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Flickering shadows created by sunrays and wind in the branches of trees remind us how unobtrusive the language of nature can be. We are invited to take part in the game of internal communication. Committed to her personal communication, the painter Ana Ratković Sobota does not choose her motifs of nature randomly, but rather prefers those that she has experienced in real life. Her recent focus is on the Plitvice Lakes, particularly as recorded in the photographs taken at the beginning of the last century. They bring out the magical originality of nature and also show that there is but a foggy line between man and nature when they are in happy coexistence. Sadly, the harmony of this original coexistence has been compromised by mass tourism and a lack of care and protection of the site resulting in a disturbance of the natural balance in this super important national park.

In the large-size oil paintings the artist takes as motifs either the expanse of the lake surfaces or more detailed landscapes with hills and trees included. The horizontality of the scenes helps to create a softness of space enhanced by the memorable tones of blue, grey, brown, and yellow. The paint is applied by pressing, drawing and scratching, with intention to control the process in the way similar to graphic art with which she is very familiar. In the smaller paintings, executed in tempera, nature appears as if passed through blue, violet or yellow filters, evoking fairy tale night scenes and the impression of a negative image.

Despite the painter’s awareness that the original purity of nature has been brutally compromised and is a thing of the past, she does not give in to a pathetic rendering of her themes. Rather, she strives to bring out the simplicity and refined beauty of nature. Her zeal is an impetus for us to recall the once virgin landscapes that have in recent times become almost indiscernible but still survive in the intimate spheres of our internal vision, reminding us of the urgency to preserve the environment around us. In his poem, Rain, Danijel Dragojević writes, ‘In moments when I wanted / my heart to be pure / I found that it is a wonderful / but rare feature / of certain things that they are visible / and that they serve the present’. In the Invisible Landscape, i.e. in nature, it is more than ever paramount to find peace and repose consciously and to experience its presence and harmony, away from the bumpy and hectic reality which is the product of man’s short-sighted activities meant to control nature and her potential for the sole purpose of gaining material profit.

Nevenka Šarčević, from the foreword to the exhibition Invisible Landscape, Zlati Ajngel, 2021