Meet Merima Ivković, HARTS member, artist and PhD student in philosophy who studies light as a starting point and path to the transcendental in art. Read where her fascination with the subject comes from, in which city for her “the sky is closer to the earth”, what it’s like to be an artist in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and why she believes that the artists at BHAAAS have a “platform for miracles”.
1. Your hometown is Mostar, and Herzegovinian landscapes and Herzegovinian stone are often motifs in your paintings. Is there a secret of Herzegovina that you discovered through your painting?
The discovery of my city as well as the climate began with great social and later physical transformations. In addition to the light that fascinated generations before, I was also caught by its opposite, the darkness, which, according to the law of nature, made that light and the struggle for it even more expressive, as well as the path for research. It was necessary to peel back layers and layers to uncover a clear thought and image.
At the beginning, abandoned houses emerged from my works, something closest to what one would call haunted houses, testimonies of suffering and pain. I later discovered that the symbol of the house for me ultimately represented identity and self. Over time and development, those houses grew more or less into installations and got their own inner light. Light as a secret and its distant reflection, which my predecessors from that climate found in the outside world, unlike me, developing their poetics in that direction.
2. You are currently working on a doctorate in philosophy and religious sciences in Zagreb. What is the topic and why did you choose it?
The topic is related to light, and it builds on the answer from the previous question that I have been developing for years, and this study offers me an excellent platform for research, the dedication of the professors, as well as a new perspective. Although at the very beginning my topic was related to matter, as the bearer of an idea, the mediator of artistic expression and the view of that matter which has countless faces, which is again conditioned by light as a basis. Light that is never the same, as a starting point and a path to the transcendental in art.
3. If you had a magic wand, what would you change first in BiH when it comes to art and its activities?
In my opinion, art follows the law of joined vessels of the same social anomalies, and we know that there are a lot of them in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It particularly bothers me that institutions become an end in themselves and not a service, which is primarily their task. Art is not encouraged and it becomes at the service of personal satisfaction or dissatisfaction, success is if it manages to touch higher spheres and standards. If the system is unhealthy, it stifles art, so I would use a magic wand to change the system.
4. You are a member of BHAAAS. How do you think members (artists, but also others) of BHAAAS can contribute to the development of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
Bringing people of different experiences and systems together can greatly contribute to new value and development. Joining increases energy, power and potential. When it comes to humane and high-quality profiles of people, there are no limits.
It’s just that that energy needs to be directed and kept on the right track. Something that Schopenhauer calls the Will and the driving force that must be channeled, otherwise it becomes a blind force that leads nowhere, and even worse is prone to lower urges and ultimately evil.
BHAAAS has potential, that is unquestionable, and I am sure that there are those who have a compass, can raise the sail and resist the storms, as well as those who will know how to recognize the direction and be helpful, with the hope and goal of creating a better future for this country.
There are also my fellow great artists who truly love this country, and thanks to BHAAAS they have an umbrella for orchestrated action and a platform for real miracles.
5. On a trip around the world, which place would you definitely not miss?
Paris is a place that I am always happy to return to and that left a deep mark on me, there were other interesting places that I visited, but Paris is the place where it seemed to me that the sky is closer to the Earth and that my ideas come true and materialize faster and easier .
Freedom, Unity and Brotherhood as the French motto has not yet lost its meaning, and in Paris I could feel it floating in the air. I hope that there will be more such places and fascinations in the future.
6. Are you particularly fond of professional success?
It was a long time ago, working with children without parental care in Mostar. To evoke the warmth and storm of creativity that these children possess was a special experience. To tear them away for a moment from the cruel world in which they found themselves. Through the workshops of developing creativity and love for nature in expanding awareness of universality, she made me especially happy at the level of a human and professional task.
Merima Ivković (1983) was born in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. She completed her studies in biology and chemistry at the Džemal Bijedić University in Mostar, where she also graduated in painting. She completed her master’s degree at the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo in 2012, from the Department of Painting, in the class of Professor Sead Musić.
Membership: Association of Fine Artists of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ULUBIH), Bosnia and Herzegovina-American Academy of Sciences and Arts in BiH (BHAAAS) and International Council for Museums of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ICOM).