subservient to tourism, buildings without sufficient aesthetic potential and creative freedom in themselves. In this, I am sure, they agreed, because, if they had thought differently, their work would have shown it. The erudite Polić, during his brief stay in this small Medulin community, did a great deal. His artistic expression of an autodidact appears shyly, highlighting in his works the motifs known throughout eternity, a landscape, a portrait, an exterior (Porer, a sailing boat, the rough sea). The girl, on a sandy beach with an open umbrella and a huge modern passenger ship pointing towards the coastline, where lies an old, unusable car almost half-covered with sand, , is set in a powerful transverse composition imbued with tension, full of emotionally tragic tension, deliberately reinforcing the unrealistic contrasts of the motifs’ sizes. On this surface, in the top left-hand corner he inserts, by means of computer layering, a vortex of water giving this dramatically surrealistic situation a presentiment of some terrible event. Only occasionally he includes macro-photography of the iris of an eye in the composition. His works are characterized by spontaneously achieved surreal content elements and their combinations, furthermore, by playing with the different sizes of individual motifs, a full range of them, which are, according to their places on the surface, in the context and the way they are arranged, always explainable, and create the possibility of further creative thinking and inventing new scenarios by the observers. One of the few graphics that is, on the lower left-hand side, numbered 2/50, and has been called Rich History, which is written down the middle, and signed M.Pol ’11 in the bottom right-hand corner, is similar in character to the picture with playful wiggly lines, which remained from a black and white photo of an old abandoned stone house and surfaces painted with colours of the complementary spectrum. They seem playful, with a large percentage of green and red that touch in closed spaces, the intensity of which is alleviated by yellow, and originated spontaneously, so playful and dynamic. In the bottom right-hand corner, in the part where the compositional golden ratio can be determined with absolute precision, is a
rectangular entrance to a house, at the end of which part of a machine, a tractor from the past, is visible. The house looks pretty but faded. The computer graphics are signed with the author’s fingerprint in the lower left-hand corner, and with M. Pol. '04. or M. Pol.2013 and the year of origin in the lower right-hand corner. Through computer graphics, his works will be recorded in the reality of a setting where he performed with human sincerity, saying quietly: I was here.
PhD in ArtAleksandra Rotar