Milan Djordjvic's remarks on Andrej Tisma's Art

With his entire and diverse engaged art, Andrej Tisma has vehemently and fearlessly opposed the enslaving, exploitative and murderous neoliberal globalism in all its overwhelmingly negative forms. In his passionate polemics and valuable art works, he has used wit and lucidity to expose the Western imperialism and the crimes of its NATO military alliance which also includes generating usable religious fanaticism, fascism, wars, terrorism and global humanitarian and ecological catastrophes, driven by madness, egotism and insatiable greed for profit of one percent of the humankind.

He also fiercely opposed the hegemonic international economic sanctions and their unjust and destructive effects on innocent people and culture. He relentlessly criticized the hypocrisy and the imperialistic political agenda of the USA and EU, which was manifested in the preparation and manipulation of the Yugoslav tragedy and capitalization on it. With a lot of wit and irony, he deconstructed the imperial discourse of the official EU and US mass media, which exercised propagandist information about the wars in Yugoslavia and the NATO bombardment, thereby having taken an active part in manipulating public opinion, creating conflicts and destroying the SFR of Yugoslavia.

The digital collage mounted visual works by Andrej Tisma represent an anti-globalist ideological discourse and social practice, the meanings of which are constituted depending on the semiotic environment in which they originate. Through appropriated digital photographs, as political signs, he alters the context, intervenes subversively within the ideologically governing media-constructed capitalist marker systems of the visual discourse and imperialistic order of the reality which globally interpolates and culturally shapes the subjects to match the dominant ideas and the picture of the reality. Tisma deconstructs the mythologized Western digital iconosphere, uses tense collage juxtapositioning to demolish the functionality of estheticized and ideologized mainstream media representation of reality, the simulacrums of imperial self-presentation, critically pointing to contradictions, mystifications and fetishization of the hegemonistic neo-liberal narative and political power of the visual construction of the social sphere.

It is in an ironic, parodying and sarcastic, actually frank, witty and subversive way that Andrej Tisma utilizes the strategies of the society of spectacle and the technology of its visual language as a basis of an engaged artistic production and presentation of an opposing signifying practice of general symbolic shaping of the society, which communication-wise functions as a global political actor of the changing perception of reality. Efficient and empowered by the media, the artistic method of the Debord-type of guerilla fight for the truth stands for Tisma's sensational approach to authors' photographic images, and to those found in the virtual space, also quotations, fragments, symbols, social and cultural references. In fact, by conceptual molding of the relationships among them, he creates shocking collage-montages of visual texts, series of digital prints as provocative political statements of contextually transformed meanings of image based information. He thus points to the problems of ecology, bioengineering, genetic engineering, consummerism, cultural uniformity, imperialistic crimes and the system of colonial exploitation. By subversively placing the dominant Western visual symbols into different contexts and new narative entities, Tisma takes a subjective approach in re-interpreting them and creating new media-constructed meanings of images, in a utopean endeavor to influence viewers on an international scale, to help them shed false awareness and to get a different and comprehensive view and understanding of global events and circumstances. He attempts to create effects in political and ideological fields through an artistic communicational diversion against the globally generated neo-liberal identity and meaning of life of various social subjects, intervening in the culture-coded imaging order of an estheticized world normality paradigm, which supervises and controls the public, in a manipulative way psychologically affecting the perception of reality.

In a visual reconstruction of the viewer's screen, Tisma mostly uses a documentary, objective stance towards reality, its contents and facts, as empirical evidence of dehumanizing negativities. However, paradoxically, he also makes use of fictional fabrications of reality, photomontage and computer generated images, as the opponent's weapon in exposing the truth about the real nature of the world behind his made-by-media false appearance.

