The Dissolution of Ink and Pencil: Foreign Bodies by Vesna Jovanovic

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Subtle protrusions of intravenous nails, a moth nesting in the cavity of an inner wall, peas sprouting from the heart, a breast implant sitting against the soft tissue, and battery caps bouncing off a lung are some visual oddities found in Vesna Jovanovic’s “Foreign Bodies” project.

The foreign objects are subtle and playful. They blend into the organs so seamlessly that without the indicative title of each piece, a sharp eye, or intermediate anatomical understanding, they might easily be brushed over as parts of the human body.

Vesna Jovanovic, a Chicago based artist with a background in visual art and chemistry, describes her process as a series of layered questions. “When is something a foreign body? What is the ontological different between a foreign body and a familiar body? Is something only a foreign body when it is undesirable?” and “If something can be described as foreign, is the familiar always clear?”

“Foreign Bodies” builds upon a train of thought developed through Jovanovic’s previous work ,which also used pencil and ink blots to explore similar questions regarding the human body and its relation to the world. Her pieces depict the heart’s veins twisting into shrubs, the church’s ceiling vault mimicking a ribcage, and gadgets, wheels, and tubes protruding and invading the boundary imposed by the human form.

In this project, she dissolves the boundaries between human and environment, and inside and outside. She pushes through each ones severed confinement by lodging objects inside the human organs and overlaying them with ink and meticulous shading. The “Foreign Bodies” blend into and become a part of the private human landscape.

For more on Vesna’s process, visit her blog Traces.


Ellen Xie

A native of Bethel, CT, Ellen attended Vassar College for a degrees in Environmental Studies and English. www.ellenguanlee.wordpress.com

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