“At its core, almost every piece I create in return creates me, and reflects my interrelation to Art and its omnipresence, but as soon as they’re released to public, they are given completely new properties, differing from one viewer to another.”
Early Blossom: The Genesis of Gocic’s Artistic Pursuit
Nikola Gocic was born in the serene town of Niš, Serbia in 1980, during the time when it was under the aegis of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. His early life was shaped amidst the humble abode of a working-class family, a backdrop that instilled in him a profound sense of tenacity and aspiration. Gocic’s academic voyage led him to pursue a Master’s Degree in Architecture from the distinguished Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture. Despite the rigors of academia, it soon became evident that the essence of engineering did not resonate with his true calling. His heart, it seemed, was entwined with the aesthetic allure of artistic creations.
From tender years, Gocic was enamored with the art of drawing, a passion that burgeoned over time, morphing from cartoon-inspired sketches to elegant illustrations of fashion models. The teenaged Gocic found a new muse in the evocative characters from iconic fighting games like Mortal Kombat, an infatuation that served to further stoke the flames of his artistic imagination.
It was during his academic years that Gocic’s artistic compass veered towards the cinematic horizon, an inclination that saw him immersing in the discourses on cinephile forums. The year 2009 marked a seminal chapter in his life with the inception of NGboo Art, a meticulously curated blog dedicated to film reviews and a showcase of his myriad creations ranging from evocative short stories to experimental comics. A selection of these comics was later accorded the honor of being featured at the prestigious Belgrade International Comics Festival.
As the calendar pages turned to 2016, Gocic embarked on a literary expedition, transitioning his narrative craft to the English language. Over a span of two consequential years, he penned thirty compelling listicles for the Taste of Cinema website, earning accolades and admiration from a global readership. His prolific repertoire also bore the hallmark of a collaborative endeavor with filmmaker Rouzbeh Rashidi, the visionary founder of the Experimental Film Society. Gocic’s cerebral engagement yielded six introspective essays, enriching the pages of the book Luminous Void: Twenty Years of Experimental Film Society (Dublin, 2020). Through the kaleidoscope of Gocic’s expansive oeuvre, one discerns the indelible imprints of a creator ceaselessly questing for artistic horizons beyond the conventional gaze.
Layered Canvas: Decoding the Inspirations Behind Gocic’s Digital Collages
A confluence of diverse influences orchestrates the artistic voyage of Nikola Gocic—mythologies, dreams, literary works, music, along with the nuanced challenges of our intricate reality, have etched enduring imprints upon his oeuvre. The early artistic endeavors and digital collages by Gocic post-2018 vividly exhibit these myriad inspirations. Serving as a curator for Kinoskop, an international festival of analog experimental cinema initiated in 2019, further expanded the artist’s creative spectrum. Gocic opines that his architectural background has refined his precision, while engagements with animation, avant-garde art, and the exploration of dreams incessantly navigate the profound recesses of his subconscious, finding their articulation in his artistry.
The impetus for Gocic’s exploration into digital collage as a favored medium was a visit to the Belgrade Museum of Contemporary Art in 2018. Captivated by the collages and assemblages of Yugoslav Dadaists, Zenitists, and Surrealists from the early 20th century, Gocic was enamored with the idea of emulating their artistry employing modern apparatus, whilst revering traditional methodologies. What initiated as a whimsical endeavor, gradually transmuted into a fervent obsession, assisting in alleviating real-life disenchantments and fine-tuning his intuitive faculties.
Harmonizing Contrasts: The Diverse Collaborative Spectrum of Nikola Gocic
Social media conduits have facilitated an array of connections with myriad artists, predominantly within the underground circuit. Among these connections, a notable collaboration emerged with NYC-based filmmaker and musician, Martin Del Carpio. For Del Carpio, Nikola Gocic has rendered promotional imagery, film posters, and single covers over a span of five years, some of which have received accolades at film festivals. Additional noteworthy contributions from Gocic encompass a poster for the found-footage feature, Empty Horses, by Hungarian cinematic experimenter Péter Lichter, alongside four animated shorts conceptualized and directed by German composer and filmmaker, Martin Gerigk. These animations have journeyed through over 400 festivals globally, securing awards at various esteemed venues.
Attempting to categorize the artistic style of Gocic presents a challenge, owing to a plethora of often contrasting influences. The artist garners inspiration from a broad spectrum of domains—religious art, surrealism, dadaism, constructivism, pop art, brutalist architecture, and beyond. Particularly exemplifying this is his extensive series, Bianco/Nero, which showcases an amalgamation of these influences, intertwining over 700 ‘chapters.’ Each piece Gocic crafts is a reflection of his internal universe, perceived through the prisms of familial, cultural, and situational dimensions, endeavoring to decipher the nexus between personal introspection and cosmic infiniteness.
Quiet Resonance: The Subtle Realms Shaping Gocic’s Digital Endeavors
Nikola Gocic’s workspace requisites are sparingly simplistic—encompassing a desktop computer, public domain archives for sourcing material, and frequently, the resonance of music to kindle the creative ember. Nevertheless, there are moments when Gocic finds tranquility in silence, ingeniously metamorphosing distractions into fertile seeds of inspiration. The cinematic sphere significantly molds the artistic vein of Gocic, with illustrious filmmakers such as Maya Deren, Jean Cocteau, and Kenneth Anger among others, leaving indelible imprints on his creative psyche. The eloquence of fine art also markedly channels Gocic’s artistic endeavors, drawing from the somber resonance of Edward Hopper to the surrealistic tapestries painted by Ljuba Popović.
A pinnacle of Gocic’s artistic portfolio is epitomized in the 2020 oeuvre, Ultrafantasia: The Spirits Gathering, a piece that not only earned a finalist standing in the Artbox.Project Venezia 1.0 exhibition at Tana Art Space in Venice but also symbolized a cryptic homage to the boundless realm of imagination. This work intricately weaves together a tapestry of fantastical and cinematic inspirations, rendering a conduit between Gocic’s inner child, the natural world, and the expansive landscape of creativity—serving as a poignant emblem of his ongoing artistic expedition.
While the digital medium remains the linchpin in Gocic’s artistic explorations, he has also meandered through the domains of animation and short experimental comics. The fortuitous encounter with digital collage resonated impeccably with Gocic’s expressive pursuits, an echo reflected through his artistic sobriquet, Nicollage—a confluence of his name with the chosen medium. Gocic harbors the aspiration of manifesting a monograph-esque photobook that encapsulates Bianco/Nero in its full glory, accompanied by a curated compilation from other series—a tangible embodiment of the holistic narrative that underscores his artistic sojourn.