In her first photobook Collected Works, Dutch-Croation photographer Sanja Marušić (b.1991) immerses us into surrealistic, otherworldly surroundings, almost as if it were a series of lucid dreams. After graduating in 2013 from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, she brings together a wide variety of free artistic work and commissions she’s produced over the past four years.
“Marušić’s work is a visual story about growing up”, explains art historian Claire Hoogakker in the book’s foreword. “It’s about finding your place on this planet and coping with feelings of alienation.” We see coloured mountains, sand dunes and foggy moorland covered with the dreamy glow of a hazy film still. There’s something happening you can’t really explain. The collage-like elements in her images are the result of digital post-processing and physical manipulation as she paints, rips apart and photographs them over and over again until they meet her visual language. Yet, she also leaves visible traces of her interventions, as can be seen in the addition of papery polka-dots or removed skies. These montaged juxtapositions trigger the viewer’s perception on what’s real and what’s not.
The influence of fashion photography is apparent in her work; in most of her images she portrays models -often herself- dressed in trippy apparel. Hoogakker writes that, for her most recent series Marušić was “inspired by the symbolic abstract forms and geometric shapes of the avant-gardist Triadic ballet. She simplified body shapes by substituting them with cylinders.” Cubist figures à la Bauhaus are portrayed in dance movements as if they are puppets in space. This weird mix of elements encourages the viewer to take a closer look.
Her work isn’t brought together chronologically but sorted by colour, every image complementing the next in an unpredictable way. This colour-coordination is also applied to the three different book covers: each cover has a different shade, which together form a colour gradient. Altogether it perfectly brings out the multi-coloured playfulness of the series. It gives the impression of being out of place: blurring the boundaries between reality and fiction, distorting body and space, bending the images to her own vision.
The book is available directly from the artist on her website: www.sanjamarusic.nl