In his video art works, with his engaged artistic statements, formulated in the most direct and most efficient modern communicational way, Andrej Tisma presents a critical view of the reality, i.e. the shocking, anti-esthetic political experiences of frustration with the aggressive neo-liberal globalization, horror scenes of violence and injustice, oppression and exploitation as its constitutive elements. With imaginatively and wittingly unpleasant and repulsive contents, he reveals the contradictory and ugly reverse side of the will to power of the instrumental reason of the American empire, behind the rhetoric about freedom, human rights, democracy, peace, progress, civilizing others and humaneness, which the global media politically estheticized and designed, using the attraction of the society sensitized to the spectacular. Andrej Tisma actually challenges and invites recipients to change their esthetic sensibility and to question the humaneness of the world and its fundamental issues.

Tisma spitefully resisted Westernization, the hegemonistic West-centered cultural principle, funded bureaucratization and instrumentalization of art, as well as the NATO neocolonialism lead by the terrorist ruling elite of the United States of America. He was aware of the fact that the mass media, as the ideational, material and technical basis of the transnational capitalist class, was an influential instrument of the war machine and the industry of global molding of thoughts and behavior of the subjects.

On the internet, as an international online space of the engaged artistic practice and creative political activism, Tisma subversively reviled the alienated mechanisms of action practiced by the communication network of corporate media. He unmasked their political designing and esthetic beautifying of the ugly face of global capitalist totalitarianism, hidden behind the semblance of humanness of the guardians of the world peace and role model of democracy and wellbeing.

In his sound works with its recognizable and attractive world music idiom, conceptually shaped sound content, Tisma speaks emphatically critically, clearly and humorously against globalization and its negative, dehumanizing manifestations. With subversive techno-musical discourse, he deconstructs and reconstructs the sound images of the wear and tear of symbols and myths of the West, reveals behind the illusion of humanity the complexity of the mechanism of imperial evil guided by planetarily destructive principles of profit and power. With engaged new media artistic means, he rebelliously unmasks the ideological function of the cultural superstructure of neoliberally founded Western hegemony in an effort to provoke the physical, moral and intellectual reaction of the recipients and influence their experience and understanding of current domestic and foreign policy by pointing to possible alternative world models.

Tisma, just like Joseph Beuys, wanted to point out the key issues of humankind in the 20th and 21st centuries and to bridge the gap between atavism and the positivist view of the world dominant in the modern scientifically oriented rational civilization. For this reason, he criticizes logocentric thinking, physicalism, scientism and technical and technological progress led by the logic of capital, which disrupts the global natural balance and challenges the survival of mankind. In an artistic way, through his performances or (spi)rituals, he expresses an utopian longing for a suppression of reductionism of the materialistic understanding of man and the singlemindedness of the instrumental idea of sciences and technology. He tries to liberate the spiritual nature of the egotistic and allienated individuals, supressed by the ruling nihilistic culture, so that the creative powers of self realization of a well-rouded man being can develop. In his life and work, he is in search of a re-establishment of the long lost primordial unity and harmony of nature and the spirit of human in its totality. Rationalism is challenged by the way of thinking which - in finding the meaning and awakening of sensibility for a more humane world - includes archetypal, mythical and magical-religious themes, as well as rejection of the value paradigm of the contemporary global society dominated by material greed, narcisism, lie, hatred, aggression and destruction by the will for supremacy.

Andrej Tisma's (spi)rituals, as a poly-genre form of performing expression, are immaterial works of art predominantly dedicated to the human spirit, which is a plastic material for creative work. With his healing spiritual activity, guided by alternative ideas and values, Tisma offered to mankind a medicine for traumas, destruction and deviations. He spreaded spiritual energy towards nature and people, i.e. calming and harmonizing waves, love and peace, attempting to generate social and political effects in Yugoslavia and worldwide. He emanated his own inspiration in a telepathic and magic ways, improved the general social mood and health of people, plants and animals, and gave everyday humanistic contribution to the betterment of humanity and their planet.

(Milan Djordjevic in the book "Subversion And Healing: Art of Andrej Tisma", Akademska knjiga, Novi Sad, 2022)