new white continent


master project at KASK in Gent (Belgium)

Ives Maes
Els Roelandt

New White Continent is an installation made from elements and objects that people use in protests. 
Banners, flags and pamphlets are set in the space like the remains of an imaginary demonstration. 
The messages on the banners are all related to the issue of the unbalanced relationship between human
 consciousness and the world that man builds for himself. As a whole, the installation evokes the utopian 
world of a New White Continent – a continent that is completely independent in its unusual and impossible way 
of survival – as a clear message about the consequences of an irrational manipulation of our environment. 

New White Continent functions as a metaphor for the loss of unspoilt nature – the main cause of the 
displacement or complete disappearance of a lot of plant and animal species. The fictional Continent 
should remind the visitor of real-life occurrences, and as such challenge him to consider how important 
our relation with our environment is. 

14 drawings
dimensions: from 50 x 70 cm to 110 x 200 cm
19 drawings on hand made paper 
(format A4)
2 videos
3 sketch-books 
(format A4)

The work that Tijana makes is strongly embedded in post-war Serbia. There is a certain radicalism in 
her work that is obviously trying to understand the aftermath of the Balkan Wars. But other than her 
contemporaries, the radicalism in her work is not based on revolt, harsh actions or performances but 
on a sort of ‘Soft Utopia’. With her project ‘New White Continent’ she is proposing a utopian world 
where a profound ecological system is the solution for the harmony of humankind. It even seems that 
the absence of humans is the solution for a peaceful society. But when you have a closer look at her 
drawings, installations and videos, you can discover that her work is more about colors and 
composition. Her interest in the formal aspects of her work seems to be larger than making a political 
statement. In that sense I think she is making political art as a morally obliged necessity while wanting 
to make ‘Art’. It is precisely this grey zone in between that makes her work so interesting. The search 
for this answer produces great art.

Her installation of drawings is very interesting. She is trying to use drawing as an installation art. How 
she is showing the drawings, alters the content, it emphasizes a political protest action. I think her 
drawings in general can also function without this, but for this particular installation it works very well. It 
shows that besides an added or emphasized meaning, it is also about how you present drawings 
once they are made. It questions the 2 dimensionality of the medium and than again the work is about 
‘Art’ and formal aspects. It balances very well on the sentence from Francis Alys: “how sometimes 
something political can become something poetic, or how sometimes something poetic can become 
political”. Or even a more famous predecessor Marcel Broodthaers: like him Tijana has created a 
‘Poetic Map of the World’ instead of a political map.

Ives Maes

sketch book 1
sketch book 2