MARKO MODIC  
     
 
 
     
     
 



 
  In 1976, on Srednji Vrh, my father gave me a Practica, model 4, and the first film I made with it was already a montage. The first film I developed I immediately cut into pieces, and turned into a collage. That's how it started. Out of colour slides I then made black and white photos so they became negatives. A funny story. Then I worked in black and white for a couple of years, taking photos of cave explorers for instance, twisting their faces which gave weird forms. With the very first film I was already into collages. The photo wasn't enough, I had to intervene. Before I even took a good photo I was already complicating things. I never went for a series of photographs, but straight into experimentation. The dark room, developing photos myself... Nobody ever taught me anything. I was going to be a photographer – that's it.

Then ... Skiing, extreeme stuff, climbing. Masses of photos came out of our excursions into the mountains, caves, diving expeditions, colonies, you name it. But what emerged were not documentary photos but more conceptual fits. The American environment … many photographers think that by going to the States everything's interesting, so you take shots of anything from dustbins to god-knows-what, because you've never seen it before and it's a new world to you. After a couple of years, when you look back at the photos you realize not every dustbin or coca-cola sign was a necessity. On the other hand, it's fascinating the way a new place, unknown to you, a first-time experience, can open your eyes. For me it was prima vista in the same way it was prima vista when I started to play the guitar. I wasn't interested in getting a score absolutely right, or perfecting the technique, but I was more interested in getting through the music, getting the first chords, however imperfect, and then getting through to the end of the song. With photography it's the same. You see something and you strike, like a snake. Neither do you return to the place itself, nor do you say, next time, because there's no next time, it's just that first shot. If a concept is at stake, though, then it's different. Some things you simply notice, observe, others you conceptualize, reworking it in one direction or other. The eye, yes, absolutely. The eye and light. That's probably all that matters in photography. Every day there was something new. On Monday we went into the caves, got back on Wednesday to go climbing on Thursday. Three days later we went diving, came back, went skiing to Vesuvius, into the crater. Parents were going crazy, not knowing whether we'll come back. Unintentionally, we put them through hell. But we were having a fantastic time. All of which was, well, fertile ground for my art. This was the basis, accumulating, without my even knowing it.

I went to Ecuador, and to Galapagos for a while and to the jungle. That's when I began to paint, so it was no longer just photos. I was painting clean forms, nature the way I saw it, but alongside this, I was also taking photo montages. I also began writing texts and diaries, so it was all very intense. Every day was totally full. It was amazing, but more like a whirlwind, like a tornado sweeping through. You are in the eye of it, so you don't get too badly hurt, leaving behind a trail of images.

Performances were like solo acts, linked with music and projections. 90 percent of my performances tended to be projections, 10 percent was action I conjured for a particular event, sometimes in ten seconds. Projection where? In London? For whom? For so and so. I came up with a scenario and made it happen. Whether a chainsaw or a coffee grinder as background or whatever. It was a performance. Everything was an excuse for something else. It must have looked as though you were never satisfied, always trying out the next thing, but this was the only way I could put together my stories. I mean with every photo I tried to reach perfection, but what also mattered was everything around it, how it came together. Maybe I didn't understand this then. Then it was just plain coming together. If you lead an eventful life, you can throw together interesting things and do them. A dynamic way of life is the mother, or a platform for artistic creativity. I didn't think of this in theoretical terms then, it was just happening. It's easy to do this now, looking back, but then it was – elementary, totally.

What you are seeing is possibly something you've never seen before. I am privy to a world I myself hadn't seen before it emerged through the lens or I put it down on the canvas. But I'm convinced that what I write, draw, photograph or put together into three-dimensional paintings, objects, sculptures or what you will, is one and the same thing, entirely. All the three worlds I've been experiencing over the years are in themselves very precise. My photos are hyper precise. My paintings are very precisely ordered. It's not as though I would allow one thing to surprise me, no, it's all completely controlled. Not so much rationally, but it emerges in itself, already cleansed. You can't take anything away from my texts, for instance, or add anything to them.

It was all done, we've seen it all, the talk of the end of art in the 1920s – I hear all this. But when I work, I have days, moments, when it seems to me, I say seems, because I can't know for sure, that I am treading virgin ground. For example, where we were going into caves, it happened a few times, which is very rare, that you knew you stepped into a part of the cave no human foot stepped before. When we were scubadiving this feeling was constantly present. Where exactly the human foot trod is not what I'm concerned with, it's the feeling – this, here, wow! In creating .. when you catch a glimpse of a pioneering tunnel and you know this is fresh, that's what interests me. And I have these moments all the time. That's when your ears start burning and you feel a shiver down your spine; what comes together in such moments is bound to be good stuff.