The dangers of forgetting history: artist Čedomir Vasić draws inspiration from historical artworks

Olivia Newman

Multimedia artist Čedomir Vasić discussed works in his collection such as “Mutable Images,” and “Shifting Vision” this past Monday. His art works are comprised of lenticular, traditional prints and videos.

Vasić explained that the essence of his work is the idea that every image is changing, “optically, physically and mentally,” adding that this is often a result of a change in outside conditions, such as the date, year or season.

He capitalized on these changes in some of his pieces, such as “Cat in Dusk,” which showed a cat in different colors meant to reflect the time passing by, as well as “Through the Window,” which depicted two children standing at a window. “Through the Window” also changed colors to portray the transition from early morning to late at night, according to Vasić. 

The highlight of Vasić’s presentation, however, was his lenticular prints. Lenticular prints are digitally created images that when viewed from different angles, the image seems to change so that the viewer is able to see aspects that are simultaneously present and absent.

Additionally, his pieces portray crucial moments in history. Vasić described those pieces as “the strongest images we know,” in which all of the people are removed from the picture and only the landscape remains.

The original image is then combined with the new one to create the lenticular print. Some of these pieces included “Lazy July Day in the Colonial State House,” which was originally John Trumbull’s painting “Declaration of Independence,” and “December Evening in an Important Town House.” 

These unique works are representative of Vasić’s ideas about the manipulation of memory, and are meant to warn against the danger of forgetting history.

“If you destroy the history or memory of a nation, then you can destroy them completely,” Vasić said. This notion of erasure is reflected in his stripping images of important historical events, captured by the original art works he drew inspiration from.

He also cautioned against allowing oneself to lose one’s relationship with certain events as a result of revisionism, adding that “if you lose your memory [of an event], you are something else: something that someone else wanted you to be.”

Vasić’s lenticular prints highlight this belief, and depicts not only the idea that history can be changed drastically over time, but that these changes can erase entire peoples and nations.

Vasić’s residency was supported by the Laros Foundation, and his exhibition was curated by art professor Ida Sinkevic. His work is currently available for viewing at the Williams Center for the Arts until April 22.